Written by Zack Etter
April 15, 2019
An athlete’s ability to perform at a high level, in addition to being physically capable and understanding how to play the game, requires elite mental toughness. In sports, and in life, succeeding at a high level means being able to overcome adversity, respond positively to difficult situations, and demands a willingness to be coachable and learn new skills.
Athletes who are committed to improvement and develop mental skills that will lead to peak performance have a Growth Mindset. I recently wrote a book called My Mental Playbook: The Optimal Performance System for Athletes that explains in detail the mental skills that athletes should use to help their performance. The book is broken up into mental skills that can be used during pre-game warmups, during games, and after games. However, before the book discusses Performance Psychology, it begins with a chapter on Growth Mindset and its importance not just in sports, but in life as well.
Having a Growth Mindset means possessing a burning desire to improve skills and knowledge of the game, as well as a willingness to try to increase performance by any means necessary. Athletes with this mindset believe that skills are a result of hard work, and therefore effort is essential to their success. They challenges and consider them an opportunity to challenge themselves. These athletes are extremely coachable, because they view receiving feedback is an opportunity to improve. They believe that setbacks offer a time to learn and reflect before positively moving forward.
I work with teams and athletes across a variety of different sports, helping athletes develop mental skills to increase their performance. In many ways, sports parallels life. Having a Growth Mindset provides athletes the ability to get back to work after disappointment, persist through challenges, respond positively to feedback, and to be inspired by the success of others. These athletes will be able to carry this mindset over to any aspect of their life. They will see challenges in school as an opportunity to learn, they’ll view feedback from their boss as a chance to improve, they’ll give great effort in everything they do, and make continued progress throughout their life.