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Recently there has been lots of talk about how developing a growth mindset can help children to fulfil their full potential. A growth mindset is not only useful for learning in the classroom though. It can also be useful as an approach when coaching sport, helping to develop an attitude that children can be apply to a range of situations throughout life. Carol Dweck’s ground breaking research supports the view that great athletes and successful people are made rather than born and her book, Mindset – How You Can Fulfil Your Potential, explains how anyone can discover a growth mindset in order to achieve success.

Dweck explains how it is not just our abilities and talents that bring about success but also our mindset. A growth mindset will motivate children to work to raise improve their performance in sport instead of relying on their natural talents or resigning to the belief that they have none.

Here are just few ways that you can use a growth mindset in sport and beyond to help children to grow and achieve their best.

  • Live the growth mindset yourself. View each day as an oppportunity to learn.
  • Talk to children about what you have achieved in sport or life as a result of practice. Describe the difficulties that you have experienced and how you have overcome them.
  • Don’t label, stereotype or judge children. Believe in the potential of every child to improve their sporting ability and your ability to influence them to do so.
  • Set high standards for all children during sports lessons requiring them to give their full effort during practice and games and supporting them to work on their areas for development.
  • Encourage resilience by helping children to view mistakes or lost games as learning opportunities (an essential part of any learning journey) rather than failures.
  • Give equal time and attention in each lesson to each child regardless of their initial skills.
  • Reward improvement over natural ability. Encourage children to challenge themselves and achieve their personal best during each lesson.
  • Ensure that feedback or criticism you give is always constructive.
  • Allow children opportunities to learn from each others without feeling threatened or belittled.

There are plenty of examples of great sports people and role models that can inspire children with the success that they have achieved through hard work and practice. In fact if you look carefully at almost any of the great athletes, you will see that they achieve as a result of discipline, perseverance, and commitment.

What ideas do you have for developing a growth mindset for children on the sports field and beyond?

For more ideas and inspiration visit our Learning Through Sport page or follow us on Pinterest.
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Further Information

Ted Talks – Carol Dweck – The Power of Believing That You Can Improve

The Effort Effect by Maria Krakovsky – Stamford Alumni

What is Talent? – A Growth Mindset Approach by Mauro Van De Looij –

Changing the Game Project