Primed and ready for action?

September 19, 2012 Post Comment Uncategorised

This week welcomed in my first after school cricket club of the new academic year. It was great to see the familiar and the new faces as they got stuck into a couple of different indoor games to start off our term’s activities.
One repeated episode rather caught my eye and it was this. One of the lads, a very good fielder, was involved a number of times in picking up the ball and endeavouring to run out one of the batsmen. Every time he did so, the muscles around his jaw tightened – almost as if facially he was trying to augment the speed and power of his throw. He usually has a very soft and open expression, so the change was really noticeable – focussed, as it was, particularly around the mouth.
It’s a very common trait for any of us when throwing a ball far or fast, for instance, to set ourselves up physically by holding our breath and tensing certain areas of the body.
Its the same sort of posturing we engender when endeavouring to “try harder” or “really try this time” or “focus and concentrate even more.”
It also happens when we’re really annoyed with something or someone, so we might tense up, clench a fist, narrow our eyes, and interrupt our breathing – endeavouring to (a) focus exactly where we might hit them or, more to the point, (b) send them, and ourselves, a message to “watch out because we are primed ready for action.”

So – are we really primed ready for action?
There’s a well known quote by Bruce Lee,
“The less tension and effort, the faster and more powerful you will be.”
This doesn’t apply only in the martial arts, but pretty much right across the entire sporting spectrum, and also out into our everyday lives.

I pointed this out to the lad who had struck this particularly tense and effortful pose as he prepared to throw. In releasing tension, suppleness and elasticity would return to his muscles and joints; his breathing cycle would return to normal; the quality of the visual focus of his aim would improve and other mental faculties would not suffer as a result of the depletion of oxygen to the brain when the breath was being held.
To be fair, for him to throw ‘to the max’ the only area he would really need to hold as grounded and stable would be a wide, firm base from pelvis through to his feet. Throwing off balance does not achieve the same results as when we are grounded.

So the lesson for throwing – and life – is rather akin to the one I wrote about on this blog back in March of this year. In that article called “Brace or Embrace”, I talked about how we can either brace ourselves, steel ourselves for something that’s about to happen – or embrace it, allow ourselves to get familiar with the conditions, become more capable through adaptability.
Bracing requires effort, a tensing – whereas when we embrace something, or someone, we draw it or them to us and allow ourselves to be moulded so becoming more at one with that subject.

So it is, as always, your choice.
If you want to throw well and accurately in life, always hitting the mark – then let go of the tension, especially around your mouth! Breathe and relax – and be supple, elastic and well grounded. Do all this, let go of all of that posturing and then you’ll send out just one clear message – “I am primed and ready for action.”

Unless of course the only thing you really want to throw is a tantrum.