A healthy swim coach is a huge asset to any swimming program. Do you have a healthy lifestyle and identified ways to reduce stress in your life?
Swim coach health is a topic that not many coaches think about. On a daily basis they ensure their athletes are healthy, often forgetting about their own health.
It is vital that swimming coaches look after their own health on a daily basis.
I spoke at a recent Australian Swim Coaches Convention and discussed this topic with many swimming coaches. A majority of them expressed that at some stage each day, they experienced medium to high stress levels.
Stress is a leading cause of, or at least a significant contributor to many diseases. Effectively managing stress and learning to relax will recharge your batteries, increase resilience and ultimately enhance your performance.
So how do we remove stress from our lives and lead an exciting and healthy life.
Have you heard the statement “You are what you think about”? What you think about, is what you become? People who are stressed are thinking stressful thoughts.
Often for coaches, these stressful thoughts are from discussions with parents or athletes and at other times it may be about whether you are providing a quality program to your swimmers.
In regards to situations that arise from communication, interaction or feedback from parents and athletes, always consider whether you are reacting or responding to the situations. Remember, the situation itself is just a situation. It is how you respond to a situation that determines what you think about and how you are perceived by others. By responding appropriately, there is a high probability that your stress levels will remain low.
If you do get stressed, stop thinking stressful thoughts. Take control of what you think about and if you need some help, source it from a professional.
A Coach’s Diet
Another area that many swim coaches struggle to control is their diet. A swim coach is awake for long periods of time each day and eating the correct foods at appropriate time intervals is important.
As a coach, you can decide to be healthy! Avoid the fast food choices and plan ahead to ensure you have something healthy to eat on hand at all times.
Establish an eating plan that is good for you and treat your body like the temple it is. It’s about making the right choices.
Because of the long hours, many coaches drink caffeine in coffee and cokes to get through the day. If possible, drink water.
Exercise on a regular basis.
Often after a training session, the last thing swim coaches feel like doing is exercising themselves.
It is important for coaches to do some healthy physical activity every day. Going for a walk or run are obvious choices however for many coaches, they have already walked more than 5km during a training session and they are looking for something different.
Doing exercise after the morning workout is normally a good choice, however some coaches find doing an hour of exercise prior to the afternoon workout inspires them to coach well in the afternoon.
Sleep is critical in our profession. In general we should need to be awake for at least 8 hours to create a sleep need.
Did you know that 30 to 60min of sunlight each day results in deeper restorative sleep at night.
The benefits of nutrition and exercise are limited with insufficient sleep.
Being awake for 19 hours has been shown to have the equivalent performance results as having a blood alcohol level of 0.08 (legally drunk). – 4am to 11pm. Swim coaches need to be careful with this as they are often awake for long periods of time.
Learning how to have a short sleep during the day has proven to be beneficial to some coaches, however don’t sleep for too long because this will affect your ability to get to sleep at night.
Stress is the top enemy of sleep, so take on board the advice provided above and aim to reduce the stress in your life.
Coaches who have adequate sleep tend to be healthier, happier, mentally alert, stress-free and perform better during the day.
Always be aware of your own health and looking after yourself.