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How Far Will Natural Talent Take You?

Why do some athletes succeed, and others don’t? Do only ‘naturally athletically gifted’ players make it to the top?  It’s a question often wondered by athletes, parents, coaches, athletic directors and even ownership groups. The answer- is mindset.

According to Carol Dweck’s book ‘Mindset’ people possess two types of beliefs about their abilities and talents. These beliefs or mindsets can impact our attitudes, behaviours, actions, effort and reactions to challenges, mistakes and failures. In fact, it was this same book that evoked a shift in the Miami Heat’s team culture, contributing to recent back to back titles. Prior to the championship seasons, Head Coach Erik Spoelstra requested that each player read Dweck’s book ‘Mindset’. The Fixed and Growth mindsets are described below;

The Fixed Mindset

Athletes with a fixed mindset are under the impression that intelligence and skills are already determined and wont change. A fixed mindset athlete will be emotional and very preoccupied with looking and being talented, they often won’t reach their full potential. This mindset also results in the athlete constantly comparing themselves to others becoming fearful and rigid. Athletes with a fixed mindset believe;

  • Challenges should be sidestepped
  • People are born with talent
  • Perseverance doesn’t get results
  • Challenges may reveal lack of skill
  • Players that work hard just aren’t good enough
  • Effort isn’t really needed
  • If failure occurs, it’s not my fault it’s someone else’s/
  • Feedback is something to take personally

The Growth Mindset

Athletes with a growth mindset believe that they have the power to develop their intelligence and skills. They have identified that effort and practice can result in reaching their full potential. This mindset also results in producing athletes that are athletes that are broadminded, hardworking, level-headed and coachable. A growth mindset athlete is a gracious loser and can share and embrace successes with team mates. Athletes with a growth mindset believe:

  • They can improve and develop their skills
  • Skills are a result of being persistent and working hard
  • A challenge is an opportunity to get better
  • Effort results in mastering skills and concepts
  • Challenges are worth embracing
  • Feedback assist the learning process
  • Setbacks are necessary opportunities to learn
  • Setbacks can be a wakeup call
  • Effort is essential

What’s your mindset? Take the online test today- http://blog.mindsetworks.com/what-s-my-mindset

By Jo Milling


Refence List

Dweck, C. S. (2008). Mindset :the new psychology of success. New York: Ballantine Books.

Ragan, T. (2018). Mindset Characteristics. Retrieved November 13, 2018, from https://trainugly.com