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Issue 411 - The Refresh Button (Valorie Kondos Field Part 2)

Woodens Wisdom
Wooden's Wisdom - Volume 9 Issue 411
Craig Impelman Speaking |  Championship Coaches |  Champion's Leadership Library Login



As the Gymnastics Coach at UCLA from 1991 to 2019, Valorie Kondos Field, often referred to as Miss Val, coached the Bruins to seven National Championships.
Miss Val's book Life Is Short, Don't Wait to Dance is a must read for everybody.
A key part of Miss Val's approach to coaching is that she teaches how to control the situation, not let the situation control you. There are three parts to her process: 1.) Gain an understanding of what your own natural (default) reaction to stress is. 2.) When faced with a difficult situation, rather than just reacting with your default personality, take control and pause. 3.) When you pause, hit the Refresh Button and give yourself the best possible perspective and response. You will gradually improve your default reaction to stress. In her book, Miss Val expands on the topic:
"The important ingredient in honing your default is to hit the proverbial refresh button over and over and over throughout the day. Just like with a computer, when you hit your internal refresh button, it trashes all the mental junk that is getting in your way of moving toward your goal.
Getting rid of the junk, which is usually negativity or things that are out of our control (but that we love to stress about), allows us to see clearly and focus on our personal path that will inch us closer to our goals.
At the very least, you will wind up with clarity as to what doesn't work; then you can hit the refresh button again and try something else. For me, hitting the refresh button brings me clarity of purpose. It illuminates my ultimate goal and allows me to refocus on how to get there, instead of being stuck in the minutia of regret, negativity, or someone else's opinion.
I first thought of the refresh button when I started coaching balance beam and needed to come up with a simple way for the athletes to refocus. Quite often when they made a mistake on beam, they would make many more mistakes through the remainder of the routine because they were focused on the original mishap, an error they could no longer do anything about.
I saw an immediate change when they bought into the refresh button concept. They would literally move on with the rest of their routine like the whole thing had been flawless. The first place this positivity and confidence showed up was in their faces. If their faces were tight, I knew they hadn't embraced their refresh buttons; if they were bright and smiling, I knew they had trashed any frustration and had moved on.
Smiling on balance beam is one of the uncommon things I insist our athletes do because, after all, the beam is their stage. As a bonus, research shows the act of smiling releases dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin, which fight stress, relax the body, lower the heart rate and blood pressure, and act as a natural pain reliever. Just like everything in life, our default starts with our mind."
Do you pause and refresh before responding to stress?

Yours in Coaching,
Craig Impelman




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Application Exercise




Perhaps the victory shall not come to me,
Perhaps I shall not reach the goal I seek,
It may be at the last I shall be weak
And falter as the promised land I see;
Yet I must try for it and strive to be
All that a conqueror is. On to the peak,
Must be my call—this way lies victory!

Boy, take my hand and hear me when I speak.
There is the goal. In honor make the fight.
I may not reach it but, my boy, you can.
Cling to your faith and work with all your might,
Someday the world shall hail you as a man.
And when at last shall come your happy day,
Enough for me that I have shown the way.

Edgar Allen Guest (1881-1959)






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