Build Trust

Many of my friends showed me the video of Katelyn Ohasi’s triumphant and joyful gymnastic performance. You probably saw it as well. It was compelling.

In an LA Times article on the gymnast a very important coaching nugget shines through.

Her coach at UCLA, Valeries Kondos Field, realized the gymnast was rejecting the pursuit of greatness.  The coach attributed this to her earlier experiences and faced a hard choice in solving it: Should she push Ohasi to excel, or work to build trust over time in order to help her?

She chose trust.

When Kondos Field learned of Ohashi’s aversion to greatness as a freshman, she had to choose — remind Ohashi of her obligations as a scholarship athlete, or earn her trust. She chose the latter, and in the spring met with Ohashi regularly for coffee and meals but never brought up gymnastics. As the two grew closer, Ohashi’s perspective gradually changed.

“I was so used to there being ulterior motives, that it felt like I couldn’t trust people that easily,” Ohashi said. “So it was a lot of rewiring my brain that excellence isn’t meant to feel like the way it did before. Greatness isn’t supposed to remind you of abuse. Greatness is completely internal, and I was relating it to external stuff.”

Read the article here.