Every gig comes with a risk of burnout, especially if you stick with it year after year. Teachers and coaches of all different types can be particularly at risk, since there’s often lots of emotional stress on top of the usual mental stress of a job. And of course, while working with youth is incredibly rewarding, it’s also really difficult at times.
Managing the struggles and coping with the stress are essential to overcome burnout for swim coaches. There are plenty of ways to do this, and they’ll help keep you coaching as effectively and positively as possible for the long haul. But if you neglect your mental health on the job, it easily starts creeping into your coaching and negatively affecting your performance—and your swimmers’.
So, take a look at these tips to overcome burnout for swim coaches, and take them to heart. And put them to practice. Because all great coaches keep practicing in addition to giving instruction.
Strategies to Beat Burnout for Swim Coaches
- Make an honest assessment of what’s draining you; for example, is it the number of hours you’re putting in at the pool? Piles of paperwork? A difficult swimmer or parents? Financial stress?
- Focus in on addressing the factors that are most strongly causing you to feel burned out, frustrated, or otherwise unhappy; for example, would an assistant (even a volunteer) make things more manageable for you? Is it time to lay down the law or exercise options like suspension with a swimmer or parent to deal with a disruption to the team? Can you pull in more income by giving private swim lessons?
- Talk about what you’re struggling with to a friend, family member, or another coach (one with more experience or time as a coach may be particularly helpful).
- Make a list of everything you love about being a swim coach; keep it and refer to it when you’re feeling down.
- Alter the regular team workouts and routines to cut back on boredom and give things a fresher feel.
- Consider some fun non-swimming team-building exercises or social activities to promote bonding while changing things up.
- Talk to your swimmers about what they like and don’t like about how things run. Build on the common enthusiasm you hear and look at how you can improve things for everyone—which will in turn improve things for you.
- Attend some workshops, seminars, training, continuing education courses, or other professional development opportunities.
- Take a little time off and spend it doing a leisure activity you’re passionate about.