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March 11th Tip of the Week: Setting Loving Limits with Your Coach.Tips for Athletes

Hey athletes! Do you ever feel pressured by a coach to keep playing through pain, compete
when you’re exhausted, or repeatedly attempt a skill that scares you? As someone who
struggled with people pleasing, setting healthy boundaries used to be a VERY stressful topic. I
didn’t want to seem difficult or offend anyone. After leaving the athletic world and venturing
into the medical field I’ve learned the hard way how vital emotional intelligence is for upholding
your personal boundaries while still being coachable.

It’s a tricky balance – we want to keep improving our athletic abilities without compromising our
mental and physical well-being. Here are a few compassionate communication tips:

  • Get clear on your core values and non-negotiables when it comes to personal health/safety first. Know your limits before entering high-pressure coaching conversations.
  • Be upfront and proactive. Politely discuss concerns early rather than bottling up resentment that often leaks out passive-aggressively later.
  • Use lots of “I” statements to take ownership of feelings versus accusatory “you” statements. Ex: “I’m starting to feel anxious about the game plan, can we talk more about my worries?”
  • Clarify confusion calmly at every step. Don’t assume you know the intentions behind coaching decisions that upset you – seek to understand first.
  • If talks start escalating emotionally, call a thoughtful time-out. Revisit when feelings have
    cooled down and you can speak rationally.

The goal isn’t to be combative with your coach – it’s to align on expectations so you can perform at your peak without losing integrity. Remember that standing firmly in your truth sets the stage for mutual understanding. You’ve got this!

Guest Author: Sarah Gariba, BSN, RN.
Former competitive athlete, registered nurse, and wellness coach
Website: thecaregiverhub.co

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