A significant off-season challenge for me is being in the right place at the right time when the right place and the right time is random. From the end of August until playoffs are over, we operate on a fixed schedule, an unbreakable routine, a daily ritual that can occur on cruise control. For me, I’ve learned that my focus is sharp and my energy is consistent when the details are consistent. I’ve also learned I’m not alone – during interviews in the spring it’s easy to see that there are others out there like me who appreciate going to the rink at the same time each day, storing their gear with care, and going about their business in more or less the same manner each day.
During the off-season that all changes. No one is telling me where to go (during the season I tell myself where to go), so I’m not at the whim of a set schedule. I have to think for myself, and that ain’t easy! So when it came time to write this article, my time management skills were forced into over-drive. You might think I sound like a crazy person right now, but I’ve made peace with it, this is part of what helps me find success.
So what’s the first part of a coaches’ off-season checklist?
1. Create a checklist
Seriously. It might seem like you have a lot of time before next season’s training camp, but it always gets late a lot earlier than we expect. A bit of downtime to decompress is wise, but if you’re anything like me, you start to crave the sweet, sweet dopamine hit that comes after you accomplish a task. But before you can accomplish said task, you need to prioritize. The lack of outside noise can be deafening in the summer, so it’s natural to remain still longer than you might like when there aren’t any time-sensitive issues that require your attention. In other words, it’s easy to succumb to inertia and gradually melt into a useless mass of anxiety.
Unless you create a list! Write down everything you want to accomplish in the off-season in order of importance and get ready to take care of business.
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