A week ago I gave Coach Stone a call to see if I could peek in at a training session. I was hopeful of catching the team out on the turf to get some pictures of the 2017 version of Leopards Field Hockey. As luck would have it, it was near mid-terms and semester break, and that particular mid week practice was of the indoor variety. Thinking I already had a number of pictures of the team running around the track or lifting weights, I decided to pass, but part of the return email was intriguing. “We’ve decided that we would do a yoga session,” wrote Coach Stone. So I immediately decided to do some research on the subject of Yoga and Sports Training.
I found in my own health club, yoga has become a mainstay. Yoga instructors tout its benefits. ” Unlike other forms of training, yoga has many layers of benefits for the athletes,” opined one instructor. ” It can increase mental concentration and improve flexibility, and balance, as well as prevent common injuries, and hone skills common in many sports.”
First practiced in India ( a well known field hockey playing country), Yoga use poses, or asanas to prepare the body, much the same way any athlete would prepare for a sports competition. The benefits are available for elite athletes or weekend warriors like me. After pushing the body to the max, resulting in weakness and injury, yoga can help the body to strengthen and restore overtaxed muscles. It elongates tight,shortened and fatigued muscles, while bringing calmness and clarity to the mind. Just the trick right before mid-term exams.
Yoga can act as a biofeedback tool, that can aid athletes to develop better body awareness helping the athlete avoid stress related injuries. Many competitions result in a tremendous pounding, and shortening of the muscles. Tight muscles can be brittle and hard, writes Rebecca Browning a famous triathlete. The athlete needs to enhance elasticity of those muscles. Tightening of muscles makes the athlete work harder decreasing competitive effectiveness.
Coach Stone writes, ” we have been integrating yoga in our general fitness program recently, with good success.” Never a ‘stone’ unturned to get victory in the fall!!
Training continues with the players getting ready for that first competition on the field with spring games on March 26 against Temple, Lehigh and Cornell.
Meanwhile we are planning a special “event” that will bring into competition, decades of alumni and benefiting our field hockey program. Keep in touch….which decade will prevail?? Or maybe it will even be our current and alumni parents??