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Issue 410 - The Pause Button (Valorie Kondos Field Part 1)

Woodens Wisdom
Wooden's Wisdom - Volume 9 Issue 410
Craig Impelman Speaking |  Championship Coaches |  Champion's Leadership Library Login



Valorie Kondos Field, often referred to as Miss Val, was the Gymnastics Coach at UCLA from 1991 to 2019. Miss Val was the four-time National Coach of the Year, coached the Bruins to seven NCAA National Championships,19 Pac-12 Conference Championships, 24 Six on the Floor National Championship appearances and was named the Pac 12 Gymnastics Coach of the Century.
I don't know of any coach who had a closer mentoring and personal relationship with Coach Wooden from 1998 to his passing in 2010 than Miss Val. Coach attended every home UCLA women's gymnastics meet. Mis Val really "got Coach" in that although she embraced and utilized many of his philosophies, she followed Coach's most importance advice "Be True to Yourself". Her exuberance, initiative, show stopping personality and creativity took UCLA Gymnastics from an attendance base of 4000 fans to 10,000+ fans her last season.
Miss Val's book Life Is Short, Don't Wait to Dance is a must read for everybody. Along with Coach Wooden's A Lifetime of Observations and Reflections On and Off the Court, it is one of two books I would most highly recommend. Miss Val's life advice is so excellent and usable to me, she is the Dale Carnegie of 2019.
In her ongoing approach of constant learning and "coaching the person first and the athlete second" one of the important lessons she expands on in her book is the value of responding not reacting to stressful or uncomfortable situations. Miss Val starts with this quote from Victor Frankl and goes from there:
""Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In the space there is the power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom."
The difference between being conscious of our thoughts and being unconscious is the difference between responding and reacting. It's a pause. It's a breath. It's being mindful of our thoughts, which leads to a considered and intentional response. When we react, we don't slow down to analyze and make a choice. It's reflexive and dips into our fears, biases, and current emotions. Reacting can be an innate part of our personality or it can be learned. Reacting doesn't necessarily mean you're taking the wrong action, but you're not owning the choice. I find when I respond I have far less regret than when I simply react to something.
Understanding your personality is not about giving you an excuse for how you behave because it is just your nature, but rather it gives you the power to choose and put yourself in successful situations.
When we pause to review our possible responses, we not only have a better chance of not regretting our reactive decisions, but we also give ourselves a small time-out, a small breath, an exhale, a mini moment of meditation and mindfulness.""
When you are faced with a difficult conversation, person or situation do you pause reflectively and respond or just react and regret it later?

Yours in Coaching,
Craig Impelman




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Application Exercise




The easy roads are crowded
And the level roads are jammed;
The pleasant little rivers
With the drifting folks are crammed.
But off yonder where it's rocky,
Where you get a better view,
You will find the ranks are thinning
And the travelers are few.

Where the going's smooth and pleasant
You will always find the throng,
For the many, more's the pity,
Seem to like to drift along.
But the steeps that call for courage,
And the task that's hard to do
In the end result in glory
For the never-wavering few.

Edgar Allen Guest (1881-1959)






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