Dr. Anne Shadle Resources

 Engineering Your Sport Environment I
(8/14/2018)
 
   

Engineering Your Sport Environment


Beyond the Diamond
By Dr. Anne Shadle


Definition: Engineer - To Design and Build

Building the Foundation

What do athletes really need from us as parents, coaches and leaders in sport? They need a place to belong, a place to feel welcome and a place to develop themselves. To build that sport foundation, it is important that you frequently revisit your own personal values. From there, keep at the forefront of your mind the goals and purposes of sport as you move through the season. In previous blogs, we have talked about how to do this. Hopefully you have developed and shared your parenting/coaching philosophy with those around you. Remember that you want to impact the lives around you. What you model through your words, actions and behaviors and how you develop character within yourself as well as your children/athletes all matter. Remember, it starts with you, the parent/coach/sport leader.

Take a moment to think about all of the various sport environments you have been a part of or observed. You can even think about the various working environments you have experienced. As you reflect, some of those environments might bring a little sting to the memory, while others will bring joy. Simply put, these negative environments did not and do not allow individuals to become the very best that they can be. These negative environments are driven by control and jealously, with an “everyone out for themselves” mentality or even just a feeling that not all are welcome. CLEARLY, this is NOT the environment we want to create for our athletes. The goal is a positive, supportive, success-building environment. In these environments, individuals feel supported, cared about, and valued. Your input, thoughts, and ideas matter to the collective group.

Martin Seligman is a respected researcher, educator and author in the field of Positive Psychology. He has studied various environments within schools, businesses and the military developing positive training programs, but his work is also applicable to the sports environment. Seligman has identified certain elements within any environment that provide the opportunity for success and the ability to flourish. There are key items within any environment that breed success. In Martin Seligman’s book, Flourish (2011), he presents a working model for the development of healthy psychological wellbeing in individuals and environments with five measurable elements within the PERMA framework.

The elements present in the PERMA model are the foundational blocks for building a successful, positive, constructive baseball environment. The five elements are Positive emotion, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning and Achievement.

Positive Emotion- A major focus of baseball should be built around experiences with positive emotion. Seligman would certainly support the idea that the pure joy that comes from playing the game of baseball, along with the satisfaction and excitement from learning new baseball skills that are important for the development of each athlete’s wellbeing. Activities, practices, games, conversations with parents, coaches, teammates and opponents should focus on positive emotions and positive energy. Positive emotions such as joy, hope, pride, love, happiness, gratitude, awe and excitement are all naturally found in any sport practice and most competitions as well. Our experiences with positive emotion come from the relationships we have and our engagement/interest in the game, as well as having meaning, being part of a team and achieving goals.

Engagement- Engagement comes naturally in baseball and from the skills that you learn. Being open to trying out new things and being coachable are all important components of engagement. In baseball, having a positive, connected focus allows us to become engaged and stay interested in the learning. For this to happen, the challenge has to be appropriate for the skill level. If the challenge is too easy, it will become hard for the athlete to stay engaged and focused. If the challenge is too difficult, it will also be hard to stay engaged and focused. The challenge must be developmentally and physically appropriate for the athlete. This helps to hold interest, attention and focus. In the previous article, we talked about planned, purposeful practice, which helps to hold interest, attention and focus of the athlete. The challenge for every coach and parent is to design planned, purposeful practice sessions that are physically, mentally and emotionally appropriate for the team and the individual. Remember: To engineer is to design and build.

Relationships- Any successful, legendary coach whom I have talked to has shared with me that the key to their success and the joy of coaching was the relationships that were built. Positive, supportive, caring relationships are key to building a foundation of success. I know we have all heard the line, “it takes a village to raise a child,” and the same is true for any successful athlete. No one gets to the top on their own. It is the relationships and friendships that are made by sport that keep athletes going through the ups and the downs of the baseball sport experience.

Meaning- Meaning can be difficult, yet also very easy because it belongs to the individual. The individual is part of the team and meaning comes from being a part of something bigger than you. It comes from sacrificing for the greater good of the group – for example, playing center field when you would rather be the shortstop. Meaning comes from being part of a family, being part of a team and even helping a teammate. Each athlete on the team has a different and important role for the team. Each role contributes to the success of the team as a whole. It is important to acknowledge and identify each athlete’s role and how they each contribute to the team’s success.

Achievement- Achievement comes from a sense of accomplishment. There are many ways in baseball to measure achievement, such as earning a scholarship, getting to start the game, learning to hit or throw a curve ball, raising your batting average or fielding percentage or meeting your own personal goals. When we achieve, our body is flooded with positive emotions such as joy, pride and satisfaction. We are then motivated to come back for more. Self-esteem is an internal concept, and it is developed from achievement.

When all five PERMA elements are present in a sport environment, we flourish. As parents, coaches and sport leaders we should be aware of our athletes’ personal wellbeing. The PERMA model helps us to understand, identify and create more experiences with positive emotion, engagement, relationships, meaning and achievement in our individual athletes as well as in our team environment.

Coaches/Parent Reflection Questions:

Seligman’s research suggests that when these five PERMA elements are present, individuals flourish. As a parent/coach, looking at your past or current season, how would you rate these five elements?

1. Positive Emotion: What is the feeling that you get when you are at a practice or at a game? What are some things that you have done to create positive emotion within your baseball environment?
2. Engagement: How do you plan and direct purposeful practice towards athlete and team development?
3. Relationships: What relationships are most important to you for individual and team success?
4. Meaning: What would make for a successful sport season?
5. Achievement: How do you celebrate and highlight individual and team success?


Dr. Anne Shadle, Ph.D., is a contributor to the USA Baseball Sport Development Blog, is a certified consultant in Sport Psychology CC-AASP and is a member of the United States Olympic Committee’s Sport Psychology registry. She also serves on the Athlete Advisory Committee for USA Track and Field (USATF) and currently is the President-appointed committee chair for Psychological Services for USATF. She is heavily involved with coaching education and certification for the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) and USATF. Shadle received her Bachelor of Science in Education and Human Sciences from the University of Nebraska, where she also ran track and field. She was a two-time National Champion in the mile and 1500 meter distances before going on to run professionally for Reebok and compete in the 2008 Olympic Trials.


 Engineering Your Sport Environment II
(8/14/2018)
 
   

Engineering Your Sport Environment II


Beyond the Diamond
By Dr. Anne Shadle


Self-Determination Theory

In this blog post, we will explore Deci and Ryan’s Self-Determination Theory (SDT). SDT is a framework that helps us to better understand and predict motivation. We have all heard a coach or teacher say, “This kid is motivated!” or “That kid is just not motivated.” Did you know that the environment that is created by parents/coaches/sport leaders has a DIRECT impact on the motivation of the athlete(s)?

We all want to coach and teach motivated kids. We want to help them grow, develop, and reach beyond their perceived limits. We all know the importance of motivation. What if I told you that all of the motivation you are seeking for yourself and others is right inside of you? Intrinsic motivation is the strongest form of motivation, and we are born with it. For example, I have two young nephews; one is almost three years old, and the other is eight months old. The curiosity in both of them is incredible! They are constantly seeking new challenges and exploring new areas, which drives their mother a little crazy trying to keep track of them. This curiosity, the need to explore and seek out challenges, is intrinsic motivation in its purest form.

Intrinsic motivation is that burning desire found within each and every one of us. We naturally feel motivated and excited about seeking out new challenges, exploring, and playing. Many older adults remember the variety of self-directed baseball games played in their youth (a.k.a. free play). It did not seem to matter if there were only a handful of players. Someone would create a game involving hitting, throwing, and catching. Rules were bent. Structure was stretched so that an uneven number of kids playing could all be involved. This opportunity for ‘free play’ is known today as skill development. What some ‘old-timers’ may not understand is that this is intrinsic motivation. These self-created, make-up baseball games encourage a love for the game and help nurture creativity and curiosity to guide young athletes along their developmental path. If your grandparents are close or an older neighbor is nearby, sit down with them and ask questions about the games they used to play growing up. Ask about the many street games that were played. My guess is those games are still played today. (Feel free to share/email any great stories and games you find to education@usabaseball.com).

Unfortunately, somewhere within our baseball/athletic development we seem to have lost most of this self-directed play and learning. There are many reasons for this, but one major reason lies in the idea that all sport development must be adult-led, developed, and controlled. Instead of giving young athletes the opportunity to choose to create, parents, coaches and sport leaders are often the ones dictating exactly what will happen. In turn, I fear this next generation may lose the pure love for the game of baseball that our grandparents had, as well as the appreciation that baseball is a game for the whole family to enjoy and play together. As coaches, parents and sport leaders we need an awareness to rebuild an environment that fosters intrinsic motivation.

Let’s Understand Intrinsic Motivation:

Our basic human needs include: Autonomy, Belonging and Competence, otherwise known as the ABC’s of Self-Determination Theory. These elements need to be incorporated into the environment. They need to be in the classroom, in the home and on the field. Let’s take a deeper look at the ABC’s of Self-Determination Theory.

Autonomy: Making decisions for yourself, by yourself, and about yourself. Autonomy occurs when the individual feels in control of their life. This is important in our development as a baseball player and throughout our life. We want to help teach our athletes (young and old) how to make good decisions both on and off the baseball field.

Depending on the age of the athlete, allowing athletes to make choices can be simple or complex. What is most important is creating what Deci and Ryan call an autonomy supportive environment. What this means is that athletes are given opportunities to make choices. For example, would you like to do warm-up A or warm-up B, today? Do you want to catch or play first base? What bat should you use? Do you want to do speed drills or a sprint-based workout?

We also want to give our athletes opportunities to make choices in a variety of situations. We want our athletes to feel confident in being able to make a good decision in pressure situations. When it comes time to make those game winning decisions, we increase the chance of success because our players have had the opportunity to practice making decisions. Good decision-making is not new to them. Players feel competent in their ability to make decisions.

Research in Positive Psychology also shows that having autonomy in our environment increases our well-being. This should not be surprising. Think about it…when we are in control, rather than being controlled, and we make good choices, and we feel good! This can help to increase our performance, allowing us the opportunity to take ownership of our choices and allow for self-directed learning which increases our intrinsic motivation.

Belonging (or relatedness, as described in the original Self-Determination Theory): This is the need for connection with others as well as developing positive, supportive interpersonal relationships. Having a place to be and belong to, having a best friend on the team, having coaches and parents who care about you all help to fulfill this basic human need for belonging. Self-Determination Theory connects to Positive Psychology because both focus on healthy psychological development and wellbeing. SDT aligns specifically with the Theory of Flourishing, which we explored in a previous post (Engineering Your Sport Environment Part I). Many old-timers can tell you about the joy they felt in the neighborhood pickup games or the big hit they got when all that mattered was the team you were on that day. The next game it did not matter because you might be on a new team, but in the memory, you came up big for your team that day, you were proud, and you absolutely belonged. It mattered that you showed up to play on that magical day!

Competence: Having and demonstrating knowledge and skill. Deci and Ryan (2000) define competence as, “The need for mastery experiences that allows a person to deal effectively with her or his environment.” To use a high school academic example; if a student were to study intensely for his/her Algebra exam and feel competent about the information being tested, that individual should feel confident going into the exam. If the student has done well on previous exams and knows the information being tested, again that individual will feel more confident.

Competence (having and demonstrating knowledge and skill) builds confidence. An athlete’s training and practice experience helps them to build baseball skills. Coaches should design for their athletes lots of successful experiences with game scenarios, and practice what will be asked of them in the game (i.e. planned, purposeful practice). Each successful experience helps the athlete feel competent, and thus confident in their ability to perform well when it comes time to compete. As the great Coach John Wooden said, “You have not taught until they have learned.” It is our job as coaches, parents and sport leaders to help players develop the skills necessary for success.

Note on Extrinsic Motivation: The purpose of this article was to introduce and discuss Self-Determination Theory. However, it is important we touch on extrinsic motivation. For the purpose of this article, “intrinsic” refers to source of the driver (who is pushing whom), and the source of the reward (intrinsic joy, pride, happiness vs. extrinsic ribbons, trophies, awards). Research and experience tell us that the best practice for building a successful environment is to development and strengthen the internal, intrinsic motivation BEFORE we sprinkle in the external, extrinsic forms of motivation. Internal, intrinsic motivation should be the stronger driving force.

Coaches, parents, and sport leaders have a role in developing and enforcing team rules, league rules, teaching techniques, and potentially dealing with game experience that may include negative emotion. Coaching and parenting involve having knowledge of the best research/science AND the art of understanding when and how to use it. Knowing when and where to apply external, extrinsic motivation is more of an art than supported by science. A lot of coaching models are driven mostly by extrinsic motivation but there is a better, stronger, more sustainable way to build our sport learning environment and that is with internal, intrinsic motivation.

Intrinsic Motivation: Autonomy, belonging and competence lay the foundation for intrinsic motivation, leading to a self-determined individual. Deci and Ryan (2000) share that, “People who are intrinsically motivated tend to show enhancements in performance, persistence, creativity, self-esteem, vitality and general wellbeing when compared to people who are motivated by external rewards.” In Engineering Your Sport Environment (Part I), we asked you to remember a positive sport experience and a negative sport experience. In those memories, you will find examples of when you were using internal, intrinsic motivation and external, extrinsic motivation. What memory fueled your desire to succeed? Ask yourself the question: Who is pushing whom? There is no right or wrong answer here. Just make sure your memories include a mixture of both – YOU and your support network were both fueling your motivation. Apply this to the environment you want to set up for the kids you are coaching, parenting and leading. Be sure to create opportunities that foster intrinsic motivation.


Dr. Anne Shadle, Ph.D., is a contributor to the USA Baseball Sport Development Blog, is a certified consultant in Sport Psychology CC-AASP and is a member of the United States Olympic Committee’s Sport Psychology registry. She also serves on the Athlete Advisory Committee for USA Track and Field (USATF) and currently is the President-appointed committee chair for Psychological Services for USATF. She is heavily involved with coaching education and certification for the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) and USATF. Shadle received her Bachelor of Science in Education and Human Sciences from the University of Nebraska, where she also ran track and field. She was a two-time National Champion in the mile and 1500 meter distances before going on to run professionally for Reebok and compete in the 2008 Olympic Trials.


 What Do We Value?
(8/14/2018)
 
   

What Do We Value?


Beyond the Diamond
By Dr. Anne Shadle


The sport world, and baseball in particular, is filled with incredible, exciting moments. These sport moments bring interest, excitement and fun to many who play the game, coach the game or simply enjoy watching their child play the game. Yet, there is a need for all of us (coaches, parents, sport leaders) to examine the changes needed in our sport system to build a better sport model so that more kids play the game of baseball and have great sport experiences. The first question that must be answered is: What do we value?

The coach and the parent play a central role in the sport experience. Kids learn about baseball and often have their first baseball experience shaped by their first coach (who might also be their parent). For some, this is a great sport experience, leaving the young athlete wanting to come back for more and feeling excited about the next practice. For others, that first experience may be the opposite. Having a negative first experience can cause the young athlete to not want to participate and, at worst, not want to try again, which is something every parent fear. The research on sport is clear: the number one reason why kids begin playing sport is because it is FUN! The number one reason why kids drop out of sport is because it is no longer fun.

It is USA Baseball’s mission to provide a positive and impactful sport experience at every level of the game. It is our mission to have competent, caring coaches who mold and shape our young people into leaders. It is essential that coaches provide a great sport experience that allows our young people to grow into happy, healthy and successful individuals – the same experience every parent wishes for their young athlete.

What do I value?

Take a moment and write three sentences about what you value for your child in the sport experience.

• What do you value as a parent?
• What do you hope baseball provides and teaches your child?
• What do you value in a coach?

As a coach, write three sentences about what you value for your team.

• What do you value as a coach?
• What do you hope baseball provides and teaches your athletes?

