Calm satisfaction; How I deal with coaching when I’m just not in the mood.

Jools Murray 2Jools Murray is an accredited Strength & Conditioning coach from Canada and has worked with some of the World’s best athletes in the UK and her home country.  Currently working at the University of Toronto, (Canada) with a number of sport, Jools previously worked with the  English Institute of Sport whilst studying for her Masters in S&C, as well as coaching the U23 GB Ultimate Frisbee Team.  To find out more about Jools and to read our interview from June 2015 CLICK HERE




Mentally Down before a Session

I have had my first “new approach” to my mental state before/during a coaching session. Like all coaches I recently had a session that I just wasn’t in the mood for. In the past, my approach would be to fake it and then usually look back and realise I wasn’t fooling anyone. Normally I would be all over the place with my coaching, be short with the athletes and have no tolerance for anything less than exactly what I wanted to see. Or, I would be overly happy, nice, supportive and come away from the session feeling just as empty as I went in. 

The problem with this? 
The problem is, it takes a lot out of me to even be there in the first place. I don’t want to have to be fake around my athletes, I don’t want to leave the session more empty and I certainly don’t want this to be the only way I can cope with a session I am just not up for.

The Change.
The change came from how I decided to approach and work through the session. Rather than giving myself a pep talk and cranking up through the energy levels, I gave myself tasks to complete. I started thinking about how I wanted my session to run, what were my non-negotiables, what needed to be in place to support the outcome. No emotion was needed. Just cold clear logic. Get the equipment ready, get the programmes out, find the pens, anticipate the late comers, talk to the athletes asking them about their day, etc… I didn’t allow myself to focus on me or how I was coming across, I just let myself alone and got on with the tasks.

keep-calm-and-get-satisfaction-9The Outcome.
Calm satisfaction. This is the first time I have come away from a session where I really wasn’t in a good mental state to deal with, and felt relaxed and happy. My athletes engaged with me on the exercises, the session ran well because everything had been organised, and somewhere along the way my mental and emotional side was given the break I needed to find a better place.

Looking back now, these are all the normal things I would do when in a good emotional and mental place. I’m not sure why, when you aren’t, you then feel the need to suddenly pressure yourself into really enjoying the moment and feeling inspired about the session. This only adds more stress and of course the outcome would be negative.

So, from now on, when I know I am struggling to find my way for a session, I’m going to take the pressure off myself, and simply organise. Let myself know its okay and as long as the session has some structure, the rest will fall into place. It is not about me, so relax.