For anyone involved in sport, whether it is an athlete, coach, commentator or fan, the concept of talent is almost always the defining character that we look for. Of course, that is a hugely important trait, but it doesn’t tell us what makes the difference between winning and losing when two athletes of similar talent compete, or why somebody with less talent might come out on top.
The answer often lies in the mental approach of athletes.
When it comes to performance there are two types of ‘mindsets’: a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. Understanding the importance of mindset is crucial to maximising performance in sport.
A person with a fixed mindset usually judges situations in terms of how they reflect upon their ability, which is permanent. For example; if you are performing badly in a game you view yourself as a bad player. As a result, fixed mindset individuals rarely seek out opportunities to learn or challenge themselves, failure to them is vindication of their lack of self-belief. Fixed mindset athletes choose to seek easy achievement activities, fear failure, shun effort and are constantly finding excuses to not perform. This results in fearful, rigid athletes that limit their potential.
Athletes with a fixed mindset usually think that:
A growth mindset individual see your abilities as capable of being cultivated, recognising that being challenged is an exciting part of learning and that failure is a necessary component of success. This means that you are able to win and lose gracefully, and are able to enjoy and share the successes of other athletes as well. This mindset results in open minded, hardworking, calm athletes that are coachable, making them able to reach their full potential.
Athletes with a growth mindset think that:
With research demonstrating a growth-mindset approach to be a predictor of long-term success. The question is, how can you effectively learn to develop the processes of a growth mindset and increase your chance of reaching your full potential?
If you asked any elite athlete, was becoming successful easy? They would say no and state behavior such as high levels of effort, persistence and always striving to learn, are the vital ingredients to achieving success.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s growth mindset, “I feel an endless need to learn, to improve, to evolve, not only to please the coach and the fans, but also feel satisfied with myself.”
Athletes with a growth mindset grow, achieve, and learn far more than individuals that have a fixed mindset. You need to be aware that the effort you put in is what matters more so than the end result of the your actions. This will help you develop a growth mindset. By developing this way of thinking, it helps you succeed in your sport and in the rest of your life.
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