Reframing – Choosing The Meaning You Want To Attach To Something

By Bo Hanson – Director and Lead Consultant

Welcome to another edition of 5 minutes with Bo Hanson, today I thought it might be useful, given that we’re coming towards the end of the year, to take a moment and reflect on some of the experiences we’ve had throughout season 2017.

Recently, we’ve had some valuable experiences with a range of our clients across a number of different sports and also in our travels around Australia delivering two specific programs. Our Australian clients have been requesting that we deliver workshops on two of our programs, Athlete Tough and the Team Culture Toolkit. So in 2017 we did.

In the last two months, we’ve doing a Team Culture workshop, where we’ve been talking about how to develop a more effective team culture and what that actually looks and sounds like. Also, we’ve been delivering the Athlete Tough workshop; many of you are using Athlete Tough as part of your program. Hopefully getting a lot out of it as well.

One of the stories I wanted to tell you a little about, contains the topic of reframing. At one particular workshop we had two players, both former footballers and one of them won the championship with a Coach we look up to, we don’t work with this Coach, but we see them as a mentor and a role model and the other was on a team who lost the championship.

They both described what it was like at the half time break and it was quite interesting because the gap between these two performances is something like seven years apart.

The retired player whose team won the championship, spoke about the fact that when the team came off at half time they had just experienced the worst half of football they’d played the entire season. Their Coach sat them down and they looked up to him listening, waiting for words of wisdom. He simply said, “that’s not the team I’ve Coached all year. Where are you guys? This is not the team that I Coached the entirety of the year. It’s not the identity that you have as a team and unless you find yourselves, I think you’re going to have some issues. So, your job is to find yourselves and to get out there and do something different. So rediscover who you are”.

Now the other team came off in a similar position, down by only a few points and could easily have turned the game around at the halfway point.

They came off and essentially, the Coaches tried to motivate the players, the players were despondent, their body language was poor and in the locker room, it was as if something tragic happened.

The reality is that both these teams were in the same position.

One Coach challenged the team to find themselves and on the other, the Coaching staff suggested the team needed to motivate, reinvigorate and reignite themselves.

The first team went back out there, after having had a discussion led by the leadership group of the team, and ‘took charge of the situation’, according to the retired player who attended our course, they said something like, “look we’ve just played the worst half of football that we’ve played for the entire year and we’re only down by 2 points. How good is that. The other team can’t possibly play any better, so we have a massive upside and this is the grand final. The championship game and we’re only down 2 having played the worst we can play. Things are going to get better and we’re going to do a better job”.

So, they talked about what they needed to change and improve, and they went out there with a renewed sense of invigoration, energy and enthusiasm for being the team that they’d been all year.

They went on to win that game by ten points and won the championship that year, the first time that club had won it for many, many years.

The second team, who competed this year, went out of that locker room in the same negative frame of mind, thinking negatively about the fact that they weren’t in a winning position when they’d been on top of all the opposition teams that year and they didn’t turn that game around. They didn’t just go on to lose the game, but they went on to lose  the championship significantly.

From my perspective that was a great example of what we mean by reframing. Reframing is all about you choosing the meaning you want to attach to something. Not letting someone else or some other circumstance dictate what things mean to you. As athletes and Coaches we’re presented with the opportunity to constantly reframe on a moment-by-moment basis.

There are two types of reframes. One is what we call a content reframe; such as we’re losing at half time what does that mean? It means we’re going to go on and lose the rest of the game. That’s purely content. It’s your choice whether losing at half time equates to losing at full time or you can choose to say, ‘hey we’ve just been taught a really great lesson on how not to play. Let’s learn from it and make some corrections and adjustments’. This is exactly what the first team did; now that’s what we call a content reframe.

The second type of reframe is a context reframe. I always refer to my daughter as part of this example and you’ll have players you can refer to as well. A context reframe is when behavior in one environment or context is really helpful, but in another environment, or context, it’s really unhelpful. It’s really hard for us to get our youngest daughter to eat her vegetables and I hope she watches this video later on in life to know how much grief she put us through, anyway, we’ve got her eating a couple now, but the reality is that you can’t make her do anything. We found that in sport as well, until she decides she wants to do a thing, she won’t do it. What we perceive as stubbornness and an unwillingness to please others is actually a really helpful behavior. As she gets older, and no doubt faces the struggles and challenges that are presented to older people in society, she’ll be able to say no and not feel the need to just go with the peer group.

So, that stubbornness and that lack of willingness to do things for the sake of pleasing someone else is actually a really helpful behavior when you have to make tough choices in life. We often talk about this from a DISC perspective, where you might have someone who’s a high D, they’re very good on the court at giving direction taking authority, taking control and wanting the ball. However, if they take that behavior off the court, it’s not useful in some contexts, for example, when you’re trying to choose a restaurant or where to go for dinner and that decisiveness, that single-mindedness becomes an inability to adapt. That’s what we mean by a context reframe.


Where to from here…

Reframing is one of many topics covered in the Athlete Tough program developed by Bo Hanson. Being ATHLETE TOUGH is defined by the actions you take when your performance matters the most. Bo Hanson’s unique and proven program is designed to ensure your athletes never give up, never quit on their team and never quit on themselves. It will deliver strategies on how to be mentally resilient and provide step-by-step processes to help your athletes become and stay mentally strong. Find out more here.

Looking to catch up?
You can watch all videos in the 5 Minutes with Bo Hanson series.

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