Over the coming weeks we would like to share with you some of the literature that has been an inspiration to us during our coaching experience to this point.
The book ‘Mindset’ by Carol Dweck will be very familiar to most school teachers but perhaps not so familiar to parents and sports coaches. It was a book that I came across after seeing a number of her observations referenced in other books that I was reading – including the fantastic book ‘Bounce’ by Matthew Syed. If I could recommend any book to a parent or coach, Mindset would be the one.
It is actually quite a difficult book to read without feeling a little bit embarrassed or even ashamed of how relatable some of the experiences and anecdotes she shares are. If you stick with it and take the points that she makes on board, it is actually a real eye opener. If you are a coach, teacher, parent or anyone else who is likely to have an impact on a youngster, it is worth attempting to master some of the principles outlined in her book.
In the book Dweck explains that she believes that there are two main types of mindset ‘Growth’ or ‘Fixed’, although keen to point out that they are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Working in the education sector for so long, particularly within sport, it is easy to relate to the distinction of two types of mindset although, sadly, it’s not and never is as black and white as it sounds. However, the principle of attempting to teach a ‘Growth’ mindset has been one of the most important things that I have learned over the last 10 years.
Learning how to make a positive impact on a person’s mindset can make a profound difference to the way that they make progress in their skills. Overcoming the fear of failure and the reactions that go with it can be a serious challenge both for the individual and the teacher/coach/parent. Understanding that you can be responsible for a positive (and negative) change in someone else’s mindset gives you a lot of responsibility but I have found that it has also made me much more thoughtful, respectful and ultimately a lot more patient when I am coaching.