Summer recruiting. Those two words simultaneously engender feelings of excitement and resignation. There is excitement at the prospect of getting new players who will improve your program and resignation that your free time is gone for now. In July, coaches from schools across the country will watch countless kids perform to determine who best fits their program needs. Scouts, sporting their school’s gear, will jockey for position under a basketball goal or sideline attempting to make sure recruits know they are present.
One of the hardest things to do in coaching is to find a sense of balance in your life. It’s easy to forget to take care of yourself when you are constantly traveling to the next game. This is especially true during this evaluation period. That may sound selfish, but it’s really quite logical. You are no good to others if you aren’t mentally and physically healthy yourself.
There are several things coaches should pay attention to during summer recruiting (or for that matter, the entire season).
Try to eat healthy. When we’re on the road recruiting there are so many games to see that we do one of two things–we eat crap or we don’t eat at all. Many times we drown our sorrows late at night in junk food because we lost an important recruit. And when our call list is expanded, a McDonald’s quarter pounder meal (with two apple pies for a mere dollar) tastes great and makes us feel better. We know it’s bad but our eagerness to be successful in recruiting overrides common sense.
Have breakfast in a calm, quiet environment. If you start the day stressed, the rest of your day will continue that way too. When on the road buy healthy snacks from the grocery store with your meal money. That way you keep from going hungry until you have time to eat a decent meal versus eating at concession stands.
Find an exercise you enjoy and commit to working out at least three days a week. While traveling, select a hotel with a decent exercise room. A short, simple workout is sufficient. Most of us want to get a few extra minutes of sleep, but if you get your body moving in the morning before you begin evaluations you will find you feel much better during the day.
Manage your stress level. Find five to 20 minutes a day to just be still and quiet. You can even incorporate quiet time into your daily game schedule if necessary. During summer recruiting your travel plans and schedule will be altered. Try to be proactive to minimize these occurrences. The small things can make a difference. Be efficient with your time by accessing game schedules and other pertinent information prior to traveling. When you fly, take direct flights. If you can’t avoid connections, try to route your trips through hubs that don’t affect the rest of the country when flights are cancelled (e.g., Chicago and Atlanta). Leave plenty of time between your flights to get a meal in case you have to go directly to a game when you arrive. And it’s best to take the first flight out because the later in the day you wait, the delays get worse.
Make Time for Family and Be Appreciative.
Remember not to neglect your family. They are the ones who love you for you and don’t want anything but your love and attention. Use technology to your advantage. With smartphones, laptops and iPads there is no excuse for not reminding them every day that you are thinking of them.
Finally, appreciate what a cool job you have. So few people get paid to do what they enjoy. Remember we are still at war in this country, and people all over the world struggle with oppression and poverty. It’s easy to forget how lucky we are. Try not to lose perspective.
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