WELLNESSBY KEISHA ALLEN-SMITHDid you know that Michael Jordan, one of the most famous basketball players of all time, was cut from his high school basketball team?

Did you know that Lionel Messi, one of the world’s best football players, was diagnosed with a growth hormone deficiency at age eleven and his family could not afford the cost of his treatment?

How did these world famous athletes move from failure and adversity to success? How did they overcome the challenges they encountered? The answer is easy. They both adopted growth mindsets.

So what is a growth mindset? Carol Dweck, a pioneer in the research of growth mindset, explains that people with growth mindsets believe that their intelligence and abilities can be developed and improved through effort, persistence, trying different strategies and learning from mistakes.

The opposite would be a fixed mindset. Dweck explains that people with a fixed mindset believe that they are either good or bad at something, and that their ability is based on the gifts and talents they are born with. For a child that means they believe that if they're not good at sports they can’t improve.

Most of the research around growth mindset has been done in the field of education but some studies have found that having a growth mindset also has great value on the playing field. Athletes and sports teams around the world are now teaching growth mindset and adopting programs that improve the overall mindset of their players.

When parents and coaches have a growth mindset, model it and teach it to children, the benefits are seen in multiple areas of their lives. In sports, having a growth mindset will help young athletes to:
  • reduce negative self talk
  • learn from their mistakes
  • ignore the opinions of others
  • accept feedback better
  • think more about the game or sport
  • improve their performance
  • improve their attitude
  • have more fun
  • improve their confidence
  • and achieve their goals in sports.

So how can one help young athletes develop a growth mindset? If you would like to help develop growth mindsets you should model it and also:
  • Teach the difference between having a fixed and growth mindset.
  • Use more examples of top athletes like Michael Jordan and Lionel Messi to teach about the power of hard work and persistence.
  • Teach them that mistakes are a part of learning and developing.
  • Show them how to fail well by sharing tools that help you reflect, learn from failure, apply what you learned and improve.
  • Debrief after training or a competition to reflect, discuss areas of improvement and acknowledge or celebrate positive performances.
This can be done individually or as a team.

Shifting from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset is one of the best ways to improve attitude and performance in any sport. It helped Michael Jordan move from failure to fortune and Lionel Messi move from hopeless to hero.

If you are interested in learning more about Target Learning’s growth mindset webinars and workshops please visit www.targetlearningbermuda.com or email Keisha Allen-Smith at targetlearning@live.com. We offer workshops for sports teams, teachers, coaches, parents and corporate clients that can be tailored to meet your needs.