The Importance of Long Term Relationships, Mindset & Progression October 13 2015

I’m sure you’ve heard it all before but how often do players come along with a clear goal and a realistic picture of how to get there? The typical mindset when it comes to game improvement is to fix it when it’s broken and nothing more, how many of you run your car this way? Some do I’m sure and that’s ok with me, we all have different circumstances but most of us maintain our cars to keep them working well. Some car fans may seek to improve their cars, to make them faster, better handling or just look better (although to me that’s silly, if you want a cool looking car just buy one, don’t bolt a fast and furious spoiler onto it and expect the chicks to dig it).

I give a lot of initial consultations, the lesson I posted last week is one of those, the performance jump was huge and the client left very happy. Will I see him again? Maybe, maybe not. Maybe the improvement was enough for him to go away and be convinced he has it, although we set a parameter for when he should return only time will tell. You see it has much more to do with mindset, for a while I used to have clients fill out a questionnaire which identified their mindset. I’m interested in a growth mindset and while I wouldn’t turn anyone away who didn’t match up I wouldn’t hold out much hope of seeing them again no matter how good the lesson was.

This player has a growth mindset, we are five sessions in (we work in two hour blocks) and the change in his swing is significant. The swing performance has shifted from double figures in to out path numbers to somewhere close to zero, the misses are dramatically reduced and he has motivation back to play. This is a player who was on the verge of giving up but his mindset was such that he committed to a plan, his desire for growth is such that I can’t keep him away for long, what should have been a 3-4 week gap between sessions became 2 this time. It allowed us to make one more change that helped facilitate the previous, now it’s fast becoming an action that I enjoy watching a great deal and am as proud of the player as he should be of himself.

Here’s a before and after to show what progress can be made with the right attitude, application and commitment to building a working relationship. The thing is that no one has all the answers and it's easy for a player to believe that someone somewhere should. I'm perfectly happy to admit that I don't have all the answers but when I don't I'll find one or I'll find someone that does, without a consistent relationship I wouldn't be afforded the opportunity to do that.



As coaches we live and die by the success of our clients, considering the number of factors involved in success of which mindset is only one this outlook might need re-aligning.

So how do you develop a growth mindset or help your clients to develop one? Here’s a 25 point list I found that you might be able to pick some useful strategies out of, you'll need the relationship to be afforded the opportunity though:

1. Acknowledge and embrace imperfections.

Hiding from your weaknesses means you’ll never overcome them.

2. View challenges as opportunities.

Having a growth mindset means relishing opportunities for self-improvement.

3. Try different learning tactics.

There’s no one-size-fits-all model for learning. What works for one person may not work for you.

4. Follow the research on brain plasticity.

The brain isn’t fixed; the mind shouldn’t be either.

5. Replace the word “failing” with the word “learning.”

When you make a mistake or fall short of a goal, you haven’t failed; you’ve learned.

6. Stop seeking approval.

When you prioritise approval over learning, you sacrifice your own potential for growth.

7. Value the process over the end result.

Intelligent people enjoy the learning process, and don’t mind when it continues beyond an expected time frame.

8. Cultivate a sense of purpose.

Dweck’s research also showed that students with a growth mindset had a greater sense of purpose. Keep the big picture in mind.

9. Celebrate growth with others.

If you truly appreciate growth, you’ll want to share your progress with others.

10. Emphasise growth over speed.

Learning fast isn’t the same as learning well, and learning well sometimes requires allowing time for mistakes.

11. Reward actions, not traits.

Tell students when they’re doing something smart, not just being smart.

12. Redefine “genius.”

The myth’s been busted: genius require hard work, not talent alone.

13. Portray criticism as positive.

You don’t have to used that hackneyed term, “constructive criticism,” but you do have to believe in the concept.

14. Dissassociate improvement from failure.

Stop assuming that “room for improvement” translates into failure.

15. Provide regular opportunities for reflection.

Let students reflect on their learning at least once a day.

16. Place effort before talent.

Hard work should always be rewarded before inherent skill.

17. Highlight the relationship between learning and “brain training.”

The brain is like a muscle that needs to be worked out, just like the body.

18. Cultivate Grit.

Students with that extra bit of determination will be more likely to seek approval from themselves rather than others.

19. Abandon the image.

“Naturally smart” sounds just about as believable as “spontaneous generation.” You won’t achieve the image if you’re not ready for the work.

20. Use the word “yet.”

Dweck says “not yet” has become one of her favourite phrases. Whenever you see students struggling with a task, just tell them they haven’t mastered it yet.

21. Learn from other people’s mistakes.

It’s not always wise to compare yourself to others, but it is important to realise that humans share the same weaknesses.

22. Make a new goal for every goal accomplished.

You’ll never be done learning. Just because your midterm exam is over doesn’t mean you should stop being interested in a subject. Growth-minded people know how to constantly create new goals to keep themselves stimulated.

23. Take risks in the company of others.

Stop trying to save face all the time and just let yourself goof up now and then. It will make it easier to take risks in the future.

24. Think realistically about time and effort.

It takes time to learn. Don’t expect to master every topic under the sun in one sitting.

25. Take ownership over your attitude.

Once you develop a growth mindset, own it. Acknowledge yourself as someone who possesses a growth mentality and be proud to let it guide you throughout your educational career.

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