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  • Writer's pictureJack Mullaney

Guarding Empty Weight Rooms

Recently, I've come to recognize the importance of high performance. No, not from the athletes. If you're in this profession, I think that's a given.

I'm talking about being a high performing coach. When it's time for practice or competition, we also have to be at our best. That involves heeding the advice we pass on to our athletes about sleep, nutrition, connection, wellness, and the like.

Yesterday, I was listening to a podcast (if you haven't caught on yet, I'm a "podcast guy") with Matt DeLancey, a strength and conditioning coach at the University of Florida. DeLancey was asked about what he does to escape the stresses of the job, and he talked about doing house projects, getting out in nature, and going to the beach. However, he followed it up with something that caught my attention.

"I was not good at that earlier in my career," DeLancey said about finding escapes, "I was guilty of guarding empty weight rooms."

Guilty of guarding empty weight rooms. What a line.

As coaches, we may not have our office in the weight room, but the message is something we all need to listen to.

I'd be willing to bet that time spent in the office does not have much correlation with being a successful coach (reminder: success, as I've defined it, is about the kind of people your athletes become), nor do I think it even determines who wins the trophies.


For one, the office isn't where a coach is most effective. That's at practice. For another, I don't think much of what gets done in the office needs to get done in the office. The pandemic has at least taught us that. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, long nights at the office make sleep, nutrition, connection, wellness, and all the other components of being at your best a challenge to stay on top of.

I'm using the second person "you" in this post, perhaps subconsciously to deflect attention away from myself, but I'll admit it: I'm writing this post just as much, if not more, for me than anyone else.

If a strength coach is guilty of guarding empty weight rooms, I've been guilty of guarding an empty track office. And contrary to the workaholic behaviors that traditional norms may praise, I no longer think it's something to be proud of.

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