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Posted in: High Performance Coaching

Coach burn-out?

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  • Ralph

    There’s been little focus on athlete burn-out but…

    Ever heard of coach burn-out?

    Is it interesting, few have and it is rarely discussed?

    Why is this?

    Do you know what the symptoms are?

    What are the reasons why it happens?

    As Coaching has been said, “it needs courage”; do coaches that burn-out, lack courage?

    Do you know how to prevent it?

    If coaching is part of the caring professions; Who cares for the carers?

  • AMDThomas

    This is an interesting topic of debate. Perhaps one of the reasons why Coach burn out has not been a major talking point is due to the focus on overtraining and a primary concern for athletes development / performance. Therefore, the needs of the coach have been overshadowed in this regard. The symptoms I suggest are varied, individualised and situation specific. However, some common ground may be those symptoms associated with stress and anxiety within the workplace. A common expression used to address this matter is the ‘work-life’ balance that tends to suggest that work is not life (but that is another debate). However, the intention here is to highlight that there should be a balance in one’s output and input.

    I certainly do not believe that any coach burning out has anything to do with courage but is more associated with the desire to serve their athlete’s needs and the sports organisations demands. Prevention – this is a difficult one as some people enjoy the buzz of working hard and taking on more responsibility thereby being a martyr to the cause. Nevertheless, the first step in preventing burnout is to acknowledge is as a potential problem to an individual’s wellbeing and to put in place a strategy for rest and recuperation.

  • Ralph
    On 10/08/16 8:57 AM, Andy Thomas said:

    the first step in preventing burnout is to acknowledge is as a potential problem to an individual’s wellbeing and to put in place a strategy

    great reply, but who responsibility is it for this strategy? is it reasonable that it can't be the coaches, as that would require a self analysis, which by definition could prevent most coach burn-out?

  • Wendyrussell

    We have put in place at my club that each coach has to have time off! Not including a holiday etc. However time away from the sport & admin.

    I know my sport has an "off season" however there is more and more demand on players wanting to be better at the start and missing playing etc. We also practice skills that in the winter are hard to break down and work on due to weather. 

    For example I finished hockey coaching at the end of July and start again in next week! 

    This is is to allow me to recharge and have some time not playing etc. Athletes get to do, so coaches have to! This has to be planned in for the benefit of the coaches mental health & development of players and club etc

  • Nollzer

    Burnout does occur in both coaches and athletes. It is probably chacterised by staleness, mood swings, increased anxiety levels, low mood, loss of energy and increasing isolation from players etc.

    Weinberg and Gould address this issue in their book, Foundations of Sport and Exercise Psychology.

    They note the following

    a. Gender Differences

    Increased levels  of stress and burnout perceived by female coaches could reflect their greater need to nurture the athletes. Funnily, enough some studies suggest that male coaches suffer higher degrees of burnout.

    b. Age and Experience Differences

    Younger and less experienced coaches have higher perceived burnout levels. Older coaches tend to have developed better coaching skills or have quit.

    c. Coaching Style

    Coaches with higher levels of caring and people orientation tend to put themselves in danger. More authoritarian and detached coaches coped better. The former style requires high levels of energy, passion, emotion and time. Personally though it is the only way to coach.

    d. Social Support

    A trouble shared is a trouble halved. A coaching mentor, buddy or friends greatly assist in preventing burnout

    e. Very high levels in PE instructors, PE teachers. Not surprising. Always on duty.

    Strategies

    As with all physical and psychological issues, the answer is simple but difficult to implement and sustain.

    a. Mindfullness Based Stress Reduction. Suggested free online course based in Moscow, Idaho. 

    b. Positive self talk

    c. Imagery

    d Goal setting, short term and long term realistic goals

    e Reflective journal with elements of CBT

    f Time out breaks, holidays

    g Improved  communications of feelings and emotions

    h. Yoga and Progressive Muscle Relaxation techniques

    i. Stay in good physical condition

    j. Work life balance 

    k. Stick with the winners, people with the right attitude. Avoid negative coaches.

    So easy to write so difficult to implement when you are in the middle of burnout.

  • Ralph

    New research shows that burnout is caused by a mismatch between a person's unconscious needs and the opportunities and demands at the workplace. These results have implications for the prevention of job burnout.

     

    "We found that the frustration of unconscious affective needs, caused by a lack of opportunities for motive-driven behavior, is detrimental to psychological and physical well-being. The same is true for goal-striving that doesn't match a well-developed implicit motive for power or affiliation, because then excessive effort is necessary to achieve that goal.

     

    The greater the mismatch between someone's affiliation motive and the scope for personal relations at the job, the higher the risk of burnout, show the researchers.

    "A starting point could be to select job applicants in such a way that their implicit motives match the characteristics of the open position. Another strategy could be so-called "job crafting," where employees proactively try to enrich their job in order to meet their individual needs.

     

    Veronika Brandstätter, Veronika Job and Beate Schulze. Motivational Incongruence and Well-Being at the Workplace: Person-Job Fit, Job Burnout, and Physical Symptoms. Frontiers In Psychology, 2016 DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2016.01153

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