12 January 2009

Meditation and sport

Lawrence Eyre—Training Without Strain

Lawrence Eyre, the award winning coach of the Pioneers tennis team, was among the founding faculty of Maharishi School of the Age of Enlightenment Upper School in 1981, and has served as the chairman of the school’s Social Studies department since 1995.

He has been teaching tennis since he graduated from high school in 1966 and has taught more than 15,000 people in city parks, YMCA programs, private clubs, schools, and summer camps around the country. Many of his students went on to play college tennis, and some followed in their teacher’s footsteps to work as tennis teaching professionals themselves.

Mr. Eyre started the Pioneers team in 1988 and since then has led them to the Final Four in the Iowa team tourney 11 times. In his twenty-one seasons, his players have earned 16 state championships. Thanks to Mr. Eyre, Maharishi School’s tennis program ranks as one of the most consistent and respected in Iowa.

“Our motto is ‘Train without strain,’ ” says coach Eyre. “We invest in rest to create success.” Mr. Eyre attributes his players’ achievements to their group practice of the Transcendental Meditation® technique, which creates a foundation for their dynamic activity and gives them a competitive edge. “Our athletes play in the ‘zone’ because they live there."

In 1999 and 2000, under Mr. Eyre’s guidance, the Maharishi School boys’ team achieved the unprecedented: they captured consecutive “triple crowns” by winning the singles, doubles and team tennis titles at the Iowa I-A state championships.

Tennis isn’t Mr. Eyre’s only specialty. While attending Yale University, he was tapped for the Whiffenpoofs, Yale's 100-year-old singing group. “Our recordings, tours, reunion concerts and ongoing friendships over the years have been richly fulfilling,” he says.

Mr. Eyre has been featured in Sports Illustrated's “Faces in the Crowd” section and in Tennis magazine. His numerous awards include the 2000 Iowa Tennis Association Coach of the Year award and the 2007 Central Sectional Coach of the Year award from the National Federation of State High School Associations.

Last week, Mr. Eyre received another honor: The United States Professional Tennis Association, the world's oldest and largest association of tennis-teaching professionals, named him the 2008 Missouri Valley Coach of the Year.

One of Mr. Eyre’s former star players, Tyler Cleveland, became a tennis sensation at the University of Iowa, where he was the number one player and became a three-time state singles champion. “Lawrence Eyre is one of the best high-shcool coaches in the country,” he says. “He really helped me develop my game.”

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