We started the high school girls warm up in silence this week. No talking for the first 10 minutes of training – just time to focus in, get connected to yourself and the moment. Warm up does many things but it really serves one purpose and that is to prepare and transition into training or competition. Often we focus on the physical dimensions of that transition, activating the nervous system, warming up the tissue, getting blood flowing, activating energy systems etc … Warm up serves as a time to make a mental transition as well, to bring our attention and focus to what we are about to do and what we are doing. So, we tried something different this week and did our warm up in silence.
It was a challenge for sure and the girls responded well. They held the silence and stayed with the process. Afterward I asked what they noticed as they were quiet. One of them shared that she realized, ” how busy my brain is. I have all these thoughts going through my head and usually I just say them. This was hard.”
Hard and good. Lest you think its just a gimmick, the goal here is really to begin to help young athletes develop an awareness and bring mind and body together. Ellen Langer, Harvard Psychologist said in a talk, ” Mind and body are just words and if we put them back together then wherever we put the mind we’re necessarily putting the body.” We want to put the body in the training session so, this week we experimented with a little silence as a way to put the mind there first.