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How to Win

Coaching and Health

Urban Meyer could have been speaking for thousands of coaches when he said that he had been ignoring his health.

Consumed by their passion for the job, these coaches build up stress and neglect healthy habits. Meyer, coach of Florida’s football team, apparently was one of them. Chest pains were enough to convince him it was time to leave.

“I have ignored my health for years, but recent developments have forced me to reevaluate my priorities of faith and family,” Meyer said in announcing his resignation from a program where he won two national titles.

Coaching really lends itself to loss of perspective. Between recruiting, motivating, planning practice, brainstorming and putting out daily fires, coaches can put in long hours. During those hours they can eat a lot of bad meals, and lose a lot of chances to exercise.

Former pro football coach Dick Vermeil learned some perspective over the course of his career. Early on, he slept at the stadium, seldom going home. He eventually quit, citing burnout. After an absence of 15 years, Vermeil returned to the NFL with the St. Louis Rams, and took them to a Super Bowl title within three years.

All in all, when coaches tell their players to fight harder, they should apply the advice to themselves. In coaching, the fight should be to maintain balance and health.


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