Trevor Bayliss said England resembled "rabbits in the headlights" after they were humiliatingly bowled out for only 58 on day one of the first Test against New Zealand.
Trent Boult (6-32) and Tim Southee (4-25) ripped through the tourists at Eden Park, taking just 20.4 overs to end a pitiful innings.
Joe Root's men were an astonishing 27-9 before Craig Overton's unbeaten 33 got them up to England's sixth-worst Test score of all time.
Kane Williamson showed England how it is done in the first day-night Test to be played in New Zealand, the captain's 91 not out taking his side on to 175-3 at stumps.
Head coach Bayliss was bemused by his side's shortcomings with the bat after watching a record-equalling five England players fall without scoring.
"We got caught behind the crease to fairly full balls, which allows the ball to swing. Then we were nowhere, we were a little bit like rabbits in the headlights." he told Sky Sports.
"They bowled extremely well, but we battled extremely poorly.
"I think it must have been a mental thing. Our feet looked like they had lead in them today and we didn't make too many right decisions with our footwork."
England played just the two warm-up games ahead of the first Test, but Bayliss said it was difficult finding a balancing act between giving players time off after the tour of Australia and getting time in the middle.
He added: "I'm not sure if there is any right answer [with managing schedules]. If they play everything, they are probably mentally fatigued. Certainly, the guys have had a long four or five months.
"Most of these guys have been home for two or three weeks. One or two of the Test players for a little longer than that. It is a difficult one, but what do you when you've got so many games on.
"I'm not sure anyone has gone the answer. We've tried to give them a rest when it's possible. There is no cricket on in England over Christmas, so what do you do?"