After practice, after learning so many things, after running and breathing hard, the end of practice should be a time to reflect upon the things that were just accomplished and how each skill learned helps you and your team. The ‘and your team’ part of that last statement NEEDS to be stressed in the media-coerced, “look out for ourselves” culture where coaches can be a beacon of positivity and show how there IS power in numbers, if each individual owns their actions for the betterment of all. By ending our practice as much as possible with yoga, the player can bring awareness back to the body at the end of practice to inform themselves of anything weird going on in their bodies and where they’ll need to focus their physical efforts on improving.
Past the closing yoga practice and reflection, I encourage my team to forget thinking about lacrosse until the next time they pick up their stick, especially if the kind of thinking involves stewing on things that happened or could be. If each player focuses as much as possible throughout practice, their subconscious will remember enough to carry them forward, especially if we reinforce this belief in them. Since players tough it through what can be absolute drudgery in common schooling, the open space given to the mind and body of being free from lacrosse burdens, when not at practice, is a breath of fresh mind.
I strive to do the same as a coach, but, if I do end up thinking of lacrosse, I try to keep my intention creative and let my mind wander intuitively – there is no other thing to do but my next action. This is something I have been struggling with as a first year Varsity head coach; when is the time to turn off? When will letting my mind wander lead me to something beautiful in my subconscious? Unforced patience seems like the only logical answer; achieving that is another story.