Fusion Lax Using Emotional Intelligence

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By Lyndsey Boswell, Fusion Girls Lacrosse Director

Emotional Intelligence is our ability to identify what we are feeling, why we are feeling it, how our feelings affect our physical performance and of those around us.  The ability to actively change emotions during competition presents a significant competitive advantage. We have a Fusion coaching staff that has benefited greatly from investing time in learning about Emotional Intelligence and using this language in our daily practice.

When I say daily practice, I am referring to lacrosse, but more importantly, life. I have learned through my own experiences with Emotional Intelligence, that instead of teaching drills, and extending practice for conceptual x’s and o’s, to rather spend that time training the mind, and using an EQ language that puts our players’ minds (thoughts and emotions) to a place where they are making great decisions on the field.

As coaches, we often attempt to motivate players by talking about wins and losses before and during game time. Most of our players are physically capable of doing what is asked of them, but then why when it comes to game-time, don’t they perform the way we, as their coaches, know they can? I have found that we try to use an old-school way to try to motivate players with statistics, and playing time, and it often does not work.

This past fall our Elite team chose to no longer focus on outcomes, but rather we set an expectation every game to be at our best. We set a high standard of being mindful. Instead of talking about the end result that dilutes our messages, we use very specific micro and macro focuses, to anticipate, and stay in the moment. They also took advantage of learning some breathing techniques to calm their mind and make good decisions under pressure.

We now have a framework, and a language. My team knows how to set goals based on our emotional state, and using mindfulness techniques of being fully present, to stay in their zone.  When our team is emotionally present, we make great decisions, and we have fun. It’s the daily practice for life — not just lacrosse. While X’s & O’s are a huge part of our daily practice, about half of what we do is emotional and mental work to increase our ability to be at our best – not just on the field, but in life!

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