I don’t need more scary stuff in my life. There are enough freaky things that frighten me in the middle of the night.
I’ve got a handful of worries, like most people, but it’s the coaching-worries that keep me up on any given night. When I’m coaching, the 3:47 AM display on my clock seldom goes by unwitnessed.
What worries? Here are just a few of them:
- I say one thing and that one thing messes up someone’s future, like a misplaced word on a recommendation
- I make an athlete selection and do lasting damage to a young person’s psyche
- On a trip there is an accident and an athlete is badly hurt, or worse
- I recruit an athlete, they come to my school, and it turns out to be a bad choice for all involved
- Speaking of recruiting, I worry the siren I just heard was in response to a recruit staying overnight on our campus
- I inherit the parents from hell
- Or, I become the coach from hell
- Even worse, my son plays football and I become the parent & coach from hell
- There was this guy, the town drunk, who was a coach, as long as he stayed sober. He did, but then he didn’t. Long story (called Hoosiers). I don’t wanna be that guy
- We travel five hours to the big town in the next state. Use 1/4 of our budget to make the trip perfect for the athletes. Nice hotel rooms, good food, perfect training plan. Except, for one thing, we arrive a week early.
That’s one night’s worth.
Yeah, I get it. Some (most) of the worries aren’t happening. But still, I reason, they could.
And, hence 3:47 turns into 4:12 which turns into 5:30 AM.
I heard Former Notre Dame coach Lou Holtz once say about coaching, “I sleep like a baby. I wake up every two hours, crying.” Guess I’m in good company.
Make It Stop
Being an older coach has some advantages. I’m a lot less hesitant asking for advice.
One sage coach told me, “Jeez kid,” (yes, he actually called me kid, and when you’re mid-fifties that’s cool) “Worry about what YOU control. It’s worthless to fret over what others control. Send the rest to Mars.”
Simple and effective.
So in the middle of the night, when I’m tossing and turning, I turn on the iPad and write down the worry. It goes in either a “Mine,” a “Theirs,” or a “Mars” file.
If it’s mine, I list what I can do about it. Stuff like, check entry deadlines, return vehicle keys, pay an outstanding invoice.
If its someone else’s worry, I send a quick email about it. Things like, “Did you know your athlete is failing math?” Or, “receipts are due tomorrow, make sure yours are in.”
And, if it’s in the Mars file, it sits, untouched. Here are a few I’ve sent to Mars: “What if it snows during our April home race?” (I had that worry in September.) Or, “Whoa, that solar flare was over 220,000 miles long. Will it mess up my cell phone.”
* * * * *
Yeah, I know effective planning during the day might help avoid some of these late-night-wig outs, but planning time so often is gobbled up by small fires and knocks on the door.
Mine, Theirs, Mars works a whole lot better for me than flopping around at night.
Happy Halloween Coach.
Oh yeah … How do you handle your worries? Got a system? Let us know in the comments below, so we don’t have to worry about ya.