One of the most difficult aspects of the game to incorporate into sessions can be the Psychological component of the Four Corner Model. Teaching the mental side of the game with the youngest age groups can be a challenge due to maturity and communication skills, but not impossible. The most coachable players are said to have a growth mindset and this can be influenced by their self-talk as well as rephrasing players feedback to you, the coach.
The term's fixed and growth mindset's are attributed to Dr. Carol Dweck who has been exploring students reactions to failure for close to 30 years. A growth mindset is an underlying belief from the student that:
- they can become smarter
- have learning as a goal
- appreciate that it takes effort
- appreciate that it takes time
All of which contributes to higher achievement due to their willingness to put in the extra time and effort to reach their learning goals.
External and Internal Influences
So if we want out players to have a Growth Mindset, what are some of the things we can do to help them develop it? As an external factor, coaches have a great deal of influence on their players (whether they know it or not). Therefore, a coaches praise carries great weight and should be used purposefully. When praising players, it is important to be specific so that they know what they are doing correctly. One of the biggest things a coach can praise to encourage a growth mindset is not their intelligence or ability though; it is their effort!
Internally, players and athletes have their own monologue and self-talk which can help or hinder their development. Everyone hold's internal conversation's throughout the day. Self-talk has been identified as the monologue of giving opinions and evaluation's on what we're doing, as we're doing it.
While a coach can try to encourage and praise effort, ultimately it's a players self-talk which they'll hear the most and needs to be influenced. That's where the Training Mindset comes in.
Rephrasing - the power of 'Yet'
The Training Mindset is a way of rephrasing common feedback and dialogue heard from children on the field. It's important to not only listen but also observe players and their body language (most of this is internal, so it may require questions and probing to help players). Whatever you hear, try and spin it with a phrase or question that can help get back on the Growth Mindset/Training Mindset track.
My personal favorite is the power of 'yet'. Whenever a player tells me they can't perform a skill or move, I love to tell them: