Practice rhythm and routine, week in and week out can build consistency. Often, however, it gets interrupted.
As a coach, how do you handle holiday breaks?
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Coach Lindsay Matthews – Ice Hockey – Toronto – 5 Years
“Opportunity. The Christmas break is conveniently located mid-season for ice hockey which creates a nice natural division of the season into two. If you are having a good start to the season, it can be framed as a well-deserved break. If you are having a bad start to the season, it can be a good break to forget what is in the past and start fresh with the second part of the season. It is important to have a few good practices before the first game after the break to make sure the players can get used to the tempo again.”
Coach Sean Ferguson ChPC, RGP – Swimming – Region of Waterloo – 17 Years
“When I was an elite athlete, the sport of swimming didn’t allow for many ‘breaks’ – the season is very long and extremely demanding. The longest break in the season was usually the two weeks in summer prior to the start of the next season.
Even over Christmas break, we were required to train, and train harder and more often…I guess for so-called… opportunity? (this even occurred one year over the Xmas break when the pool heater broke the first day of training and no one was able to come in and fix it; coach made us swim). As a coach myself, I can see many coaches wanting their athletes to continue to train, be in a specific routine over holidays, and to maintain their physical fitness.
However, with my professional background in sports and
recreation, and working with children and youth my whole career, I would say
that we all need breaks.
Breaks allow young bodies and minds to relax, grow, and recharge. It also allows the coach to reflect and move forward in a positive direction without a certain amount of pressure or stress; often we as coaches forget that we are overworked (go…go….go type of mindset) and don’t often ourselves, get the breaks that we need to spend with family and friends, or just time to take a professional development course without the pressure of cramming in a crash course.”
Coach Amanda Miles – Basketball – Markham – 10 Years
“I find holiday breaks are an opportunity for athletes to get together off the court and build their team bonding. Have a dinner or get together away from the practice. In terms of rhythm and routine, sometimes it is good to get away for a week and refocus your mind and come back fresh and ready to work hard after. Especially if the athletes are feeling overwhelmed or frustrated this gives them time to regroup and refocus.”
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