While we talk a lot about youth athlete burnout here it is also important to recognize that youth coaches themselves can get burned out too. Burnout at higher levels such as pro and collegiate coaches is understandable as their livelihood often depends on the coaching position but when talking about youth coaches it's a whole other ballgame.
Most youth coaches are volunteers and usually also have to contend with regular day jobs and their family on top of trying to keep a team together and running smoothly. Even 6+ hours a week for 3-4 months a couple times a year can slowly get to you without you even realizing it and that's just practice and game time. You still have to add in time for recruiting, fundraising, game planning and other behind the scenes administrative stuff.
Coaching a youth sports team can be a daunting task even if you are prepared for it. If it's your first time coaching it can be even more strenuous. With most sports leagues here in the valley going to multiple seasons, cases of coach burnout can quickly catch up with you. With so many different teams here, coaches find themselves playing season after season for fear of losing players to other teams (as we all know recruiting can be a overwhelming and stressful task). Due to this and other reasons, burnout can hit you before you even know it is coming.
When burnout strikes it can spell trouble for everyone you're around, especially if your in the middle of a season. If it hits early in the beginning of a long season it can be devastating since we as coaches don't want to just up and quit, leaving the kids and parents in a state of panic.
Burnout in a youth coach can leave way for a negative and unsafe environment for our youth as we become short-tempered, lazy and mentally soft not only with our players but with our job and worst of all, our own family.
Here are a couple quick tips to hopefully stave off burnout and help you run things even more smoothly:
Delegate Jobs - Use parents to your advantage and delegate as many jobs as possible to them. You'll find that this alone can be a huge time and stress saver. Many parents you'll find are more than willing to help and be a part of the team. Delegate fundraising, uniforms, travel, team get-together's and scheduling to parents that aren't coaches.
Assistant Coaches - Enlist some parents to help you coach, especially for things like coordinator type duties and for specialties like lineman or pitchers. Assistant coaches can also help you to recruit new players for the team.
Be careful with Technology - Texting, Facebook and Twitter are awesome tools for coaches to recruit and communicate with players, parents and coaches. Just be careful not to spend too much time on them. Great thing about Facebook pages is you can add additional administrators to help with the page. Put a team mom in charge of texting, calling and tweeting to parents. You can kill two birds with one stone simply by connecting your Twitter and Facebook accounts together, saving even more time. When you post to one it automatically sends it to the other. Hootsuite is a great option for this.
Take Breaks - Take breaks often during and between seasons. During the season, try to keep a schedule that allows at least one day away from coaching if possible. This means staying away from the computer or watching game/practice film. Take a day to spend with just your family or even better, just yourself. In-between seasons is even more crucial, try to take at least a month or two off from anything that has to do with coaching and after that slowly work your way back into it.
Winning at all Costs is not Worth it - Some coaches become obsessed with winning when they really don't need to, you are not in upper level sports and your financial and economical well-being does not depend on it. Winning should only be a by-product of your teaching and coaching. You need to remember it's about teaching kids skills for life long success. When coaches become obsessed with winning, they can delve themselves into constantly researching film, new plays, ways to dominate the competition and even worst, they can start to over critize their young players. Focus on just winning can itself be a huge stress inducer.