Have an Off-Season

In my younger days, I once went two years weeks straight coaching one swimmer or another. It wasn't out of a bad place- I was having fun coaching, and there was always somebody on a slightly different schedule getting ready for another meet.

We are in the midst of another long end of the swimming year. For some, the competitive season will swallow up more than half of August. Next season will be right around the corner. 

Most coaches get into the sport because they think it is fun. They are mostly realistic enough to realize they will not get rich. Many have jobs that they look forward to doing day in day out. This makes working endlessly very enticing.

Don't be like me, have an off-season. There are a lot of reasons why. Of course, the simplest is that you need some time off, to get away from your day to day, to devote time to things that may have gotten short shrift during that big championship meet.

You may also, in the pursuit of that next been thing, have been unconsciously suppressing things. I can remember getting that day off and getting horribly sick. Or feeling overwhelming emotions when I didn't have another practice to plan.

Beyond the humanity and the mental and physical health concerns, it's also just better for your coaching. Imagine, if you could, a swimmer of yours training all year round, almost all day. Would you expect them to improve? Wait, Gregg Troy don't answer that!

I want the rest of you to imagine.

No you would not. Swimmers need time to recover. They also need time to reflect on what they have done and what they are doing and what is next. As a coach, you need some of that too. You can't even get to the stage where you reflect until you get physical and emotional distance from what you are doing!

So have an off-season. If you don't have one planned, find a way to make one happen soon. Have some time where nothing needs to happen, and you can return to planning and pushing and making up new plans on your own terms.

Obviously with the timing of this post, it may be too late for you this summer. Or perhaps, like my Danish friends, you've already had some time off and are starting back up again. Wherever you are, take some time for yourself.