Well, I’ve missed my last two Friday blogs, not for lack of trying, but for lack of energy. Last week, I was in bed at 8:30, and it’s been 9:30 for a while now. I don’t have a TV show I really like any more in that 9 – 10 spot, and I think it’s obvious I’m just feeling old right now.
But, this isn’t about me (totally). The last two posts I’ve made have been about this year’s edition of 8th grade girls basketball. A ragtag group of ball players who have managed to beat one of the better teams in our area, who continue to grow as a team, and who continue to resist that urge to beat each other up! We have some girls who know how to push the buttons of other players.
The game I described the last blog, there was a time where I called timeout because we were looking a bit (a lot) frazzled on the court. We’d just taken the lead, and look like we were ready to collectively throw up all over ourselves. I called time out and didn’t diagram a play and I didn’t talk basketball.
The girls came off the floor and a couple looked like they were ready to cry. So, did I do? I had them breath, deeply.
Nope, I’ve really bought into the whole idea of being mindful and using deep breathing to create that sense of calm in the storm of chaos around us. Had I not called that time out, I believe we would have lost that game. The outcome was not yet decided, but it was close. My girls, even though they played this team tough all ready, really hadn’t been tested. This other team I knew hadn’t been tested. So, you’ve got two teams, one who’s finding their courage (mine), one who walks on the floor being courageous (theirs), thrust into a situation neither had much experience in. What could go wrong, right? 🙂
So, we took deep breaths, we talked about being in control, about how the game was ours, that we were ahead, and how THEY were the ones stressing because they rarely were ever behind, and almost never to us!
Guess what? It worked. We went back on the floor looking calm, collected, and ready to win a game they now believed they could win.
So, why talk about this?
Because this has SO MANY places it can be inserted. I had a student come up to me a couple of days ago to tell me a story about how her little sister was ready to melt down, and this girl told her to breath in through her nose, out through her mouth, and to focus on a happy thought. Before long, her little sister was calmed down and could talk about the problem!
We’ve started to take the first few minutes of our class to breath, to focus on the breath, and NOT on the fight with their parents, the fact they didn’t get breakfast, or forgot their homework. We talk about visualizing what good things look like our lives, whether it’s a sport activity, singing in church, or a perfect test score. Anything will work, because the positive thought will help take students from the negative to the positive.
This will take a while, but I can see a difference in a few students. Imagine students with that ability to calm themselves without acting out, dealing with problems though techniques that could be used throughout their lives. I will be investigating this further because not only can this help them, but can help me!
Because my life is calm and tranquil with no stress said no coach (or teacher) ever! 🙂
December 11, 2018 at 7:40 pm
I look forward to hearing more about this as you continue to observe the value of taking time to breathe with your students:)
December 11, 2018 at 8:27 pm
Great words of wisdom. Glad I read this because I’ll probably need to just breathe when I sub in kindergarten this week. 🙂 I’ll let you know if I suggest it to one of the little ones. 🙂 Thank you!
December 12, 2018 at 10:05 am
Good luck with that, Debbie! I love the little ones, but found I wasn’t a good teacher of them. My big kids are a handful, but I cannot imagine not working with them! 🙂
December 14, 2018 at 7:31 am
Well…I had to stop and ‘just breathe’ umpteen times yesterday in kindergarten. Whew, I used up every single ounce of patience I had teaching the little ones during the Christmas season.
December 11, 2018 at 8:43 pm
Someone just told me last night to ‘Breathe,” and so, I am! Sounds like you are a caring coach who is very observant about his players. We need more like you. It’s not all about winning.
December 12, 2018 at 10:04 am
Now don’t get me wrong, it is about the winning (hee hee), but I’m a middle school coach, so it’s much more about the teaching. At one point, I had thoughts of being a varsity coach. Thankfully, I passed on one job and haven’t looked back. Plus, I absolutely love what I do. AND if I can get my students/players to be mindful of their emotions, that just another positive! 🙂
December 13, 2018 at 11:19 am
LOL! Yes, winning matters, I know. (smiling) I also know that coaches that teach good character traits are valuable. Our son’s soccer team went to State for the first time this year in school history. Although the coaches (and students) loved this, they also were very focused on the “type” of player that they were molding. Good kids! Good coaches! Thanks for caring about your students!
December 11, 2018 at 10:32 pm
You know, I really love this! Just breathe is some good advice for students and for ourselves. I love it that you are teaching your students this technique. I just used it tonight in yoga!
December 12, 2018 at 10:02 am
It’s simple, doesn’t require a membership, and has been proven to do a number of very positive things to our bodies! What’s not to like there?? 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!
December 11, 2018 at 10:44 pm
I admire you for sharing this precious technique with your students. They will always remember you for that. One can only imagine the many ways it will be used in the years to come. Its simplicity is its beauty and strength, And it’s nice to hear you are doing it, too.
The last five minutes of my 2x per week yoga class is my favorite part of the class. It’s when we all breathe together. Happy Holidays, coach!
December 12, 2018 at 10:00 am
Thanks for the kind words! 🙂 I’m crossing my fingers they just remember to breathe when in stressful situations and have distant thoughts of that goofball who taught them! One of the things I miss, not living near an urban area, are classes like that, with times that can fit our schedules. Yoga and Northeast Iowa don’t always mix well! Happy holidays to you as well! ❤