Play at your best by knowing when to rest.

Learn to Read the Signs

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"Burnout is the result of too much energy output and not enough energy self-invested. In other words, it’s burning too much fuel than you’ve put in your tank." — Melissa Steginus

Have you ever pushed yourself too far? I see this often as a field hockey coach. And there is a lesson for everyone.

Field hockey is an intense sport involving sprinting, stopping and frequent changes of direction. Handling a stick and ball at the same time makes it even more challenging.

The amazing young women I coach are at the peak of physical conditioning. But they often exceed their physical limits on the field. What is the cause?

  • Fear of not being put back on the field
  • Fear of looking weak or out of shape
  • Fear of missing out on the action
  • Not learning to read the signs

New ladies on the team are susceptible to the first three reasons. They don't think about the long term effects... only the moment. But after repeatedly leaving the field while gasping for air, the consequences are difficult to ignore:

  • They take 2-3 times longer to recover.
  • They don't play at their best.
  • The team isn't at its best.
  • Wins turn into losses.

As a coach, I learn to read the signs for each player. A missed step, sloppy stick handling, loss of accuracy, lowered head, difficulty recovering down field. The signs are many. I pull them before they go too far. Because even when they know better, most field hockey players at the high school level have difficulty reading the signs.

What these players experience is not unlike what we experience in life. And just like field hockey players, our performance suffers. We aren't at the top of our game. We get sloppy. And sure wins turn into losses.

Learn to read the signs. Take yourself out of the game for a quick rest. Don't wait until you're gasping for air and unable to fully recover.

Food for Thought

Do you know how to read the signs?

Are you performing at your best?

Or are you lagging and not willing to admit it?

One Small Step

Frustration is a barometer of performance. If you get frustrated at your inability to focus, solve problems and move with efficiency, then take a break. Doubling down when out of gas is a recipe for breaking down on a busy highway. Learn to read the signs!

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