Social Work Tips That Can Positively Impact Your Coaching Ability - by Sarah Daren

From the Coach’s Clipboard Basketball Playbook
"Helping coaches coach better..."

Sarah Daren is a featured writer on the Today Show website and has been a consultant for organizations across a number of industries including athletics, health and wellness, technology and education. When she's not caring for her children or watching the New York Yankees play, Sarah enjoys practicing yoga and reading a good book on the beach.

Sarah Daren
Sarah Daren

Social workers play an important role in the lives of families and individuals all over the United States. Their role is to help people who are struggling with issues like poverty, addiction, mental health, and relationships get the help and support they need to improve their lives. It's a stressful, yet fulfilling career that appeals to people who truly want to make a difference.

Although it might seem like social work and coaching don't have much in common, you may be surprised by the parallels between the two jobs. Coaches are influential figures in their players' lives, and they help them develop skills that will help them succeed in life. . If you want to become the best coach you can be, take these tips from the world of social work.

Don't Take Your Work Home

When you care about your players, you get invested in their lives. That's only natural. But if the kids you coach are facing major struggles in their lives, it can take a toll on your mental health. There's only so much you can do as a coach, and it's easy to feel helpless about what you can't do to help.

Although it might sound impossible, it's important to put your coaching duties out of your mind when you sign out for the day. You won't be able to help your players by worrying while you're at home, after all.

Instead, use that time to recharge so you can be there for your team when it matters. This is an important skill for social workers, who deal with heartbreaking situations on a daily basis. They must enforce boundaries between their personal and professional lives to ensure that they don't burn out or allow their health to be affected.

Learn Time-Management Strategies

Social workers are extremely busy, typically juggling many different cases at once. They don't have time to waste, so they have to get very good at time management.

You can use social work time management strategies in your work as a coach to help you support your players. Creating to-do lists for yourself can help you plan out your week more effectively. You should also prioritize different activities to ensure that the most important skills get practice time when they need it most.

Use Self-Care to Recharge

Because social work is so stressful, self-care is critically important for people working in the field. Without taking time to care for themselves, social workers often develop issues like chronic stress, burnout, or even compassion fatigue.

Self-care isn't about indulgence. It's about caring for your body and mind so you can maintain your health and well-being. You will be most effective as a coach if you maintain a healthy diet, get enough exercise, prioritize rest, and use mindfulness practices like meditation, breathing exercises, and journaling.

A bonus of prioritizing self-care is that you'll set a great example for your players. If they see you taking care of yourself, then they will be more likely to do so as well!

Provide Individual Advice and Solutions

In the world of social work, there are no one-size-fits-all solutions to the problems people are dealing with. Although these problems are typically more severe than you might encounter as a coach, you will still need to help individual players problem-solve. And the good news? Because the situations you'll encounter are likely to have lower stakes, there shouldn't be the kind of pressure social workers face.

Approach each problem or concern with fresh eyes. If you keep an open mind, you'll be better able to serve your players and help them with their individual athletic and personal struggles. Using this approach and helping each player be the best they can be, you'll ultimately help to strengthen your team as a whole.

Articles by Sarah Daren