This article is from my long-time friend and business partner Jennifer Lee. Jen, as those of us who know and love her call her, has an illustrious twenty-year-long coaching and business career, here he talks about the challenges of dealing high-performance athletes and coaching through the pandemic.
Coaching through a pandemic has been a wild ride, to say the least. Not only trying to keep the athletes motivated and on track but also myself.
There have been so many unforeseen struggles and hurdles to overcome for us all. As the coach, you put on your happy face and positive attitude, and you get to work. You spent so much time planning and organizing, ensuring that the athletes have the best chance at success.
OH, MAN! I know the situation is fluid, but making new schedules and training plans for all the athletes every few weeks is not an easy task.
It seems that once you get on a schedule and start to implement the plan, you need to pivot to a new one. You can try to create multiple programs, but the current situation makes it almost impossible to predict and know what will be in the next few weeks or months.
It is emotionally draining, and every time we were locked down, it chipped away at my spirit. I found it harder and harder to push myself. The only thing that kept me going was knowing that the athletes were going through the same thing, and I didn’t want to let them down.
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I needed to be there for them now more than ever.
I’m not just a coach – I’m a mentor. The athletes are going through a tough time. They lost motivation more than I could keep track of. Not just for sport, but for anything that meant something to them. During the lockdowns, I had athletes that did not want to return to any activities and just stay in their rooms.
They were all dealing with some anxiety and depression. These children lost all interest in life. They would ask me, “what’swhat’s the point?” “I’m going to start to train and have to stop again.” They couldn’t see an end to the madness, so their goals seemed to become unobtainable for them.
I have seen their relationships struggle with their family and friends. Their complete demeanour change from happy go lucky to mute. I spoke with the parents about the importance of fitness on mental health and keeping a daily routine during these turbulent times. They all agreed that no matter how their child was feeling, they would make sure they came to training.
At first, you could see the athletes lack of desire, but It was great to see that after a few days of training and some good pep talks, the athletes felt supported and motivated.
We added new short-term goals that we could achieve every class, which helped them feel more positive.
They could see that the gym was a place of routine and normality. They could see that success, friendship, and support was there for them. This helped carry many through some genuinely difficult mental struggles, including myself.
I hope to continue instilling positive change and fostering the love of sport and life no matter what life throws this way.
Thank you for visiting.
— Jen Lee
You can read more about Jen and the amazing work she does on her website: www.withjenlee.com. With Jen Lee (TM) is a mental and emotional support venture Jen and I run together.
Thank you for stopping by.
— Coach Jose