by Mandy Green, University of South Dakota
I have been talking to a lot of coaches lately who are looking for ways to help them get more productive with their day. The first area we look at is what they do first thing in the morning when they wake up. I always start there with the coaches I am working with because I believe that what you do in the first hour of your day will set the tone for how productive you will be for the entire day.
As coaches, we spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to get our athletes to perform at their highest levels and preach about diet, sleep, hydration, and being physically and mentally fit because we understand how doing those things right affects performance. Now, a lot of coaches won’t admit this but they have been secretly operating on the do as I say, not as I do when it comes to preparing themselves to perform at a high level during the day in the office. I believe that if you take care of yourself first, you will do a much better job of taking care of everybody else.
The 5 basics: Sleep, Water, Physical and Mental Exercise, and Diet.
Sleep: Studies have equated the fact that if you don’t get sleep for a few nights that it is just like being legally drunk. Think back to a time when you didn’t get very good sleep for 3-4 days in a row and how it affected your energy, decision making ability, and your focus. Peak and optimal performance comes from people who are rested and consistently get 7-9 hours of sleep a night.
Hydration: 80% of headaches and most fatigue is related to dehydration. The #1 evil opponent in all of sports is dehydration. #1 thing that influences your physical vitality in terms of something that is taken in is water. You can go without food for a few days but if you don’t have water, you are in trouble and will die without it faster than anything else. It is the most important thing you can be taking in. Within the first hour of being awake drink a liter of water. After a full night’s sleep, you basically just went 8 hours in the desert without drinking anything. Drink a liter of water first thing and watch what happens to your energy throughout the day. That big thing of caffeine in the morning is hurting your energy throughout the day because it is sucking out all of the moisture like a sponge out of your body and when it does that it takes out nutrients and energy. Drink way more water.
Diet and nutrition: A huge key to high energy is a proper diet. To perform consistently at your best, you must eat the right foods. Most coaches that I have met do not do a good job at it. Most coaches eat for convenience so they go out and get the quickest thing they can find and usually the quickest thing is not the healthiest thing. Instead, be strategic about when you are going to eat and what you are going to eat to maintain high levels of physical and mental energy during the day. What you eat within the first hour of waking up will play a huge part in how you feel 6 hour later. If you are feeling sluggish in the afternoon, you need to readjust what you are eating for breakfast and have a couple more healthy snacks during the day.
Exercise. If you have been a coach for a while now you have an understanding of the physical and mental requirements to do the job. Energy is our greatest commode. If your body is not allowing you to do what you want to do day in and day out, get more aerobic and strength training work outs in. Scheduling workouts can increase your energy and maintain it. I know that this seems basic and that I am preaching to the choir, but this is fundamental to your stamina and strength.
Start the day off thinking about your goals, who and what you are grateful for, what you are going to accomplish during the day, and read something motivational or inspirational. You are going to have a heck of a lot better start to your day when you are filling your head with positive thoughts and emotions than by filling your head with all of the bad things that are going on in the world as reported on the news.
The morning time before you go into the office is a great time to warm up your body and mind to have a great day. I want you to think about what you do in the morning as your pre-game routine before going into the office. If you want to have the mental and physical energy you need to be a high level coach, you need to be intentional and strategic about what you do in the mornings. When you can do this on a consistent basis, you should see your energy improve and you will find that you are going to have a lot more highly productive periods throughout your workday.
Coach Green has been a featured speaker at the National Collegiate Recruiting Conference for several years, and is quickly becoming a sought after resource in helping coaches and athletic departments become more organized and efficient. To see more articles and tips from Coach Green, click here.