Under Pressure

posted Mar 7, 2010, 3:04 PM by ash ‎(evermindful)‎   [ updated Mar 7, 2010, 4:00 PM ]
For many years now I have been giving my son personal cricket coaching. In addition to his 3hr training session with the rest of his team, I take him out to the cricket nets each week for another 3 hrs over 2 days.

For the first few years of coaching my son I noted that I was teaching him technical skills. With respect to batting I taught him about balance, momentum, timing, placement, feet movement, position, pitch, stillness of the head, getting behind the ball & adjustment. However, over the last two years he has struggled with confidence issues and social issues with some members of the team and the coach.

For the last year I have noted that my coaching has changed. I am no longer coaching him the technical elements of cricket, I am coaching him on the Dhamma. Understanding the Dhamma can only be achieved by making connections to practical applications in one’s own life. Cricket has become the instrument where we explore and understand the nature of phenomena together.

Coaching a teenage son can be very difficult. Often I feel like a medical practitioner that conducts treatment on his mind. The operation is difficult, the areas are very sensitive and there are a lot of emotions at play.  In our coaching sessions I have seen him untroubled, happy, completely dejected and at times enraged. I have seen him compassionate, generous and at other times ill willed and full of greed for equanimity. However, to see my son let go, drift freely and be without stress is the greatest reward. Together we explore why things happen, why it hurts so much, why we should continue to try our best and what he/we can do to stop the pain.

With cricket as an instrument he is developing critical life skills. He is learning right view as we explore each event in context to the Dhamma. He is learning right effort with the development of self-discipline, honesty and kindness to himself. He is learning right concentration with the development of staying in the moment and not straying into the past or the future. He is learning right mindfulness as we review events as they are; no more, no less. He is learning right action as he subdues his ill-willed aggression. He is learning right speech as refrains from stating things that are unfactual, untruthful, unbeneficial, undeceitful and unhurtful. He is learning right intention as he accepts each moment and then transforms ill-will to compassion and greed into generosity.

My teenage son is enormously gifted and more talented than I will ever be. We both know that our coaching sessions in the cricket nets only offer short term treatment. Long term treatment is a solo journey. The best I can do is equip him with the framework, cultivate the right home environment and foster the development skills. Some day there won’t be any more cricket coaching sessions, he will be all alone under pressure.

To my son, May you always be free of anger, hatred, fear and suffering. May you be well and happy.