The Athlete's Mindset: A Predictor of Success

“The way you view your own intel­li­gence largely deter­mines how it will develop.” - Carol Dweck I recently enrolled in “Drive-Time-U.” This comes from Darren Hardy. My driving time has turned into learning time. I have traded music for audio books and presentations. A friend of mine recently let me borrow "Mindset" by Carol Dweck. It took me about one weekend of driving to finish it.

Dweck talks about the two types of mindsets that people have: the fixed mindset and the growth mindset. In the fixed mindset, our ability or talent is what it is. No matter what we do, we are given ability and must do what we can with it. People with a growth mindset have a belief that they abilities can be developed through passion, education, and feedback.

Developing a growth mindset is crucial to your success as an athlete. You must understand that it is possible to develop new skills and increase your athletic capacity. It doesn’t matter if you’re the most talented in your school or if you’re on the verge of getting cut. A growth mindset is the only mindset that will allow you to maximize your potential. It is important to understand that you are not as good as you will one day be by putting time into development and seeking feedback from mentors that can help you learn.

Too often, we label young athletes as naturals or prodigies. We assume that are good because they were born that way. This feeds those young athletes the recipe for a fixed mindset, which will cause the athlete to peak. They will never reach their full potential.

And for those who are struggling to make a team, a fixed mindset can be equally dangerous. Early in my high school days, I assumed there was nothing I could do to get playing time. The starters were selected, and I was not fast enough or good enough to be on their level. It wasn’t until the middle of my Junior year that I understood hard work and accepting coaching/feedback was the pathway to become a more skilled basketball player. After my Junior year, I started realizing that I could develop speed, strength, and jumping ability. My transformation from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset is what sparked my improvement as an athlete.

To this day, no matter what it is I am doing, I am content knowing that I am the best I have ever been, but the worst I will ever be.