Youth players and the fixed mindset and growth mindset
Posted by Dean Holden at May 2nd, 2013
by Reggie Malz, 24 April 2013
Dr. Carol S. Dweck shares her knowledge about mindsets in her book “Mindset.” Dr. Dweck explains that people fall into one of two categories: those with the fixed mindset and those with the growth mindset.
Those with a fixed mindset are people who believe that success is proven through perfect performances. They believe intelligence and skill are natural-born. People with a growth mindset believe that success comes from hard-work and practice. These people identify their strengths and weaknesses and convert their life’s setbacks into future successes (p. 11).
What does this mean for coaches?
Players who believe “success is about learning” will jump at the opportunity to try a new move (p. 18). These players are not concerned with practicing this skill and trying it out in a public arena because they feel a sense of success, accomplishment, and achievement, simply by practicing the skill they find challenging.
These players may jump at the opportunity to play with and against older players. They would seek out tougher competition even if they know that the level of competition is too high for them. They are not afraid to fail because they do not believe that failure it associated with accomplishment. They believe failure is in not trying and not working to their potential.
Players in this category will not risk “exposing their deficiences” to other people because they feel that not living up to perfection is being a failure (p. 18). These are the players who are hesitant to try something new in front of the others or to attempt something difficult.
These players want to accomplish things within their grasp (p. 22). They want to work on things only when they know the outcome will be a good one (p. 23). This does not mean that these players are not hard workers. Many players with a fixed mindset are hard workers, but are much more cautious about what they are willing to work towards.
If a coach is unsure which mindset a player is, that coach can give the player scenarios and ask how he/she would react in those scenarios.
Should coaches recruit those with a growth mindset or try to change those with a fixed mindset?
This would ultimately depend on the amount of time and effort a coach wants to put into a player. However, a coach can explain the differences between the two mindsets and help a player to gradually move into the growth mindset.