About the author: Kari Pickens is the associate head coach at Ashland University. Pickens was recognized as one of the WBCA’s inaugural Thirty Under 30 presented by Marriott Rewards. In 2016-17, she was named WBCA NCAA Division II Assistant Coach of the Year. Below Pickens shares five ways she learned to manage the stress and time constraints with being a top assistant coach in women’s basketball.
I sought counseling during my second full year of coaching to help manage my stress and anxiety. The largest contributor to my angst was my lack of work/life balance. Since that experience, I’ve become an advocate for maintaining stability and eagerly share five points that help me remain balanced.
1. Your identity cannot be in your profession.
If your identity is simply coach, then you will be consumed with the ups and the downs that come with the title. Figure out who you are, with or without coaching, and embrace it. Remember, coaching is what you do, it’s not who you are!
2. Take a mental health day.
Take a day of complete rest. My day is Sunday. During midseason, I don’t watch a single bit of film, call recruits or work on my scouts. I go to church, spend time with family and do some reading.
3. Spend time with your significant other.
Take hikes. Watch movies. Cook meals. Your relationship with your spouse or partner should be your most significant human relationship, so invest in it.
4. Remember to workout.
Midseason is busy, but make time for being active. Working out makes you feel better and more productive during the day.
5. Power off, and enjoy your family.
Remove phones and other household distractions from the picture to ensure you’re really engaged with loved ones. Recruits and AAU coaching friends can wait because meals with your family are priceless.