The Calm Before the Storm

By Xeni Barakos, Head Coach, East Stroudsburg University  @esulacrosse

In just a few days we kick off “spring season 2018,” and I use the quotation marks because it sure as heck doesn’t feel like spring around here right now. The is one of many shockers that surprise people – when they realize lacrosse is literally life, and the spring season begins in January. Well it’s pretty much here, and as coaches we are probably in doomsday prep mode for the return of the crazy. When the clock strikes, we will again be consumed by our team, the season and all that it entails. Questions like “will Krossover break down our film within 24 hours?” “Does that storm over the western half of the country look like it may hit us in 7-10 days and bring 60 inches of snow?” “Will we have to use the re-warming period at practice this week?” And lastly, “will I ever sleep again?”

                  Photo courtesy of ESU Athletics.

Every year it’s the same questions and anxieties, but to be honest, despite how unpleasant some these may sound I can’t wait for the storm to start. Campus is pretty lonely without the student-athletes and I’ve caught up on all the Netflix series people have been talking about.

I am heading into my third season as the head coach at my alma mater, East Stroudsburg University. A lot has happened in those two seasons. Not all good and not all bad, but somewhat emotional on all levels. So before the storm hits, I want to remind everyone to enjoy the calm before the storm, and to EMBRACE the storm when it hits. Too often we get caught up in the destination and we forget to enjoy the ride.

Here are a few of my personal vows I have taken before the season starts:

  1. Be present
  2. Don’t sweat the small stuff
  3. Stick to my guns
  4. Enjoy the small victories
  5. Prepare

When we are in the eye of the storm it is easy to get caught up in what’s happening around us and to let it affect us in the moment or moving forward. I think surrounding yourself with good people in your daily life and in your inner circle can help you find the good that is in whatever challenge you are up against. Your positive support system around you can help you stay present and keep things in perspective. I want to remember to take each day one step or game at a time. To trust the process and to always remember there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

It is also important for me this season that when I do finally enter the door to my house to be present and to simply enjoy my time with my family. When challenges arise I also want to make sure I stick to my guns. I have found my first thought is normally the best solution or answer and that lingering/over analyzing usually leads to a decision that in the end I’m uncomfortable with. I am also going to enjoy the small victories. My team will tell you NOTHING gets me more hyped than an awesome double team. The words “I LOVE THAT DOUBLE, THATS A GREAT DOUBLE” is surely written in a book of my coaching quotes somewhere.

I want to enjoy every step forward a player takes in growing her game, I want to enjoy every goal and every goalkeeper save. Most of all, in those small victories, I want to appreciate the work that went into them.

Lastly, I want to prepare. As I sit here anxiously awaiting the arrival of my team back to campus, I will prepare for the weeks of practice ahead; outline the week by week plan with hopes of laying the foundation to a great season ahead. I want to be the best version of myself for my family, my friends, and my team and I want the same for you! So, as we all brace ourselves for the storm of 2018, I wish you all the strength to push through the bad days and the ability to enjoy the good ones.

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