Back in the summer, I completed Coaching the Mental Game, the final course in the series led by Paddy Upton, from Deakin University via FutureLearn.
Since then, I have endured an enforced break from coaching, to recover from a keyhole surgery to tidy up some damage to my knee — caused by an inexpert sliding stop in the outfield to save a long chase to retrieve the ball from beyond the boundary…or perhaps it’s just that my knees are getting old…
The time out has given me chance to reflect on the course, and on how it might apply to my own coaching, especially working with children.
Closely related to the discussion around self esteem was a question about how to manage mistakes to build confidence and self esteem. I wholeheartedly subscribe to the concept of the ‘growth mindset’, but sometimes this can come across as wishful thinking — “you will get better if you put in the effort” reeks of unsubstantiated positive thinking.
I want my players to have a growth mindset, and I want them to respond to challenge with counter-challenge; I expect them to develop appropriate focus behaviours…but if I don’t help them to develop these behaviours, I might only be setting them up to fail.