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How to Deal with Coaching Burnout

Published on May 17, 2023

Mindy Lee Hopman

When a person sprains his ankle or breaks her leg, it’s obvious an injury occurred due to a large amount of stress. However, when a person suffers internally, the injury is not as obvious.

Sometimes small doses of stress over a period of time may become overwhelming to the point a person may begin to feel mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally exhausted. We call this “burnout,” and for coaches it can be our strongest personal opponent. Identifying the triggers of burnout is important so we can strategize how to fight against it.

I want to make clear that stress and burnout are not the same. Stress is temporary and it is used to strengthen us in certain areas where God wants us to grow. Just as resistance is used in the weight room to ultimately strengthen muscles, stress is necessary to grow us and make us stronger. However, stress over a long period of time from many directions is what leads to burnout.

As you well know, there are a lot of demands on a coach: family, finances, time, wins/losses and so much more. A coach who has a family at home may feel stress from not being with his spouse and children. A coach who has to carry the weight of other responsibilities financially such as teaching or working another job during the day may feel stress from making enough to pay the bills and from the long hours away from home. Every coach sacrifices social time, and sometimes even family time, over the holidays to travel with the team, and if a coach is having a losing season, all of the combined stress could feel completely overwhelming.

The buildup of stress, exhaustion, and dread comes from unrecovered training. Our bodies need time to recover physically from a hard workout, and mentally from an intense season. This is when God calls to us:

“Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take up my yoke and learn from me, because I am lowly and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:28-29)

But coming to Jesus and following His pace might not come naturally, especially when the frustration of burnout brings unhappiness. How do we follow His pace? What does that even look like?

Remember, happiness is a result of what is happening around you. It is not the same as joy. Joy comes from having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and knowing that we will go through trials in this world, but He will be with us. And as He overcame the struggles of this world, so, in Him, will we!

Read the rest of the article to learn how to coach from true rest.