Family pulls Zak Jones home, but Brett Kirk’s meditative influence remains

“I am the fun uncle I guess, although not sure how much fun to be honest. I am just trying to be involved in their lives a bit more.

“They were all born while I was in Sydney. I didn’t get to see them much throughout the season. Just seeing them briefly they don’t really know who you are so it’s kind of at the point where you want to be involved with family more.

“They don’t really understand what Nathan and I do. And that’s probably a good thing. You’re just a normal person to them, even if you’re on television nothing changes. I am just their uncle and nothing changes.”

Jones was drafted to Sydney with pick No.15 in 2013. His first housemate in Sydney was Tim Membrey (now at the Saints), while Ben McGlynn (Saints asistant and former Swans player) is another familiar face for him at Moorabbin. He also knows Jarryd Roughead, who has just begun as a development coach with the Saints, because the former Hawthorn star is close with his brother Nathan.

Jones is currently easing into pre-season with just running and will start more skills and contact after Christmas. He had knee surgery in 2019 and has had a few injury hiccups in recent campaigns so is taking things slow ahead of 2020.

The quick and tough 24-year-old midfielder loved his time at the Swans and said leaving was “emotional”. After six years, however, he felt he had given them solid service. One person he will miss is current Swans assistant and former captain Brett Kirk. It was Kirk who introduced him to meditation last year.

“I just have to get better at staying in the game. You can lose focus throughout games and worry about other things, worrying about things that are out of your control,” Jones said.

Jones in action during pre-season training last month.Credit:Getty Images

“When Brett first came to me with the idea I was like ‘look, I don’t think I am interested in it’.

“Most players when they’re playing their best footy are present in the moment and are playing off instinct.

“I started meditating in the 2019 pre-season because I kept getting injured and there was this cycle of me not enjoying footy, then getting stressed about footy and then getting injured and thinking ‘what am I doing?’

“I started very slow, but then it became before every game to clear my head and try not play out the game before it began.

“For me it was enjoying this for what it is. There’s going to be highs and lows and if you’re worrying about what’s going to happen you’re not enjoying it.

“I am trying to work on it. I am not great at it and I still have times where I don’t meditate and I find myself falling in the trap but it’s important if you catch yourself at those times, that’s when it can help.”

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