Why Coaches are More Susceptible to Burnout and How to Prevent It
In terms of workload and emotional attachment, coaching tennis is arguably one of the most demanding professions. Tennis pros spend countless hours each week, often without a single day off, teaching their students on the court. Yet, despite the constant attention given to their students, coaches often overlook their own emotional and physical health in the process.
Burnout is a common condition often attributed to athletes who have been pushed passed the point of both physical and mental exhaustion. However, the fact of the matter is that coaches can also experience this same state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion known as burnout.
One of the most common symptoms of burnout is finding difficulty in coping with your workload, which can lead to questioning the significance of the work itself. In extreme instances, coaches may even begin to cast doubt upon their career choices.
Unfortunately, coaches are highly susceptible to burnout due to the long hours and the inconsistency of the job. Additionally, coaching can be very physically demanding with the countless hours spent on the court. However, the emotional aspect of coaching is often the most taxing component.
The main priority of a coach is to bring out the best in their players. When experiencing burnout, coaches are unable to give their all to their athletes, which negatively impacts the players as well. Therefore, they must be in the correct frame of mind to do their job properly.
In today’s day in age, where instant gratification and continuous improvement are constantly in the forefront, the health and well-being of coaches is often placed aside in the interest of consistent results for the athlete. But in order for these athletes to succeed, coaches must also be fully present on the court for their expertise to be used properly.
So, how can coaches differentiate between normal levels of stress and burnout? First and foremost, coaches must have a true understanding of themselves in order to determine whether stress is acute or ongoing.
Perhaps even more important than knowing oneself is taking measures to prevent the stress that leads to burnout in the first place. To do this, coaches must make a conscious effort to lead a healthy, balanced life. For example, getting an adequate amount of sleep, practicing good nutrition, and spending quality time with friends and loved ones can significantly reduce the risk for burnout in coaches. In effect, work-life balance is the number one key to preventing burnout.
By giving coaches the proper tools to handle the everyday stressors of their profession, both coaches and players will be more apt to excel and remain in the sport for years to come. After all, tennis is a game meant to be played for the duration of one’s entire life.