Athletes and sports professionals are becoming increasingly aware that it is more just the fitness and talent of an athlete that will lead to high performance; it’s equally important that an individual’s athlete mindset be fit and flexible too.
Athletes often will have one of two different mindsets, one of which will work to the detriment of an athlete’s performance whereas the other will help the athlete grow and surpass his or her competition.
The Fixed Mindset
The fixed mindset is common amongst athletes, but it’s a dangerous one to have. With a fixed mindset, an individual will only perceive that he or she has “x” amount of value or have “x” level of talent and ability. They tend to measure their success by the amount of setbacks and mistakes they’ve made. This is an incredibly limiting way to look at one’s self, particularly as there is always room for athletes to grow in a number of different facets which will significantly improve his or her performance.
Another issue with the fixed mindset is that they work overtime in making sure that they “look good” and will do anything possible to conceal their shortcomings. While some athletes may start out by doing this publicly, soon the mind begins to adopt this way of thinking privately as well, which leads to the rejection of valuable opportunities to learn and improve.
The Growth Mindset
Champion athletes who continue to excel in their sport and set the bar for other performers are those who have a growth mindset. With this mindset, athletes are constantly looking for ways to learn and improve and aren’t afraid to say, “Yes, I could use the extra training” or “I’ll gladly accept some additional coaching!” Rather than reject the idea that they may need to work on their serve or learn a new skill that will help them and the team excel, they’ll openly accept the learning and work on it until they get it right.
And that’s another key difference between the mindsets: effort. Those who possess an athlete mindset of growth know that effort is a must if they have any hope of improving or bringing a brand new skill or ability to life. Those with a fixed mindset, on the other hand, tend to believe that if the true ability is there, that it doesn’t need to be nurtured and improved upon. The result? A lack of effort in the areas where it is needed most and ultimately an unsatisfying and often short career in their sport.