What is it that some children and adults appear better able to cope with the ups and down of sport, life and academia? How is it that some people do not see that a match has been lost but instead seize another opportunity to learn? As a parent, sportsman and an educationalist, this has fascinated me and I researched many books to try and explain this. The book which in my mind has come closest to unlocking these mysteries is written by Carol Dweck.
Her book ‘Mindset: How you can fulfil your potential’ has been widely used in the UK and the USA. Certainly in the world of education it is a set of ideas that have been seized upon by teachers and school leaders to try and help children achieve their potential.
It is just as applicable in the world of sport particularly junior sport as it provides some suggestions as to how we can encourage our children to get the most out of their practice and more importantly deal with that thin line between triumph and disaster which flows through all sport and is amplified in individual competition. As tennis parents this seesaw between happiness and tears can define many a weekend for our children. In the world of fast four tennis, one point can be the difference to whether our children love or hate tennis.
In the following three blogs I have aimed to give an introduction to the theory of Mindsets with a foundation in the world of tennis so that you can use the ideas to support your child or the children that you coach.
Blog 1: ‘Growth and Fixed Mindsets’ introduces you to the two different mindsets and you will no doubt begin to ponder where you or your children are on the mindset continuum.
Blog 2: ‘Identifying Mindsets’ provides a set of points, which delve into the different mindsets in more detail.
Blog 3: ‘Towards a Growth Mindset’ is perhaps the most important of the three blogs as it gives suggestions for questions or praise that you can use to help your child develop a growth mindset and also explains the power of yet.
As with all things that you will work on with your child, this is not a quick process and there will be days when you see your child picks up their racquet shows an obvious growth mindset and probably more days when they do not. Try not to criticise your child if they seem locked in negativity about a certain aspect of their tennis and do not expect to immediately turn your child’s mood round. It just means they haven’t solidified their growth mindset, yet! All children struggle at times and we know what a brutal sport tennis can be. What we must do is be there and just try to do what we can to support them.
I am a tennis parent, educationalist and author. My guide for tennis parents is written and I’m now looking for a publisher. You can follow me on on twitter @tennisdaduk.