It’s all in the mindset

We all want to be viewed as smart, as capable individuals and used as examples of excellence at some times in our lives. How we think for the greatest part determines how we act and how we are influenced has a great bearing on shaping our future thoughts and actions. Why is mindset so important and why is understanding the impact of our mindsets just as important? If we are influenced by the thoughts of others and the actions of others, then the belief that we are products of our environment takes on a great deal of truth. It is not the intention to get into the subject of mindset alone in this article, but rather to define the differences in the mindsets, how they can shape our thoughts and actions and how for the sake of development ensure that all in the process of managing our child’s development are on the same page.

Much is written about the importance of understanding mindset, especially by people like Professor Carol Dweck of Stanford University. If mindsets have such power that they can help determine the person that you wish to become, the person that you really become and whether you can achieve the things that you want to, then understanding them is of benefit. We are not going to study them in depth but let’s look at the mindsets and then determine the key factors that can assist with our child’s football development.

Fixed mindsets

Fixed mindsets believe that the qualities that you have are unchangeable and that you must work with what you have been given. Football and indeed life itself throws up considerable challenges that are either faced head on or avoided. The negativity in this mindset leads one to see obstacles and not challenges which can lead to avoidance of the issue. Any criticism, no matter how constructive may be viewed as personal and not heeded. The success of others can create a perspective of jealousy for the fixed mindset. Therefore, fixed mindsets create a personal urgency to prove oneself repeatedly, and this is very energy sapping! We should not forget then that how we act can be influential to others and can create negative learning experiences that may be damaging to development.

Growth Mindsets

These mindsets believe that the qualities you have been given can be developed, through your own efforts but also with help from others. These mindsets embrace challenges and what they must do to manage that challenge. Part of this management is to listen to advice and act on it, to persist with setbacks, to get inspiration from the success of others around them and not feel threatened by it. Most importantly they see personal effort as critical to mastering challenges.

By developing relationships with those responsible for our child’s development we can ensure that we are all on the same page with regards to their needs and that way we can ensure that the messages we deliver to our child is consistent and appropriate for development. With that in mind a key message that we need to ensure is delivered by all is the importance of putting hard work before any reliance on individual ability or talent. The belief that our development hinges on how much ability we were born with is misplaced. Creating a “hard work ethic” underpins the development of our abilities and makes them even more effective. This message is truly important. The ability to want to try again after a failure has occurred may mean that your mindset and actions now create what your actions look like in the future. In the development process, all those working with our children must be on that page and working as one. Our mindsets are therefore key to this process. David Beckham stated that “my secret is practice. I have always believed that if you want to achieve anything special in life you have to work, work and then work some more”. Lionel Messi has previously stated “with hard work anything is possible”. The importance for young players to develop a hard work ethic should not be underestimated and should be something that all around them influence. The importance of the hard work ethic is something that Professor Carol Dweck emphasises strongly in her writings.

Finally, are there any ways in which we can all ensure that those working with our children and we as parents can make sure that we can at least deliver the same positive messages for them to develop?

  1. Recognise that you all have a shared common goal and that is the development of the young footballer…. agree on the needs required for this to happen
  2. A great starting point is to understand just how important football is for them and that how we think can affect their enjoyment
  3. Understand the importance of how young people learn in a football environment
  4. We can all have the correct mindset commitment to ensure that we make their time at their specific club memorable

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