Finding Momentum in the Fall

By Jayson Schmidt, Head Coach, Palm Beach Atlantic University  @SailfishWLAX

Welp. It’s October.

Somehow, we’re already here. But it seems like just a few days ago summer was beginning… Ringing in with the cries of eternal freedom that triumphantly announce every summer. At the time, I thought about freedom.

“I’m going to set out to do everything I’ve always wanted to do! I’ll write a book. I’ll go golfing and rock climbing. I’ll finally REST.”

 Photo courtesy of Palm Beach Atlantic Athletics.

Of course, each year October rolls around and here we are. My freshmen just played in their first fall scrimmage and I have done nothing.

I wrote zero books. I think I golfed and rock climbed… maybe once. I did not rest. Sweet.

Now I find myself at the crossroads of being thrilled beyond all comparison for another year with my Sailfish family and somehow feeling like I spent most of the summer just watching kids play lacrosse in the blazing heat.

Maybe you find yourself feeling those same things. Feeling that the past several months have passed all too quickly. That somehow time escaped without the desired results.

How do we move forward? Is there a way to wrestle back control and meet this new season with renewed momentum?

It’s time to take control back. For me, I’ve found this progress begins with action in two areas.

THE FIRST is playing a game I like to call “big rocks.” It is important to note that this is not really a game, but I’ve found that calling something a game makes me more likely to play (or do) it. Coaches are simple people, you know?

The simple premise is that you have rocks of varying sizes that all need to fit into each day. Of course, if you start with the small ones first, you’ll never have room for the larger, more important ones.

Begin by taking a printed template that outlines every hour of every day. I’ve found that most templates on Google images do not outline every hour of the day, so you can download a copy of my template here. From there, drop in your “big rocks.” These are the items that would take a backhoe to move – sleep, weekly meetings, practice. You know the drill.

What I’ve found is that plotting my week gives me the foundation to be proactive in the in-between moments. Reactionary coaching – and living – happens when you let your schedule (and the “small rock” interruptions) control you instead. It’s your responsibility as a leader to grab your schedule by the hour and proactively set times to win the day. Start with your priorities and let the others fall into open windows of time.

Once I’ve mapped my big rocks, I import them into my calendar

Note: This concept is derived from an article by Dr. Franklin R. Covey. If you’d like more information, you can learn more here.

THE SECOND is owning your rest. For me, it’s three simple letters: QRT. Quiet Rest Time.

Coaching is a potentially stressful line of work when you’re always under the pressure of performance. I find balance best when Quiet Rest Time fights against that. QRT allows me to stop performing and just be; to take stock and refocus.

Interestingly, studies show that spouses should take thirty minutes after they get home before tackling any honey-do-lists or diving into the details of their day. If it’s important to pause and refocus before entering a new moment, why should it be any different with my team? I take 15-30 minutes before our pre-practice prep to refocus, so that my head is back in the game and my team receives a rested leader.

I believe that clarity of mind creates momentum on field, so this block of time for QRT goes into my calendar every day.

In November, I’ll be speaking at the 2019 IWLCA Annual Meeting with a presentation entitled, “Creating Future Wins: How to Save Your Program and Career with Recruiting.” Statistically, enrollment rates across higher education are declining, putting our line of work (as a whole) in a precarious place. This only further adds to the already stressful job of being magically successful.

It won’t be something I touch on heavily in November, but I believe saving your job begins with some of the above methods of self-care. Coaches that find personal balance are often more successful and more impactful.

Think of it like this. You’re a cup.

At your best, you’re full of water. This filling of your cup comes from the things you love, whether it’s your team, a partner, or a belief in something bigger.

In every tired, struggling, and burned out moment, you are still required to pour a little more of yourself out. Eventually, an empty cup has a more exaggerated tipping point. When you are empty, it takes more effort to give your team what you have been specifically equipped to give them. On the contrary, living a life of with an overflowing cup benefits you, your team, and your community.

So, while it’s already October, it’s never too late to find your momentum. Let’s do this.

One thought on “Finding Momentum in the Fall

  1. Hey, this is Coach Jayson. I’d like to thank you for reading my article. If you’re interested in reading more from me about life, leadership, and lacrosse, you can subscribe to my blog at I’d also love to hear what you think about what’s above. You can reach out via email or on Twitter (@JaysonSchmidt). Thanks again!


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