Between Information and Application…

It is no longer surprising to hear athletes make statements such as “I should focus on the process rather than the outcome.” Compared to when I first started coaching, both coaches and athletes today are better informed about the need to focus on the process.

However, there is still a gap between information and application. Despite being better informed, athletes often do not know how to let go of the outcome and refocus on the process.

From what I’ve observed, there are three related reasons that are limiting their ability to do so.

Continue reading “Between Information and Application…”

Mindset First (2 of 2)

In the previous post, we discussed WHY coaches ought to be intentional about teaching Mindset. The focus here is on how we can integrate the teaching of mindset into our coaching practice.

We will first try to understand exactly HOW these coaching practices help athletes develop confidence and resilience, before going into WHAT these coaching practices are.

HOW?

People who tend to overcome challenges and manage uncertainties have something in common – they focus on what they can control instead of what they cannot.

The Growth Mindset is primarily focused on things that are within her control. For example, how much energy she wants to invest in pursuing a goal and whether she wants to get better by learning from her mistakes. Our confidence grows when we focus on ‘step-by-steps’ that matter, and that are within our control. We are more likely to be solution focused and hence more likely to overcome difficulties.

What is the Fixed Mindset obsessed about? He’s likely to be stressing over whether he is going to win and how others are going to judge him if he loses.

Do we have direct control over outcomes and how others are going to think? What happens when you keep focusing on things that are out of your control? How would you feel?

A study by Schleider, Abel & Weisz (2015) found that fixed mindset youth were 58% more likely to show more severe symptoms of anxiety, depression, or aggression. This was a very thorough review of 17 studies involving over 6,500 students.

When we coach Mindset, we are inevitably helping athletes to focus on what they can control instead of what they can’t. We are teaching them how to be Confident and Resilient!
Continue reading “Mindset First (2 of 2)”

Mindset First (1 of 2)

It’s the foundation for learning and improving.

It’s perhaps the single most important factor in one’s overall success.

It’s also the first topic that I teach in all my psychological skills coaching programs.

Specifically, the Growth Mindset contributes to…

  1. greater effort even in areas where he or she is lacking
  2. the ability to bounce back from setbacks
  3. increased confidence

It would be so much easier to coach an athlete with these qualities isn’t it?

So why aren’t we teaching our athletes about Mindset?

“Coaches have the misunderstanding that Mindset has to be taught at the expense of valuable practice time.” Coach Hansen

Unfortunately, a handful of coaches still feel that mindset or resilience is something that you either have or don’t, and that it cannot be taught.

However, most coaches do not teach mindset because they either do not know how to, or because they assume that teaching Mindset would be at the expense of valuable practice time.

This couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, the teaching of mindset or any psychological skills should be put into context and integrated into the teaching of technical and tactical skills whenever possible. Instead of taking away valuable practice time, it helps the athlete to learn more effectively.

My intention for writing this two-part blog post is to share how we can integrate the teaching of Mindset into our coaching practices.

Continue reading “Mindset First (1 of 2)”