The Reset Plague came rushing back to me when I was doing a shooting drill with my middle school son a short time ago. The drill in question: make five 3’s from each of the five angles in less than 2min 30 sec. He had been shooting the ball fairly well during his workout and was feeling fairly confident he would complete the drill with time remaining. After his first 5 shots didn’t fall, I saw him glance at the large digital timer with frustration--only a little over 2 minutes left and he hadn’t made a shot. He caught the next pass, put the ball under his arm and sighed, “I think we should just start over.” He wanted to just hit the reset button and pretend this poor start didn’t happen. I shared wholehearted disagreement...kind of nicely...mostly.
Flashback to 1995.
I was a rookie assistant football coach when I first had my Reset Plague epiphany. As a coaching staff, we were hanging out in a gym while the team was busy getting their gear on, and we happen to run into the opposing coach. He was chronicling his team’s inability to play through adversity; they just want things to be easy.
He explained, “Man, it’s frustrating. When things go well, we are fine, but when things go wrong, we just can’t seem to push through.”
We were actually struggling with the same issue at times with our players. It was right then when it hit me (insert Mario power-up sound effect).
“I think it’s Nintendo’s fault…. Seriously.”
The other coaches glanced at me, the rookie coach, somewhat confused but also mildly intrigued. A lot of kids were regularly playing video games, but I don’t they were quite sure of the connection, so I continued.
“It’s the reset button. I think they are just so used to it. When things don’t go well, they just press that. No consequences. They just get a do-over.” It was pretty true: if Bo Jackson didn’t score on the first drive in Tecmo Super Bowl: Reset! (It actually was a decent plan if you wanted Mr. Jackson to lead the league in scoring.)
The opposing coach looked at me and said, “You know what? I think you actually might be on to something. It’s sad, but I think you’re right.”
So what do you do when your players would rather “hit the reset button” instead of persevering through adversity? What do you do when YOU want to “hit the reset button’?
For starters, here are 3 ways to battle the Reset Plague:
1. Keep a Growth Mindset
There is value in any struggle. Reminding yourself to look for the opportunity in every tough situation is key. For example, in my son’s case, there was great value in trying to perform well after things didn’t go his way. That will happen in games. That will happen in life. Things will suck. Things will be tough. But craving those situations so you can learn and grow will help you achieve your dreams.
2. Play Present
Focus on the task at hand. One problem people face is living in the past or living in the future. We often get hung up on what has happened during the last game, the last play, or the last rep. We also tend to live in fear regarding the future...you may also call this worrying. Some examples of residing in the future include thinking things like “what if I don’t make this shot,” or “if I don’t complete this drill, I will be a failure.” Neither the past or future matter all that much. It is what is happening right now that matters. In my son’s case, he needed to focus on the next rep and let the results take care of themselves.
One of the best things I learned while getting my school counseling certification was how to breathe. This may seem silly, but it is amazing what slowing your motor down will do for you. Square Breathing was a technique I learned from an elementary counselor, but applies to people of all ages. When you start to feel overwhelmed, stressed, angry (or insert another undesired feeling), just square-breathe. Put your finger in front of you and trace a square. You will spend four seconds on each side of the square:
- 4 seconds inhale
- 4 seconds hold
- 4 seconds exhale
- 4 seconds relax
My biggest piece of advice is to avoid pressing that darn reset button. Once you do, it is easy to press it over and over and over again. Bo Jackson might lead the league, but you missed out on a great deal of growth.