With power comes great responsibility. As a coach, people look to me for leadership, for advice and direction. It feels overwhelming at times……and I often doubt my efficacy, capability and intentions.
I work with an awareness coach once a week for an hour at a time. I use them as a check and balance. I run scenarios by them and we pick a part my actions, thoughts and emotions. It’s no mystery that I like to take responsibility for my own parts in interactions so that I can have my own bias cleared out as much as possible. Doing this kind of practice allows me to give space for another to be themselves and go through their experience as they need and not as I think they should.
About 2 years ago I was put on a “seeing space” assignment. Meaning, when I looked at objects, animate and inanimate, I was to look into the space in and around versus at the object. I thought I would have no problem because of the “soft focus” I used in sports, but I was way off!
I would look at a tree and try and look into the spaces between the branches, but always be drawn to the tree trunk or the actual leaves and then I would go down a tangent of thoughts, reminiscing all that trees meant to me. When I saw a bicycle, I would attempt to look at the space between the frame or the spokes and inevitably I would get distracted and look at the person riding the bike. Often times I would completely “forget” to do the exercise. After about 4 months of practicing, something clicked and I began seeing space. It was an incredible experience, because in space, judgement and identification cannot exist. It was peaceful and I was calm when I practiced. Seeing space helped me hold the focus mitts better. The skill allowed me to see more of the boxer’s movements and still accurately catch their punches.
Doing all this practice has helped me as a coach to also energetically hold space for my boxers to develop. It has allowed me to pull back and get out of the way so they can take more responsibility for their own development. It allows me to know when to put a boundary down asking them to do the work versus me doing it for them. Seeing space has changed the way I watch my boxers in training, sparring and fights. I can see more when looking into the space. I pick up more nuances and can feel the energy of intent clearer. I am more aware of my surroundings and better able to respond because of being able to see space.
My biggest challenge is to see and feel the space when talking directly to someone or in sparring. It’s so easy to get distracted with a narrow focus and get heady with thoughts and judgments. I will continue to hone this skill so I can share it with my boxers. I want them to understand true range and distance, to feel the space between them and their opponent so they can instinctively respond with the best defense, offense and movement possible.
Man I love geeking out on this sport!