Coaches, Pay Yourselves First

Volt coach Tyler Hales talks to his football team at La Jolla Country Day high school in California.

Volt coach Tyler Hales talks to his football team at La Jolla Country Day high school in California.

Coaching is a selfless career.

The boundaries of a coach, in today's modern profession, extend beyond just the field and the season. As a coach, you give of yourself year-round to players, staff, parents, the entire program, and they all demand your time and attention.

After a long day at the office, you then give of yourself to your children, spouse, the program at home, and they all demand your time and attention.

It’s not hard to see that as a coach, you have very little time for yourself.

In the world of personal finance, advisors will tell you to pay yourself first. When money comes in, you hold off paying anybody else—such as Uncle Sam and day-to-day living expenses—and pay yourself off the top. If you are to do it the other way around, pay yourself last, there is guaranteed to be nothing left for you.

In coaching, the same principle is true. You need to take care of yourself first, before giving of yourself to others. If you do it another way around, you will most likely be in a situation most coaches are in today. Giving to everyone else, with very little time for themselves.

Finding time for you is an important part of caring for yourself and your health.

However, it is a challenge. Just saying you want to make time for yourself is not going to cut it. You need to have a game plan. Without structuring your day and making a game plan for your own well-being, it’s not going to happen.


Map it Out


One easy and effective way to help you achieve all you need for your family, team, and self, is by mapping out your ideal day.

Here are some suggestions for planning your ideal day.

  1. Make a list of all the places you want and need to spend your time.
  2. Rank them in order of priority. (Hint: You are number one.)
  3. Design your day how you want it to look like, not how other coaches, or the industry does it. This is a critical piece. Far too many coaches feel the need to follow what their coach did, or what the majority of other coaches are doing. If you are spending the time to read this, you want more than just mediocrity. So avoid settling for it like so many do.
  4. Be honest with yourself. If you want to make exercise, meditation, reading, or even sleep a priority, then factor that in. Just because other coaches skip these self-investing activities because they are caught up watching game film, doesn’t mean you have to.
  5. Be detailed. What are you doing from the time you get up, until you lay your head down to rest?
  6. Stick to it.

The Takeaway

It is important for coaches to find time for themselves. Improving yourself mentally, physically, and emotionally will help improve your work as a coach, mentor, spouse, and parent. @@Just like you do for your team, you need to game-plan how you find time for yourself.@@

Start by game-planning your ideal day. Then, put your plan in your calendar on your phone, complete with reminder alarms if you need them. Now all you need to do is execute, which is of course what you always tell your players—right, coach?


Join hundreds of thousands of coaches and athletes using Volt's intelligent training system. For more information, click here.

Cletus Coffey is a former professional football player and World Champion athlete who, after retiring, struggled to find purpose and meaning in life after sports. Today, Cletus is a high performance motivational speaker, trainer, and coach dedicated to helping current and former athletes navigate life after sports. You can find his writings on USA Football’s website and listen to his podcast, The Recovering Athlete. Follow Cletus on Twitter and Instagram and check out his website: