A Conversation with Kelly Gray
What’s a growth mindset in youth sports and how does it benefit young athletes?
We explored that topic in a second podcast interview with Kelly Gray, a former professional soccer player who worked with youth sports organizations for many years. He’s founder of Kelly Gray Sports and South Bay Football Club.
“Put simply, a growth mindset is the belief you can get better with practice. We want players to believe they can be more than they are if they put in the time and work,” he said.
A fixed mindset, on the other hand, is kids’ belief that if they’re not good at sports, they won’t improve.
“It’s the belief that the skills you have are all you will ever have. ‘If I’m not good at juggling, I’ll never be good,’” he explained.
Parents can encourage young athletes to embrace a growth mindset by focusing on the process of playing, not on stats or wins.
Tell sports kids that if they work hard, they’re successful, he says. Don’t tell them “You’ll never get better” or “What was wrong with you today?” That’s not a good way to develop a growth mindset.
Gray says that he wasn’t the most talented player, but was a hard worker. “I outworked everyone. You have to put in the time and effort to learn. As long as you stick with it, you get better,” he said.
He also provided tips for parents about how to help kids benefit from the temporary stop in youth sports due to COVID-19.
“Before (COVID-19), everything was forced. Kids were forced to go to practice and play different sports. This is a good time for parents to sit back and evaluate what kids choose to do.”
This will help parents better understand what their children are passionate about.
It will be especially informative for parents to see which sports multi-sports athletes might seem to prefer during the COVID-19 crisis. Parents don’t necessarily have to take action on this information, but should keep it in mind when sports resume.
Help Young Athletes Overcome Perfectionist Challenges in Sports!
Nearly every athlete struggles with some form of perfectionism or fear of failure.
Kids who look like stars in practice will often choke up or under perform during games or competition. Other athletes expect too much of themselves—then get frustrated when they don’t meet their high expectations. Or they’re extremely hard on themselves.
In all cases, this causes young athletes to play it safe. They refuse to take the important risks that help them excel and improve their confidence. Suddenly, they’re held back by fear, indecision, and hesitation.
Learn how to help young athletes overcome the difficult cycle of perfectionism, fear of failure and loss of confidence. You can stop guessing about what to do and say to your athlete!
Our program: “Sports Parents’ Top Dilemma: Helping Young Athletes Kick Perfectionism and Fear of Failure,” will walk you through the problem and arm you with practical solutions you can start implementing today.
You’ll start seeing changes in your young athlete’s confidence almost immediately.
Make your role as sports parent more enjoyable and easier! We tell you how to help your young athletes:
- Let go of mistakes more quickly
- Accept feedback better
- Stop criticizing themselves
- Perform more freely
- Think more creatively
- Stop worrying about what others’ think
- Dramatically improve their performance and attitude in sports
- Improve their confidence in sports
- They, too, will have more fun and reap more rewards.
“Sports Parents’ Top Dilemma: Helping Young Athletes Kick Perfectionism and Fear of Failure,” consists of two parts:
- A 23-page e-book that identifies the challenge, explains why it is harmful to young athletes (but also very common), and gives in-depth, step-by-step “sports psychology” tips for helping kids. Download this instantly!
- A 21-page kids’ sports psychology workbook that is intended to help your kids identify beliefs and expectations that are the root of perfectionism. It will also help them develop strategies to play more freely with less fear in competition.