Coach Education | Athlete strategies for developing a growth mindset

Posted on September 15, 2020 by

You can change your whole sporting experience in a positive way if you learn to adopt a growth mindset.

In our performance psychology articles for High Performance at Home on growth mindset we have shared knowledge on ‘understanding what a growth mindset is’, provided strategies on ‘how coaches develop a growth mindset in athletes’ and now this third article in the series provides athletes with strategies for developing a growth mindset.

Here are some strategies that you could implement to help develop your growth mindset in practice and competition.

  • Choose two or three strategies to implement at one time
  • Make sure you share what you are implementing with your coach or team mates so that they too can assist you in achieving your goal to develop a growth mindset


Develop your understanding about the different mindsets 

Educate yourself on what a growth mindset is and how you can develop yours. Use books, articles, blogs, clips, or documentaries to help you develop your knowledge. Here is a link to a useful video on a growth verses fixed mindset’. 


Check in on your mindset 

Check in regularly and identify what mindset you are using. Sometimes you will catch yourself using a growth mindset, acknowledge and praise yourself when you notice this. If you catch yourself using a fixed mindset, and you will, try and reframe the situation so that you are looking at this from a growth mindset perspective. Remember to focus on how you can grow and learn from the situation and the effort that you applied, rather than just the outcome. 


Add YET to your vocabulary 

Use YET to remind yourself that whilst you may not have it now, with effort, time and practice you will get it in the future. For example, “I haven’t beaten my PB YET, but with more training and effort I will be able to”.  


Identify other athletes’ mindsets  

When watching or listening to athletes talk about their sport experience try and identify what mindset they are applying. 


Set a weekly challenge 

Identify one challenge each week and develop an action plan to get better at this challenge. With each challenge ask the following questions: 

  • What can I do to become stronger at the challenge? 
  • How can I practice this at training? 
  • How will I know that I am better at the challenge? 


Change the way you view mistakes and failure 

Look at mistakes as a golden opportunity to learn. Without mistakes you do not learn and develop. Recognise how important failure is in the growing process. It is a necessity for our learning, growth, and reaching our potential. 


Control the controllable 

Do not compare yourself to others. Instead, compare your current performance to your own past performances. Focus on your preparation, your plan, your effort and your thoughts and feelings as these are within your control. 


Become a process orientated athlete 

Focus on things that you can control, which is your plan and effort, rather than what you cannot control, for example other athletes or the outcome.  The process is what you need to do to get your outcome. 


Make self-reflection part of your routine 

After each training or competition reflect on your performance. Ask yourself the following questions; What worked? What didn’t? How can I make this better? Make sure you revisit what you did well as this will help to build your confidence. If you are disappointed with your performance you can feel disappointed (for a short period), but then you must develop an action plan to make your performance better in the future. 

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