When I first started coaching at UCLA, I was asked to coach balance beam along with choreographing floor routines. I had no idea what I was doing. I quickly realized that a huge part of success on beam was the athlete’s mental game. When everything was going well, there was no need to make adjustments. However, when things started going awry, I could see the athlete get nervous, which quickly turned into wobbles and falls—it was time to adjust. I also noticed that if the athlete wobbled on a skill she then tried “extra” hard on the next skill, which didn’t produce the desired results either.
It was early in my coaching career that I came up with the analogy of hitting the proverbial refresh button. On our computers the purpose of the refresh button is to wipeout what’s being displayed and to reload it with fresh content. We sometimes do this because our browser gets stuck on bad bits of code.
In gymnastics, I coach our athletes to continuously hit the refresh button. It has the same affect on their mental game as it does on a computer. It allows them to discard any junk in their brains that is keeping them from performing their best and gets them refocused on the important stuff… their cues.
Like all things in athletics, the process mimics what we do outside the gym. In life, when I’m feeling stuck, frustrated, or baffled I hit the refresh button. It allows me to get “out of my way” and see the situation clearly.
One example that comes to mind, because it happens all the time every day, is when I’m working with someone or having a discussion about something and the other person doesn’t get what I’m saying. My immediate reaction is to get frustrated and pissy. However, if I take the time to hit the refresh button I’m able to see the disconnect much more clearly and can adjust my life cues appropriately. This usually takes on the form of me listening more, a calmer discussion and at least an outcome of agreeing to disagree versus the exasperated alternative.
In your daily life, how could you benefit from a refresh button push?