Only Calm Blood


Surely you know that too. After a tense game that ended happily with the last item at 21:45, you land at your own home just before 12 pm. Before that there was the press conference, 2 players who wanted something from you, another athlete, which you had to rebuild, the compulsory chat with the sponsors, a short critical review with the club board, a few other people who greeted you briefly and who gave their opinion of the game, then the common beer along with a small snack at the club counter. And now finally the first moment of rest. But how are you supposed to sleep right now? The adrenaline still rushes through your veins, different images of the game appear in front of your eyes. The same assumption error, the awarded match ball in the 4th set, the two good blocks, which brought you the lead in the fifth. So what to do? One more beer? Some TV? Or off to bed and wait until at some point so at half past two sleep finally takes you? 

 Being a coach on match day is pure stress. For most, it starts already hours before, for special games even days before the game starts. And that is one of the charms of the task. This tension, which builds up slowly and hopefully ends in rejoicing at the end. You also need that tension to be a good coach. Although I quite consciously coaching with the great badminton racket string your team before, during and after the competition mine. The training in the week you can make great even without great tension. But on the day of the competition, it needs that special tingling sensation, with your athletes as well as with yourself.

 Because stress has a function. He makes us more alert and able to act. Breathing is faster, the heart beats more often and the brain and muscles are better supplied with blood. So stress is a condition that puts us, as well as anxiety, in a special willingness to perform. At least as long as he does not get too big. (The fact that too much stress and too much fear have a performance-reducing effect because they lead to cramping up to a complete blockade, I have already explained in volleyball magazine 3/2005 (“not hop, but the top”) in detail.)

 Therefore, we also speak of “good” (à Eustress) and “bad” (à Distress) stress. Good stress is the stress that makes life attractive and interesting. The stress that body and psyche need. So to speak, “the salt in the soup” of life. Distress, on the other hand, is the harmful stress that can lead to long-term illnesses and mental disorders. But where exactly is the limit? When is the stress still helpful and when is it harmful? This certainly has something to do with the inner, mostly unconscious assessment of the respective situation. The more I experience a situation as threatening rather than challenging, the greater will be the negative stress effect. (A direct restriction has to be made: an excess of positive stress is also problematic,

 And with that, we come back to you. How do you rate this with yourself? Is the weekend stress still positive or is it already too much? The not insignificant number of drug addicts among the coaches indicates that a number of coaches are already beyond the magic limit. Or that you have no adequate means to cope effectively with the resulting stress.

 Practical help in coping with stress

But if alcohol is not the best way to stop stress, what can you do? Then you can give a few general answers. As I explained above, stress is a condition that puts the body into a willingness to perform. That is why it is important to actively reduce stress. So to retrieve the performance for which the body is prepared. This is the easiest way to move. Of course, all forms of physical activity are obvious. Whether you prefer swimming, playing volleyball or jogging is left to your liking. But gardening, dancing and even cleaning are effective alternatives. The main thing, circulation and musculature get going.

 During the game active stress management also means that it makes sense to vent his tension as well. Investigations from football clearly show that coaches who are very active in their coaching, take less of a risk to their health than trainers who control themselves and take back.

 It is also recognized that the feeling of being in control of a situation significantly reduces stress. So if the game is against you, ask yourself what you can do. This not only helps your team but you too.

 Relaxation procedures are also helpful, which you can apply yourself both in the week between the games and on the match day. Above all, autogenic training and progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) are known. With the latter method, I have had the best experience with athletes and coaches because it takes little practice to learn the technique, and at the same time, it is a relaxation process that requires doing something. Because many people find it difficult to relax on command. In this case, the systematic tightening of the muscles used in PMR is a help. Phil Jackson, the hugely successful American basketball coach (9 NBA title with the Chicago Bulls and the LA Lakers) is known to calm himself through meditation. That too is a possible way.