Ice Network

Bobby's world: Managing the coaching life

Martin offers advice, suggests apps for maintaining healthy lifestyle
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Bobby Martin with the most important people in his life (L-R): wife Barbie; daughter Bridgette, 9; daughter Bella, 12. -courtesy of Bobby Martin

As a coach, my main focus is on my athletes, and I work hard (with all my fellow coaches) to make intelligent decisions about how to maintain their bodies, keep them inspired and sharp, and manage distractions and influences that could lead to unnecessary stress and anxiety. What has the potential to get lost in this focus is doing the same thing for us coaches. Walking the walk. Modeling good behavior and habits. It is called self care. In order for us to do our jobs as well as we can, we must place the oxygen mask on our faces BEFORE being able to help those around us.

What follows are some of my personal methods, strategies and tools (and iPhone apps) that I use to help me have the physical energy, mental strength, focus and perspective to help my athletes on a day-to-day basis … sorry athletes, this is not about you! Well, I guess that is not true; it is ALWAYS about you. (Except when it is about me.)

In no particular order...

7. Working out/exercising/moving

I NEED to exercise daily, for my body but also for my mind. The act of sweating and getting blood pumping through my brain helps to reduce stress and gets me ready for the day. When I can, I will ride my bike to work (12-mile round trip using MapMyRun app). More common, due to time constraints, I will jump on the stationary bike in our office for 25 minutes before hustling my girls off to school. This is a great time for me to watch SportsCenter, which helps get me pumped up for the day. When traveling to events, I try to make sure that I have access to a gym, or I will rent a bike for the week if the weather is suitable. I have ridden in the mountains of Oberstdorf, on the streets of New York City at Mid-Atlantics (recently witnessing an explosive bike accident in Central Park ... good story, not for now) and, currently, while I am in Bratislava. (Note: I took a nice wipeout this week while attempting to avoid pedestrians, cars and trams. If you Google "Bratislava bike disaster," you will probably see a picture of me. No major injuries, but the cleaning lady in the hotel thought I murdered someone in my room. John Zimmerman is still alive.)

12. Sleep

Do I really need to even mention this? YES! Turn it off, put it away. Also learn to nap, once a week. Shut it down. I practice a lot and am good at it. App of choice: Magic Window (Sleep to the sounds of a Costa Rican beach.)

D. Morning coffee

It is really important to me to get up early and have a nice cup of coffee in relative silence or catch up with my wife, if I am so lucky, before getting moving. I usually plan out my day and look at our Cozi app, which is our family scheduler. It lets me see what lies ahead with my girls' schedules and keeps our family running smoothly. I also get caught up on all my favorite Boston sports teams (ESPN app). Set the coffee timer the night before, and it is all ready for me at 5:50 a.m. Good stuff.

1. My family

My main source of joy, and the thing that keeps everything in perspective. There is no substitute in my life for time with my wife and kids. Wine on Friday night watching "The Voice" on the DVR together. Priceless. Reading with my daughter Bridgette or studying Spanish or earth science with other daughter Bella. Going outside and shooting hoops with them. Going out together to Comella's for pizza. Nothing beats it or comes close.

VII. Watching and saving inspiration wherever I can find it

I try to find it in all walks of life. I will double dip, and ride the exercise bike and watch the final 10 minutes of the Boston Bruins winning the Stanley Cup. Clip articles to share with our athletes. Watch and share YouTube videos like "Girls first Ski Jump" (http://youtu.be/ebtGRvP3ILg) or "Luck is an Attitude" (http://youtu.be/A0glS2SE2jU). I research which charities I want to contribute to at the end of the year on behalf of our students. This year I am looking at animal therapy for returning military with emotional and mental trauma called Warhorse (http://youtu.be/07k-L85pg08). Thinking about others goes a long way toward keep things in perspective.

9. Read

A good book goes a long way! Some of my recent favorites: Malcolm Gladwell's Tipping Point or Outliers. Also, How Children Succeed by Paul Tough, and both Terry Francona and Bill Belichick's biographies.

5. I surround myself with good people.

I am so fortunate to have a great extended family as well as wonderful friends and colleagues. Keeping people that are supportive and who have good energy close to me is very important. I try to invest my personal time into fostering those relationships. At the end of the day, they will mean more than anything else. I make sure to create time for them. Recent example: I always look forward to Barbie (my wife) and I getting together with Jonathan and Sheila English. (Jonathan does all the equipment and sharpening for my athletes.) Always a great laugh and fun time. I also have the best students you could ask for.

A few other random things:

  • I play the guitar, 10 minutes at night before bed (or have jam sessions with my girls). App: Guitar Tabs
  • Just say no! -- I will not take on more than I can handle, unless out of necessity. I know my limits.
  • When traveling, I try to learn the language. Good for the brain and it's fun for me. App: iTranslate
  • Lumosity.com (also in app form) -- I am addicted to the games which are supposed to "train your brain." Check it out.
  • I don't watch the mainstream news. Too depressing and stressful. Things I need to know, I will find out, and then I can look into further. Scan NPR app in the morning.
  • I love listening to comedy, either Pandora (app) "Today's Comedy" or some of my specific favorites. It's always OK to laugh. Out loud.
  • Lastly, comfort food. I try to take a 10-minute vacation, if I can, during Zamboni breaks while fueling myself. There is nothing like having buffalo mozzarella and fresh tomato salad in Italy or chewing on some biltong while spotting a kudu on safari at Kruger Park, South Africa. No wonder Rich and Tony look at me funny while they are flooding the ice. (That was for my Canadian friends; now go do some cross cuts.) I also have to give a shout-out to a Nutella, banana and honey sandwich on Pepperidge Farm oatmeal bread.

Finally, if all else fails, I have a great therapist -- my beautiful wife, Barbie -- to thank.

Stay cool!

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