We had a very exciting start to the last week of term when Alex Danson came to talk to the whole school in Monday Assembly following her success with the GB Hockey Team during the Olympic Games in Rio 2016. As someone who, not so very long ago, sat in the Farnborough Hill Assembly Hall, Alex had some messages which our girls could truly relate to.
Her first message was about the importance of having humility combined with an inner confidence. She didn't feel she had much inner confidence when at school but she felt she had developed this during her training for the Olympic Games and this was a key element of her success.
She then asked ‘What makes the difference?’
In London 2012 the GB Hockey Team did really well and achieved a bronze medal but at the point when they failed to get into the semi-final, they were devastated. At the World Championships in 2014, they came 11th. Again they were disappointed and devastated. Alex was ready to consider giving up.
But she didn’t give up and the team then benefited from the wise words of a newly appointed sports psychologist. She told them that to win a gold medal in Rio was not enough. Alex didn’t really understand this at first. This was all about having goals which pervaded your whole life and made every day worthwhile and represented more than just winning. The team thought long and hard and came up with 3 key targets:
- Be the difference
- Create History
- Inspire the Future
Aiming for these targets helped them to win in Rio.
Alex also talked about the importance of not losing focus. She described the Olympic Village in Rio and some of its amazing facilities which she could have found very distracting. However, she explained that the Hockey Team avoided all such distractions in order to maintain their focus. Even when celebrating their win in the semi-final against New Zealand, they quickly calmed down, looked each other in the eye and repeated to themselves ‘One more game…’.
Alex showed us her gold medal of which she is justly proud and it is a beautiful thing. She urged all the girls to think about their strengths and to talk to a friend that very day and to describe one strength and one thing they would like to achieve. She urged everyone to have thoughts which turn into actions which turn into success.
We are very grateful to Alex for finding time in her busy schedule to visit us and to speak so inspirationally to the whole school.