How can we use mistakes to learn? What can we do to improve performance when it feels like everything is out of our control? Here we look at what you can use to improve your training.
There are a number of simple strategies you can use to change, adapt and improve you how you are training, potentially increasing the rate of your development as a fencer or in other areas of your life.
Use Your Mindset
Develop your understanding of different mindsets and focus on your ‘growth’ mindset.
Fixed mindset – You believe your attributes and abilities are inherently fixed and will not change no matter how much effort you put in
Growth Mindset – You believe your talent and abilities can be improved and developed through your actions and efforts
Check-in regularly and identify what mindset you are using. If you catch yourself using a fixed mindset, try and reframe the situation to view it from a growth mindset perspective. Remember to focus on how you learn and develop from the situation, and acknowledge the effort you applied, rather than just the result.
When watching or listening to athletes talking about their sporting experiences, try and identify what mindset they are applying.
Use the word “Yet”
“Not just yet.”
Use the word ‘yet’ to remind yourself that with effort, time and practice you can achieve a goal in the future. For example, “I haven’t qualified yet, but with more training and effort I will be able to”.
Mistakes can create learning opportunities. Change the way you view mistakes and failure.
Mistakes foster learning and development. Failures are important in the growing process. The ability to make mistakes is necessary for our learning, growth, and reaching our potential.
Use the ‘controllables’
Rather than comparing yourself to others, compare your current performance to your own past performances. Focus on your preparation, your plan, your effort and your thoughts and feelings. These are within your control and we can all work on the elements that do not require talent, just effort.
Use process goals
Become a process orientated athlete. Focus on things that you can control, which are your plans, and actions within the plans, rather than what you cannot control. These are the processes you do to meet or to get to your outcome goals.
After each training or competition reflect on your performance. Ask yourself the following questions; What worked well? What didn’t? What can be improved? What did you do that increased and built your confidence?
If you are disappointed with your performance you can feel disappointed (for a short period), but then you must develop an action plan to make your performance better in the future.
Use a weekly development challenge/goal
Identify one challenge each week and develop an action plan to get better at this challenge. With each challenge ask the following questions:
What can I do to become better at the challenge?
How will I know that I am better at the challenge?
Choose one or two of these strategies and share them with your coaches. Start using your chosen strategies regularly and when you are comfortable you can add more.
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