Listen To Your (Brain)

As I’ve said in previous posts, I’m up for the task of experiencing every ounce of emotion that comes along with this injury.

So far I have felt things that I have never felt before, and for that, it has been difficult. Every time a new emotion arises, I have to figure out what it is and how to handle it.

Recently I’ve been struggling with the idea that my body isn’t listening to my brain. When I tell my quad to fire, it doesn’t. When I tell my knee to bend, it doesn’t. And when I tell my ACL to repair itself it just usually laughs at me.

It’s frustrating to say the least.

Usually when my brain tells my body to do something it listens. Like jump or run or nutmeg that player.

My left leg has become a rebellious teenager.

Luckily, I’ve figured out how to deal with it emotionally. I went back into coaching.

When I first came home and started thinking about how I was going    to get through this process, the first thing I said to myself was that I was not going    to coach. It was too much for me to handle and being near the field would just make things harder.

One night, I decided I had to see how the players were doing and their progress over the past few months I missed being in preseason.

To my surprise, I felt better.

You see, I was able to tell someone to do something, and they did it. I got the same feeling from from a different action.

“Track back” “Get stuck in” “Open up” “Play the way you’re facing”

All things I can’t do right now. All things my brain wants to tell my body to do. All things I’m physically not capable of doing right now… but they are.

So for now, I’ve found a temporary solution. Someone is listening to my brain, even if it’s not me.

I’ve also had to improve my communication skills tremendously being back on the field coaching. As a player/coach, it’s very easy to demonstrate things I want players to do. Obviously, not being to able to show someone how to do something means you have to be perfect in explaining yourself.

Analyzing my thoughts. Then talking through them. Seeing what works for players and what doesn’t. It’s been a learning process for them and for me.

Over the weekend, the U16 team I coach won the State Cup and it felt like I won the State Cup right along with them. They did everything the coaches asked of them. And that was an incredibly gratifying feeling.

The good thing for me is I still would rather be out on the field playing than on the sideline coaching. That means I’m still motivated to come back. I’m just thankful I’ve found an avenue to get me through this process until my body wants to listen to my brain again.

Until then, I’ve realized how important it is for young players to be coachable and receptive to the things coaches tell them. Not just for their sake, but for the coach’s sake too.  Coachable players make coaching enjoyable. It has also been the most motivating part of my recovery process so far.

(AND ICE) I basically live for ice.

One day it will be the ability to walk normal. Then run. Then kick a ball. Then a full training session. And then play a game.

For now, I just need players that want to get better. So my brain can continue to demand a high standard with someone living up to that standard.

Baby steps. Until I can play again.

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