Updated: Aug 2
Yesterday when I was speaking to Danny, our coach, and Osama, the assistant coach, both of them were discussing the night they had after the match - which was a sleepless and restless one. Both coaches could not sleep because their minds kept analyzing the game on repeat. For us coaches and me as an ex-coach, this is an experience we all can relate to. Football is just like having a love affair, it stays in your head and you are unable to stop yourself from thinking about it. Funny though it may seem, this is a curse that comes with coaching.
Since the game is always held on the weekend, it is usually a Saturday or Sunday night which means you lose the entire weekend preparing for the game. The actual game is an hour and a half long. The post-game is one hour long, but the time spent thinking and planning for it is much more. Once you are done with preparing for the game and then finally playing it, you go home expecting to sleep soundly and all you see is the game in your mind.
Just like these two coaches, this episode happened to me last week. I suddenly woke up at 3 and the first thing that flashed through my mind was the goal the opposition had scored and how they were celebrating. Maybe this is how all coaches are!
The lives of coaches can be totally consumed by the sport. We are worried 24/7 about the wins and losses, the players and their fitness, the performances, and the training. It is therefore natural for coaches to be unable to get the game out of their heads, even when the game has been played.
What happens in reality after a match is that you literally end up playing the whole game in your mind. You analyze the game moment by moment and try to figure out what went wrong or what worked for the team, then you start planning strategies and preparing the sessions in your mind. The game keeps playing in your mind until you doze off and the moment you wake up you are ready to fix things that went wrong in the last game.
It is more of a curse because you really cannot sleep after matches. All coaches go through it and you hear all the big coaches express the same experiences. For me, it was a moment of great amusement to find out that both coaches were on the same boat and sharing the same thoughts. Since I also have experienced this phenomenon, all I had to say to Coach Danny was “Welcome to coaching”.