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Organizational Stress: A Pressing Concern for Coaches in India

Updated: Aug 14, 2023

Coaching is a tough job, no doubt about it. The pressure to perform, the long hours, and the high expectations can really take a toll on coaches. In this blog, we're going to dive into the issue of organizational stress among coaches in India. We'll explore what causes this stress, how it affects coaches, and, most importantly, how they can manage it. And to make things more relatable, we'll share some real-life case studies of coaches who have experienced stress in their careers.

Organizational stress is the kind of stress that comes from the work environment. It's caused by things like heavy workloads, job insecurity, lack of support, and crappy working conditions. And let me tell you, this kind of stress can really mess with a person's mental and physical health. It can lead to burnout, anxiety, depression, and a whole host of other problems.

(Courtesy: MindFirst Performance Blogs

Causes of Organizational Stress Among Coaches in India

Coaches in India have their fair share of stressors. Anecdotally, we have listed some of the common causes of organisational stress among coaches in India:

- High Expectations: Coaches are expected to deliver results, and the pressure to succeed can be intense. Everyone from the athletes to the management to the fans has high expectations, and that can create a seriously stressful environment.

- Lack of Resources: Coaches often have to work with limited resources. They might not have access to the latest equipment, training facilities, or support staff. And let me tell you, trying to work miracles with limited resources can be a major stressor.

- Long Working Hours: Coaching is a demanding profession that requires long hours. Coaches often have to work early mornings, late nights, and even weekends. They miss out on festivals, family get-togethers and spending time with friends. Talk about a work-life imbalance!

- Poor Working Conditions: Coaches in India often have to deal with less-than-ideal working conditions. They might have to put up with inadequate facilities, lousy infrastructure, and a lack of basic amenities. And let me tell you, that can make any job a whole lot more stressful.

- Association and paperwork: Most of the coaches also do additional work for the academy or association that includes office-related work. This consumes most of their free time of the day. Most of the academy administrators also feel that the coaches only have work early in the morning and in the evening during training hours, they can manage working for the academy in the afternoon.

Impact of Organizational Stress on Coaches

Organizational stress can really mess with a coach's mental and physical health. It can lead to burnout, anxiety, depression, and a whole host of other problems. And here's the kicker: when coaches are stressed, their performance suffers. They become less motivated, less productive, and less effective in their role. It's a lose-lose situation.

1. Ravi Shastri: Ravi Shastri, the former Indian cricketer and ex-coach of the Indian cricket team, knows a thing or two about stress. In an interview, he talked about the pressure of coaching the Indian cricket team. He said, "It's a high-pressure job. You're always under the microscope, and there's always someone waiting to take your place. You have to be mentally strong to handle the pressure."

(Courtesy: ICC via Getty Images, available on ESPNcricinfo)

2. Pullela Gopichand: Pullela Gopichand, the former Indian badminton player and chief national ex-coach of the Indian badminton team, has also faced his fair share of stress. In an interview, he spoke about the challenges of coaching in India. He said, "Coaching in India is a tough job. You have to deal with a lot of pressure, and there's always someone criticizing you. But you have to stay focused and keep working hard."

Ways to Manage Organizational Stress

Okay, so we've established that organizational stress is a big problem for coaches. But what can they do about it? Here are some strategies for managing organizational stress:

- Set Realistic Goals: Coaches should set goals that are actually achievable. Unrealistic goals can create unnecessary pressure and stress.

- Take Breaks: Coaches need to prioritize self-care and take regular breaks. They should make time to relax, exercise, and spend time with loved ones. It's all about finding that work-life balance.

- Seek Support: Coaches shouldn't be afraid to ask for help from a sport psychologist or a qualified mental health professional. They can also reach out to colleagues, mentors, and friends for support and advice. Sometimes, just talking about stress can make a world of difference.

- Improve Working Conditions: Coaches can advocate for better working conditions. They can work with management to improve facilities, equipment, and support staff. A better work environment can go a long way in reducing stress.

(Courtesy: Ohio University )

Organizational stress is a real concern for coaches. The high expectations, lack of resources, long hours, and poor working conditions can really take a toll. But there are ways to manage this stress. Coaches can set realistic goals, take breaks, seek support, and work towards improving their working conditions. By managing organizational stress, coaches can improve their performance and well-being. So let's tackle this issue head-on and create a healthier and happier coaching environment in India.

In light of this, the Simply Sport Foundation launched the Simply Smiles initiative. It focuses on the mental well-being of athletes and coaches. Along with the guidance of sports psychologists, the program educates and encourages coaches to have open conversations about the mental pressures athletes face, while also ensuring they recognise and address the stress affecting them.

We are aiming to take our initiative countrywide and educate coaches and athletes - via workshops - on the importance of mental health in sports. Two-time boxing world champion Nikhat Zareen helped launch the event in Bangalore and was vocal about normalizing conversations about the mental struggles athletes face during their careers.

If you, or anyone you know can benefit from our initiative - we will be delighted to help break the stigma surrounding mental health in sport.






Author: Aadit Ingle is a student of psychology at MIT-WPU University and an Intern at MindFirst Performance Psychology Consulting. He is also a football player and is passionate about sport psychology.


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