Dr. Joan’s Sports Psych Talk: The power of the Luna Chix Summit
Dr. Joan’s Sports Psych Talk-
The power and energy of hundreds of female athletes coming together is amazing. This was the scene of the first night of the Luna Chix Summit. Although based in Mill Valley at the newly (if not unlikely) named Larkspur Hotel and the Luna Chix Pro Team headquarters in Sausalito, this particular event took place at parent company, Clif Bar in Berkeley.
On Friday, these women gathered together, all athletes at different levels. Their commitment is to a common cause, the camaraderie of sports. Both the Luna Chix Pro Team and the Luna Chix Ambassadors mingled, exchanged jokes, and talked about the meaning of sports in their lives. The Luna Chix Ambassadors who came from around the United States not only compete on an amateur level but also raise funds for the Breast Cancer Fund. The Breast Cancer Fund, based in San Francisco, raises funds for public information and advocacy programs interpreting research connecting breast cancer and environmental exposures. Since Luna’s founding in 1999, they have donated over $330,000 to the Breast Cancer Fund.
My role in the Luna Chix Summit was sports and organizational psychologist. I trained the Luna Chix Ambassador Leaders’ on motivation and delegation of groups. These powerful women were in their 20’s, 30’s, and 40’s. They were all either runners, cyclists or triathletes, mimicking the makeup of the Pro team. The Luna Chix Ambassador groups traveled from around the country, including such cities as Chicago, New York City, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Orlando, Dallas, San Diego, and Bay Area North to name a few.
Upon opening the session, I asked the group what they wanted to gain from the experience and to share something interesting about themselves. One physician, Stephanie from Wisconsin, shared that she’d dropped 200 babies but never delivered one. It turned out Stephanie is a general practice physician with a specialty in OB and a cyclist. At least 1/5th of the women admitted they have problems with being over controlling. Another triathlete, MJ, spoke about her impatience and tendency to do everything herself.
In terms of motivation, we discussed such approaches as setting goals and objectives with periodic rewards along the way, either behavioral or verbal. These rewards might be sports or other-related.
Sarah, a young 30-something runner, spoke about her staff of 27 that she managed at work with whom she used verbal praise frequently. With delegation, I emphasized the importance of empowering the women by allowing them to take responsibility for different tasks. This approach builds an inclusive atmosphere within any group. The team leaders need to follow up with team members to a greater or lesser extent. Laura, a cyclist, described her style with groups as approaching new ideas as opportunities for a team member to execute and follow through with implementing the idea. The follow up depends upon each athlete’s style. These women expressed humor, humility, strength, honesty, and creativity in their exchange of ideas throughout the afternoon.
In the following two days of the Luna Chix Summit, the team ambassadors took team specific workshops Saturday on biking, running, swimming, injury resistance, and nutrition. In fact, an example of one session was led by an old running acquaintance of mine, Chris Chorak, who conducted a session on “Healthy Training Tips for Runners.” Chris is a Marin resident who is the founder of Presidio Sport & Medicine, an accomplished triathlete, and a warm, friendly person besides. Saturday night, everyone had the chance to be girls, go shopping and have a party at the Luna Chix Pro Team headquarters in Sausalito at the ICB building. On Sunday, the weather played interference with all the athletic workouts planned for road and mountain cycling, swimming, and running. Marin’s own Luna Chix Pro triathlete, Tyler Stewart helped the girls get ready for the swim in our chilly waters but go they did.
The power of the Luna Chix Summit is the sports and camaraderie the women share. They learn. They participate. They share a common love in the power sports and collaborative competition has to offer women.
Dr. Joan Steidinger is a sports and clinical psychologist with offices in Mill Valley and San Francisco. She has been practicing sports psychology with clients ranging from recreational to pro athletes for the past 17 years.
As an athlete herself, she has been a competitive ultrarunner, Ride & Tie competitor, and ultradistance cyclist.