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Coaching Stress & Mental Health

Survey Monkey Web Link "Stress and Mental Health in Coaching"

Coaching stressors by word count from written responses

Victoria Garrick talks about mental health in competitive sport

Leon Taylor talks about his own mental health in competitive diving.

"Men Tell Health"
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"Sport England"
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British Triathlon Overview of Mental Health Provision
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"Mental Health in Sport"
Qualification in Affiliation with British Triathlon - Click image to visit page 


Advice, Support and coping strategies  - Coach responses to 2018 "Coaching Stress" Survey

"There NEEDS to be set times, days when EVERYTHING is put away. Days when triathlon does not figure AT ALL. Do not be frightened to say NO! and do not be frightened to share your worries, it has ALWAYS helped me!"

"Share, say no, cut back, me time."

"Share your concerns."

"Bring others on board. Relates to workload, people are happy to support"

"My stress wasn't related to coaching and in fact becoming a coach a few years ago actually helped me turn the corner and gave me something positive to focus on. Even if I am feeling stressed about workload or overwhelmed coaching always makes me feel better and distracts me from other concerns. (Helping others improve is a positive action that helps me feel better too.)"

"Time out, step away, be selfish at times."

"Setting boundaries with your athletes so they know when you will and will not respond and recognise how much work you can take on, even if that means you do not earn as much as you would like. You don't earn a living as a coach so if you are not enjoying the work (paid or unpaid) then stop doing it. Life is too short to do something that is unnecessarily stressful."

"Figure out what your priorities are remove what is not and concentrate on what makes you happy"

"Discuss and sharing with other coaches when they feel stress in connection with coaching so it is not seen as a something negative but a positive to recognise and that talking it through helps them and others to put in place change to reduce the impact of the stress. Does require good communication which is the hardest part to first get right."

"Fit in regular exercise, talk to others (you realise other people feel the same), say no to stuff if you need to and don't feel bad about it, do a variety of things, prioritise, break tasks down, sometimes it OK to just get through the day, adjust expectations when needed (of others and yourself), try not to act from fear, be kind to yourself, seek help if you need it. Everyone can access their local IAPT service... go to NHS choices to find your local service. I work in mental health."

"My issue is generally about over committing myself and then getting stressed / into arguments when I can’t deliver. Long term the best way to avoid this is to agree with my partner up front what I am going to do and not to commit to anything outside of that. It might leave me wishing I was doing more, but rather that than become a big issue in home relationships."

"Go out and train swim or run."

"Although I said I don’t share, I do share with my long-suffering wife. We have a very strong relationship and she always listens and gives good advice. I think you need at least one person in your life to confide in."

"Having struggled with depression since being a teenager but particularly post natal I now recognise the downward slide and open up before it gets too dark. I rely on training for a healthy mind as well as body but when the stress comes from an area that should be my stress reliever I have learned to step away."

"Reach out for help from other coaches and don't be afraid to take a break, after all we are volunteers."

"Sharing with people you trust about the feelings you are having is crucial to dealing with them. Talking about them doesn't solve it but it does help to start to reduce the load."

"I have a history of mental health problems longer than my coaching career, so the latter has fit in with the former. I find that coaching helps - in much the same way as training - when I am having problems. That said, I have other people who I can talk to, and I am good at getting this out in the open before it becomes too big a problem."

"Talking with others, getting a break, getting outside, putting it in perspective."

"Dropping the amount of athletes you have. I have come to realise that being able to have more time and a little less money is a massive stress relief. It gives you more time to do the basic things like sleep, eat and train yourself. Most coaches get into coaching via being an athlete before, so to give up or slow down your own training with the added stress of coaching causes an accelerated decline in mental health. And fitting in training at the cost of sleep, food or a social life causes over training which in turn causes a decline in mental health."

"Honestly I haven't felt sufficient stress to warrant a coping strategy."

"Share the load with others. Many hands . . ."

""Always important to share issues as usually someone else has been through what you are and they can help with suggestions that will help!"

"I mange athletes expectations of what I can delivery. I use my training time as a time to relax my mind."

"I take regular time out away from coaching, this is set in the athlete/coach contract."

"I do share, with close friends and that helps. Getting to yoga / meditation helps. Getting out on the bike helps. Getting to talk through with the individual that I've concerns over helps. Getting advice on how to tackle the challenge that I'm stressing over can help."

"Going for walks, reading a book, talking with friends and watching films."

"Wanting to get a mentor to link with and share. Sharing the workload within the club."

"Good network of coaches and responsible people to sound problems out with is very important."

"Making time to train for myself and plan some of my own goals helps me relax"

"Use mindfulness apps such as ' Calm'."

"Close group of trusted people."

"Exercise and music help escape from problems, time helps."

"Self reflection, speaking to other people. Knowing everything passes and feelings are temporary"

"Having a mentor or someone close to share with is invaluable."

"I have 2 people I trust and I talk to. No magic but then I am not really a stressed person."

"Plenty of people with a similar role to talk too and ask for advice."

"I work with a team of coaches to share ideas with, discuss issues with and share social media duties etc "

"I always believe that it’s ok not to be ok and there are many organisations out there that are there to support anyone suffering. I used MIND when seeking support and couldn’t speak highly enough of them."

"I simply talk it out with my closest friends. It gives me an outlet. I don’t share with family

Plan, plan and plan. Set realistic expectations from the beginning of the coach athlete relationship. Use a public calendar that all your athletes can access. Book time off for yourself."

"I am learning to say no and to only take on what I know I can accomplish to the level I want. I have a new idea every day. Some of them might even be good, but I now realise I can't action them all."

"Talking to others."

"Remind yourself why you coach. It's not for money but for the reward of making a difference to someone else's life. Seeing them achieve and knowing you played your part."

"Talk to people- something I only started to do very recently and something I struggle with but it does make such a difference."

"A nice cup of tea goes a long way."

Academic papers utilised as research - Please email Matt at for copies of the papers.

"Stressors, Coping & Wellbieng in Sports Coaches"
Luke Norris, Faye F Didymus, Mariana Kaiseler 

"College Coaches Problems with Stress - Problem Solvers have Problems too"
Melinda Frey

"Exploring Stress and Coping Amongst Volunteers and Full Time Coaches"
Faye F Didymus, Mariana Kaiseler

"Organisational Stressors, Coping and Coping Effectiveness"
Andrew Levy, Adam Nichols

"Stress in Elite Sport - A Coaches Perspective"
Richard Thelwell and Neil Weston

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