Going to the USOC on Tuesday was a tremendous experience. The training centres, history, and highlight video were all great, but my favourite part was obviously going through the ice breaker and team building exercises with Peter Haberl. Although the activities Peter put us through were new for him (he called us his ‘guinea pigs’) they were a lot of fun and we all learned a lot from how he processed them.
Even more meaningful than the activities was the Q and A afterward. One thing that stuck with me is when Peter was saying that he is not a robot. What he meant is, although we as consultants are supposed to be objective, his emotions and ego do surface when his athletes are competing. He’s happy when they win, and sad when they lose. When his athletes do well, a little part of him thinks it’s because of the work he has done with them. When do not do well, he reflects back and thinks about what he could have done differently, or if he could have worked harder with them. This was a tremendously refreshing dose of humanism. Knowing that one of the best sport psychologists in the country still struggles with his emotion and ego, and he’s ok with that, is extremely reassuring. This brought us back to the theme of self-awareness, which seems to have gotten more and more important as the year has gone on.
For the last part of the session, Peter had us process the experience in our own 4-5 person groups. For whatever reason, Peter sat with our group for the last 10-15 minutes. This time is probably going to be what I take most from our trip. Peter answered our questions, provided invaluable insight, and was genuinely interested in how we experienced the session, as well as our education in general. It was a great experience and I will a better student, coach, and consultant because of it.