Get the MindRite: Step #2- Practice
One of the best tools that an athlete can use as they develop a "growth mindset" is a journal. A journal will allow an athlete to write down his or her process goals before and after practices and games. Process goals allow an athlete to focus on their development, not on the outcome. Focusing on development puts the athlete in control of their goals, their mindset, and their development. Focusing on the outcome puts the athlete in a situation that is often out of their control. Can a batter control whether or not he or she gets a hit every time? No they can not. The batter can however control the process (mental and physical approach) they take to their at bat. If they can control the process, they can make adjustments that need to be made to improve physically and mentally. If they attempt to control the outcome, and the outcome isn't what they want, they become frustrated, and the desire to work hard and compete may decrease.
So what types of things should the athlete write in their journal? The most important thing is to make their goals things they can control (process goals). Here are some examples of what they can right before a practice or game-
Physical Goals For Today
-I will be physically ready for every pitch when I am in the field. (Baseball/Softball)
-I will work hard in pre-game to use the opposite field when I am batting. (Baseball/Softball)
-I will work hard on my single leg take downs when I am on my feet today. (Wrestling)
-I will run every route with full energy today. (Football)
-I will have great energy today. (All Sports)
Mental Goals For Today
-I will use my release (a physical tool, like throwing dirt) whenever I feel like I am having negative thoughts. (All Sports)
-I will be mentally ready for every pitch when I am in the field, wanting the baseball hit to me. (Baseball/Softball))
-I will take a deep breath prior to every swing. (Baseball, Softball, Golf)
-Prior to my match/game/event I will visualize myself having success. (All Sports)
-I will be a great teammate today and support all my teammates to the best of my abilities. (All Sports)
It is equally important that an athlete journal following practices and games. This is the time where an athlete should reflect on what he or she did well, and what they want to work on during the next practice or game. Journaling after practices and games solidifies the fact that they are focused on the process, which in turn keeps them focused on personal development and growth. An athlete can simply look at their goals for the day and evaluate how they did based off those goals. They can also add things to work on, or ask their coaches for suggestions and feedback. Some examples of what they can write following a practice or game-
-What Did I Do Well Physically Today?
-I was physically ready for each pitch. (Baseball/Softball)
-I had great energy today. (All Sports)
-What Can I Work On At The Next Practice?
-I had poor swings on the off-speed pitches. I will work on hitting off-speed pitches. (Baseball/Softball)
-I had poor route running today. I will work very hard on my route running at the next practice. (Football)
-What Did I Do Well Mentally Today?
-When the game was speeding up on me I took a deep breath. (All Sports)
-I was a great teammate today. (All Sports)
What Will I Work On At The Next Practice?
-I forgot to use my release when I was having negative thoughts. I will practice my release at the next practice. (All sports)
-My confidence was a little low when the game started. I will find ways to be fully confident prior to my games. (All sports)
The journal is a powerful tool for practicing a growth mindset. Take the time before and after practices and games to journal!