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Growth Mind Set

Growth Mind Set

Growth Mind Set

Lesson #: Growth Mind Set

What would you tell me if I were to ask you how much success is determined by natural talent and how much is derived from skill development or training? Is it 50/50, 65/35, 80/20? How you answer that question will reveal your own thoughts about improvement or development.There are two schools of thought on talent, development, and learning. One will serve you well on the path to your best self as an athlete and a person. The other makes progress or improvement extremely difficult, if not impossible.  

Growth Mindset

“In a growth mindset, challenges are exciting rather
than threatening. So rather than thinking, Oh, I’m going to
reveal my weaknesses, you say, wow, here’s a chance to grow.”
-Carol Dweck-

Were players like Michael Jordan, Derek Jeter, Cal Ripken Jr, and Kobe Bryant great because of natural ability or because they understood any skill could be developed and strengthened through hard work and dedication? Of course, they had some natural talent and ability (like we all do), but more important than that was an overwhelming amount of grit coupled with a growth mindset. That allowed for a lifetime of learning and self-improvement. What those athletes understood more than most was that their skill and natural physical abilities were merely starting points. They used their athletic talent as a foundation to build, working extremely hard to develop their craft.

A fixed mindset vs a growth mindset

An athlete with a growth mindset believes that the most basic of abilities and skill sets can be developed through hard work and consistent dedication. These athletes view talent and intelligence as just the starting point. All other necessary skills can be trained and developed through great effort and great persistence. An athlete with this mindset recognizes there is always a need to grow and develop and that learning is a lifetime skill. You’re never done learning. You’re never finished on your journey to becoming your best self. Looking at it this way, you can see why athletes like Michael Jordan, Derek Jeter, Cal Ripken Jr, and Kobe Bryant became “the best.” They didn’t start with the most talent but developed the most through a growth mindset coupled with great discipline and consistency.

A growth-minded athlete

  • Learns from their failures - Failures are a necessary tool for improvement, embrace them.
  • Has a strong sense of resilience - They bounce back quickly after shortcomings or errors.
  • Gets excited by new challenges - Understands new challenges are new opportunities to learn and grow, not fail.
  • Believes anyone can gain new skill sets - Believes any skill set can be gained and current ones can be strengthened.
  • Has a strong sense of self - Are intimately aware of their goals, values, and beliefs.

A growth-minded athlete is also extremely coachable and willing not only to listen but put into practice the recommendations of their coaches. Instruction is meant to help you reach your full potential. But if you have a negative mindset, you won’t hear instruction, only criticism. You will always feel attacked or as if your efforts aren’t good enough.Regardless of the delivery of the coach, you should not evaluate them or their delivery of the message, listen and evaluate what they are saying. Then you can focus on putting those things into practice within your game. If you are truly committed to finding and developing your best self, welcome all feedback as opportunities to grow, not as opportunities to get upset or feel as if your coach is attacking you.

Now let’s look at a different mindset altogether, that of a fixed mindset.

An athlete that shows a fixed mindset thinks their intelligence and skill sets are innate and they are powerless to change them or improve them. These athletes feel others are just simply better or more talented than they are, and no amount of work on their end will bridge the gap.

Fixed-minded athletes have difficulty with “failure” as they deem it embarrassing and permanent and wear it like a tattoo. Athletes with this mindset fear trying something new or changing the way they do something that is already comfortable to them out of fear of “looking bad.” This is a dangerous mindset to have because it leaves very little room for improvement or skill development. A coach’s job is to coach; an athlete with a fixed mindset makes that very difficult for the coach to do so. The athlete constantly hears an attack of self rather than opportunities for improvement.

When athletes feel as if they’ve come up short, it can make them feel vulnerable and lead to embarrassment. Embarrassment can lead to unhappiness, coupled with failure and a sense of rejection, and their confidence can take a massive hit. The fixed mindset creates a wicked cycle of failing and losing confidence until they don’t feel like they can succeed. And when that happens, they don’t put themselves in opportunities to fail, thus not even trying anymore. Failure is the most powerful force to push you further along your journey toward your best self. It provides truth, a means for growth, and a roadmap toward improvement.

But, by shying away from failure, you also make it impossible to succeed as well. The only way out is to shift your mindset to one that is focused on growth.

The fixed-minded athlete shows things such as

  • Sees intelligence or skill as fixed and feels powerlessness to improve either of the two.
  • Avoids challenges because they see an opportunity to fail, not an opportunity to grow.
  • Gives up easily and views temporary failures as permanent scars.
  • Has a poor image of self and lacks confidence.
  • Dwells on previous failures.

The fixed-minded athlete hears all the wrong messages and none of the corrective cues being offered. They hear or think things such as; “why is he always on me”, “you’re no good,” “it’s not my fault, that’s the way I did it last year,” and “everyone else is doing it that way.” The wrong mindset leads to the athlete being defensive in stature or “closed off,” making future improvement much more difficult, if not impossible.

At Mint, we believe the dedicated athlete is the one who is eager and willing to learn as much as they can whenever they can. They are eager to work at their game enthusiastically and often. The need to improve and learn is always present, never comfortable, and never satisfied. As players, you must not saddle yourself with limits but seek to reach your goals through your commitment and devotion to learning and practicing your craft.

In closing,
take the following as the parting
example between the two mindsets.

Fixed mindset on the left and the more appropriate growth mindset selection on the right.

“Failure means I should give up.”   --------------------------------- “Failures an opportunity to learn.”

“I’m good at something, or I’m not.”   ------------------------------- “It’s great to get out of my comfort zone.”

“Aptitude beats altitude.”   -------------------------------------------- “Effort and attitude drive success.”

“I hate feedback that isn’t praise.”  ----------------------------------- “Honest feedback helps me more."

“Avoiding risk means avoiding failure.”   --------------------------- “Setbacks motivate me to find solutions.”

I hope the above helps to illustrate the point of how detrimental a fixed mindset can be
while simultaneously showing how powerful a force a growth mindset is.


A growth mindset is a lifelong skill that will serve you well, not just in sports but in every aspect of your life. Life is a constant learning process. Understanding that your skills are not fixed and can be developed through persistent hard work is an incredibly valuable lesson. For the rest of your life, you will be challenged to learn new things, things that first are hard, things that will challenge you, and things that will expand your thinking. A growth mindset will make it possible for you to develop a mindset that allows for a lifetime of continued learning and improvement.

A growth mindset is driven by embracing the challenges of learning something new, persisting through short-term failures, learning from feedback or criticism, and seeking the inspiration of others’ success as validation that whatever it is you are trying to do… can, in fact, be done.

Be prepared for our next by having the following.

  • What does a growth mindset mean to you, and can you appreciate its ability to help you become the best version of yourself?
  • Spend some time honestly reflecting on which type of mindset is more natural for yourself.
  • Do you show characteristics of a fixed mindset in any aspect of your life? If so, where.
  • How would playing with fixed mindset teammates be challenging?