Family Values

“But dad, we have so much going on!”

“Do we have to go mom? I want to play in another tournament?”

“Will we miss out if we don’t do the extra private training?”

Have you heard these types of sentiments before from your spouse or your children? I know I have. The past few weeks you did not hear from me as my two teenage children, my wife and I took some downtime…way downtime as in the bottom of the Grand Canyon. We spent 8 days paddling the lower half the the Colorado River for 130 miles of blissful waterfalls, roaring rapids, and most importantly, tech free connection with our fellow paddlers and our family. It was amazing to completely disconnect, to stare at star filled skies, and billion year old rocks, and realize how small we really are. The picture above is us after 8 days, ready to take out at that diamond shaped peak behind us.

It was also critical to disconnect from sports for a while. Sure, my kids could have gone to an extra camp or tournament, and of course I could have been coaching, or speaking, or a million other things. And lord knows my wife could hav been seeing patients in her office. But we took a timeout, and it was glorious. It is so easy to go, go, go and keep up with the Joneses, to do the extra camp or take on extra work, but we all need recovery time. Our athletes need to just shut it off once in a while, and what they miss in those few days off technically they more than make up for with a refreshed approach when they return. Muscles repair, and the mind resets. And coaches, it is critical to just step away when we are feeling exhausted and burned out, not just 50% away, but 100% away. We all returned a little rusty, but mentally refreshed.

Sadly, too many families never have any family time because of sports. They are running in five different directions, 7 nights a week, and family dinners and conversations can easily become a distant memory. We must, for the good of our family, say “enough once in a while.” And make some memories outside of sports.

You do not have to travel to far off places to get some time away, but you do need to have the courage to step away, to shut off the outside world, and recharge. I know the Grand Canyon was an amazing escape for us, but it can also be a local camping spot, a weekend with family, or anything. Sometimes being committed to a sport can lead to us being committed if you know what I mean, unless we say “not this weekend. This weekend is for us.”If the best athletes in the world can take some time off, so can you. Just plan ahead, be upfront and communicative with your teams, and then go. You will be glad you did. Bon voyage!


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