Sleep Sounds Great

Posted by: Avinash on Friday, February 22nd, 2008

If people seem discontented by Tedford’s stand on Riley v. Longshore, they should be more pleased to hear what he’s learned from this year.

Tedford, who is notorious for setting up residence in his office during the season, worked even longer hours than usual in an attempt to solve his team’s riddle. And when he wasn’t working, he’d lay on his air mattress in his office trying fruitlessly to fall asleep. Some nights, sleep never came.

“I didn’t sleep very much,” Tedford said. “You go to bed at 1:30 and have so many things on your mind and just toss and turn. I think there’s a point of maybe just overexhaustion, where you’re spinning your wheels. I felt like that a couple of times this year.”

That led to one of Tedford’s revelations after the season — that not every problem is solved by simply putting in more hours; that at some point the long hours can become counterproductive. So one of Tedford’s new doctrines is to make sure he and his coaching staff get a little more sleep, with the hopes it will result in renewed energy and focus.

“Sometimes maybe there is such a thing as being overworked. I never really felt that way in the past,” Tedford said. “This year, I felt that way as far as having some nights I didn’t sleep at all. I think I need to do a better job as a head coach to make sure we manage our hours so that we can have the energy and the enthusiasm all the time to do what we need to do. I think at a certain point it’s really easy to let yourself get overworked in this deal.”

Let’s face it–America is the land of workaholics. Tedford’s background (to work hard to survive and provide for his family) certainly made it easier for him to fall into the classic trap of overworking and burning out before the season ended. Hence, I’m glad to hear he’s learning the difference between working hard and working smart. Being a tired

Not many people have learned it in the past–consider all the poor working stiffs who toil every day in hopes of retirement. (Thank God I read the 4-Hour Work Week and adjusted my paradigms as well). It’s good to know Tedford is a flexible coach and will hopefully remain so in the long-term.

Additionally, it’s nice to hear he’s channeling the art of delegation (another lesson preached by the 4-Hour Work Week).

Tedford said he didn’t really seek advice during the team’s slide (“I had plenty of people trying to give me some,” he said), that most of the reflection took place after the season. That soul-searching revealed another discovery — that his role as play caller was preventing him from being the best head coach he could be.

As human beings we tend to stretch ourselves too thin (I know I have and do). But when we get into a position where other people are available to lend a helping hand, we should seize on that opportunity and let others do what they’re good at before we bog ourselves down in more tasks than we’re capable of handling. This epidemic runs true especially in professional football, where coaches take too much control of personnel decisions and management (in the NFL, think Holmgren, think Parcells, think Belichick–who has burned out near the end of seasons; none could win Super Bowls the longer they held management and playcalling roles).

College coaches have different priorities. They have larger rosters, so player development is an underrated aspect of the game. Anyone notice how stagnant the players were–especially on defense–near the end of the year? Tedford just had too many tasks on his plate this year. Focusing on calling plays with that huge billboard, overcoming the hippies and pushing for the athletic center project, player development, recruiting, and reorienting himself to the losing streaks all at once took its toll.

So I think these adjustments are promising. Tedford can get back to what he’s been great at–player development, and hand the reins to a fairly good OC. I just hope Coach is sleeping as I write this–it’s late as I finish writing this up.

Any additional thoughts on Tedford’s workaholic nature and his adjustments? Other suggestions that might help our Coach get in proper mental shape?

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