sport news Bristol Bears director of rugby Pat Lam urges stars to ditch social media and ... trends now

sport news Bristol Bears director of rugby Pat Lam urges stars to ditch social media and ... trends now
sport news Bristol Bears director of rugby Pat Lam urges stars to ditch social media and ... trends now

sport news Bristol Bears director of rugby Pat Lam urges stars to ditch social media and ... trends now

'Now close your eyes,' says Pat Lam. We are hand-to-hand across the table, as if holding a high-five in place. The aim is to try to remain in contact when he suddenly moves his hand.

Bristol's director of rugby is demonstrating an exercise he does with his players. The purpose is to make them pay full attention, by not being able to see, so there are limited outside distractions. 'Easy,' he says, when it duly works.

'See what happened there? When your eyes are open, there are so many distractions. The moment you close your eyes, you can really focus on what you need to do. I say to the guys, 'Close your eyes and think of the first person that comes into your head; the person who loves and believes in you. Tell me how you feel when you think of that person'.

'They started doing that and I said, 'Now, capture that in one word'. The words they came up with were 'strong', 'powerful', 'loved', 'happy', 'grateful', 'blessed'. All these words came out and I read them out. It felt good, hearing those words.'

Here is the current relevance of the exercise. 'I said to the players, 'This is what life is about — when you focus on social media and what other people are saying, you can't do what you want to do. Just focus on the people who love you and believe in you'.'

Bristol’s director of rugby Pat Lam showed off a hand-in-hand exercise he does with his players

Bristol's director of rugby Pat Lam showed off a hand-in-hand exercise he does with his players

His message resonates, this week in particular. Owen Farrell has stepped back from England duty to protect his and his family's mental well-being and it has sent shockwaves around the rugby community. It has created a sudden awareness of the scrutiny and pressure players face. The same applies to coaches and directors of rugby, like Lam.

His Bears face Gloucester at Ashton Gate on Saturday, hoping to halt a five-match losing streak in the Premiership, which has left them eighth. Bristol's impressive financial backing creates expectation, but Lam copes with being at the sharp end of it. The former Samoa star has long since learned to listen to those who matter, and ignore everything else.

Asked who he thinks of during the focus exercise, his reply is emphatic. 'One hundred per cent my wife,' he says. 'And the word that comes to mind is 'loved'.

'Steph and I met when I was 17 and

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