Adopting a growth mindset

There are many examples of athletes who have improved and achieved success by adopting a growth mindset.

Carol Dweck reminds us that an athlete can be stifled by the pitfalls of a fixed mindset. The mindset of those who think natural talent shouldn’t need effort. Effort is for others, the less gifted. Natural talent doesn’t ask for help. It is an admission of weakness. In short, natural talent does not analyze its deficiencies and does not train or eliminate them.The very idea of deficiencies is terrifying.

Dweck also refers to the time when Billy Jean King, tennis champion, realized that hard work was necessary to supplement her talent if she wanted to reach the top. Despite playing at a very high level against the formidable Margaret Smith, King lost the match, but the defeat taught her the value of hard work. All of a sudden, she understood what a champion was. Someone who can raise their game when necessary. When the game is on the line, suddenly the champion becomes three times stronger.

Concentration and mental toughness are the two keys to success and not an innate personality trait. When eleven players want to knock you down, when you’re tired or injured, when the referees are against you, you can’t let any of that affect your concentration. How do you do that? You have to learn how to do it with special exercises.

Coaches should embrace this approach that highlights the value of a growth mindset in order to allow them to be open to improvement, work hard and learn from failure.

We often say, “Learn from mistakes.” Making mistakes is an integral part of growth. Placing too much emphasis on the importance of results and winning only increases competitive stress and the likelihood of not accepting one’s mistakes.

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