Women in Coaching: The fall is gone, time for some R&R!!

Where did the FALL go?  And have we Recovered? It is hard to believe that Christmas is almost here.  I finally got a chance to sit down and catch my breath after an extremely busy fall. As both coaches and athletes know, there is never enough downtime in a busy season.  In curling right now, the spiels are going to be taking a back seat to the zone and regional playdowns that are starting around the country. I remember the days when I played. You went from spiel to spiel, working or going to school in between as well as dealing with personal and family situations.  With this kind of schedule, we forget the importance of preparing, planning, peaking and tapering, including recovery and regeneration which is crucial to future success. As a coach, I find it hard to watch my athletes work as hard as they do and never get the appropriate time they need to debrief and regenerate and recover before the next game or event.  In an ideal world, there would be spiels every two or three weeks.  Some teams do get the option of planning their season this way but many don’t.  They are at the mercy of the schedule and what events they can afford.  But if a team finds itself playing back to back weekends and then tries to carry on with their normal lives in between, I can guarantee that the very principles we coaches are trying to instill in our athletes, are just not happening!!! I am getting very good at the art of debriefing.  I do a lot of post game and post competition debriefs for teams and I truly believe that it is a valuable resource that teams can use going forward.  I also try and debrief myself after a weekend to see what I feel I did well and what I want to do better next time.    In the debrief  the upcoming plan is discussed, especially if it is at the end of a competition.  The plan MUST include recovery and regeneration of the body and mind!! So R and R…..  Something that I feel athletes don’t spend enough time focusing on (and nor I as a coach).  Fatigue, both mental and physical, can set in without notice and the result will be poor quality performance and training. Here are some general recover and regeneration principles (thanks to Bob C): Recovery/regeneration focus:
  1. sleep 7-9 hours is best
  2. active rest – especially on the road – light aerobic training, dynamic “range of motion” exercises, stretching, pool exercises, or games that are low intensity
  3. nutrition – difficult to eat healthy on the road, planning is essential
  4. hydration – coaches can help remind athletes to continue to stay hydrated
  5. warm/cool shower/bath after a full day of competition, when you feel you have overexerted yourself, can help stimulate removal of waste product
  6. Ice injured areas
    1. mild aches, 10-15 minutes, 1X immediately after competition
    2. mild/moderate aches and pain, 10-15min., 1X/hour for 3 hours
  7. Mental visualization and imagery – helps prepare for the next event, relax the mind, and reduce muscle tension.
  8. Massage and other therapy treatment if necessary
In short, athletes and coaches spend a lot of time in the off season preparing and planning for the season, physically and mentally.  When the season hits, the importance of planning and preparing takes a back seat to competing.  It is so very important that all athletes and coaches continue to plan, prepare, train, compete and Recover and Regenerate!!!  It is a KEY to success. Good curling to all, Melissa