I recently had the pleasure of being introduced to Pickle Ball. At first, it was an amicable volley exchange. However, it did not take long before our competitive nature took over. All it took was one power slam from our opponent and it was game on. I had my share of slams, but I noticed that my team was not winning ( although there may have been a little suspect scorekeeping, which was kept by the son of my opponent). However, I took a moment during the match and decided to not try so hard, to let the game come to me, to play within myself – too much coach speak? It may sound like a coach speech, but it is true. The minute I stopped trying so hard and let the game flow to me, we won without much effort. The tenser I became, the more my opponent scored, which would spark a tinge of anger. So, the momentum was going in the wrong direction. When I relaxed into the moment, everything fell into place. I could see the ball better. I could place the ball better. I began to trust my partner in hitting the ball. When I was trying too hard I tried to hit every single ball over. I began to look like Mean Jean the Recess Queen, essentially a huge bossy ball hog! How embarrassing!
This same idea can be transferred to the classroom. The more you try too hard to get everyone to follow you or be on the same page, the more you are met with resistance. Maybe try to ease into the demands of the classroom. Invite the students into the conversation a little more regarding the direction of the lesson. Ease up a bit. Relax into the lesson and let the lesson flow. You have the lesson plan, trust your training and let the plan unfold. Pay attention to the feel of your body. Are you tense? Some great ways to release the tension are to take some deep breaths, laugh, and move around. There’s no pressure to have the perfect lesson. Just be yourself and don’t try so hard. You are enough!