Positive Coaching. I am a product of positive coaching. In my Ph.D. work, I studied Positive Coaching and Coaching Philosophy under Dr. Rick McGuire at the University of Missouri. I have personally experienced the benefits of Positive Coaching, and I have witnessed the damaging effects of negative coaching by both parents and by coaches. I had coaches who guided me, encouraged me, trained me, challenged me, taught me and showed me the path to success. My coaches created a safe sport environment where everyone was included. I was taught accountability. I was taught how to build my own mental strength. I was intentionally taught how to work hard. I was taught to be resilient. I was taught that MY effort mattered. I was taught how to take care of my body, how to build a strong, confident mind, and for all of these reasons, I was considered successful as an athlete.

Reflection Question: As a coach or as a parent, what was your best sport experience?


Dr. Anne Shadle, Ph.D., is a contributor to the USA Baseball Sport Development Blog, is a certified consultant in Sport Psychology CC-AASP and is a member of the United States Olympic Committee’s Sport Psychology registry. She also serves on the Athlete Advisory Committee for USA Track and Field (USATF) and currently is the President-appointed committee chair for Psychological Services for USATF. She is heavily involved with coaching education and certification for the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) and USATF. Shadle received her Bachelor of Science in Education and Human Sciences from the University of Nebraska, where she also ran track and field. She was a two-time National Champion in the mile and 1500 meter distances before going on to run professionally for Reebok and compete in the 2008 Olympic Trials.


 What Can We Learn from Baseball?
(8/14/2018)
 
   

What Can We Learn from Baseball?


Beyond the Diamond
By Dr. Anne Shadle


The sport world, and baseball in particular, is filled with incredible, exciting moments. These sport moments bring interest, excitement and fun to many who play the game, coach the game or simply enjoy watching their child play the game. Yet, there is a need for all of us (coaches, parents, sport leaders) to examine the changes needed in our sport system to build a better sport model so that more kids play the game of baseball and have great sport experiences.

The coach and the parent play a central role in the sport experience. Kids learn about baseball and often have their first baseball experience shaped by their first coach (who might also be their parent). For some, this is a great sport experience, leaving the young athlete wanting to come back for more and feeling excited about the next practice. For others, that first experience may be the opposite. Having a negative first experience can cause the young athlete to not want to participate and, at worst, not want to try again, which is something every parent fear. The research on sport is clear: the number one reason why kids begin playing sport is because it is FUN! The number one reason why kids drop out of sport is because it is no longer fun.

It is USA Baseball’s mission to provide a positive and impactful sport experience at every level of the game. It is our mission to have competent, caring coaches who mold and shape our young people into leaders. It is essential that coaches provide a great sport experience that allows our young people to grow into happy, healthy and successful individuals – the same experience every parent wishes for their young athlete.

Coaching Philosophy. Coach/Parent, it is important that you build and write your own Coaching/Parenting Philosophy. It is equally important that parents understand their child’s coach’s sport philosophy. To do this, we start at the beginning. You have already answered the question. What do you value? Hopefully in your coaching/parent statement you have already answered some questions. Here are a few more to help guide your writing:

• At the end of the day, after practice, what are the things that matter to you?

• What will really matter in five, 10, 15 and 20 years?

• What really matters about this year’s baseball experience?

• What are your coaching goals and objectives for today/this season/this year?

• What impact do you want to have on the lives of the athlete’s you coach?

• Who has been the biggest influence on your life, both as a parent and as a coach? Why?

• What would be at least one guiding principle of your life that you would like to see transferred through to your children or team?

• Is there a mantra or quote you live by?

What are the goals and purpose of baseball?

To continue with building your Coaching/Parent Philosophy, take a look at your list of what you value. Now, looking at that list, and the list below, what are the goals and purpose of baseball? What can we learn from baseball and what can we teach our young athletes about life through baseball? Take some time to reflect on your own experiences. Think about all of the things that you have learned from sport. What would you like to teach your athletes? Here are some things you might have missed. Choose and rank your top 5:

• Work Ethic

• Respect

• Confidence

• Responsibility

• Excellence

• Education

• Focus/Concentration

• Interaction with others

• Self-Discipline

• Self-Discovery

• Health/Fitness Wellness

• Leadership

• Competition

• Perseverance

• Optimism

• Mental Strength

• Dedication

• Character

• Integrity

• Sportsmanship

• Personal Growth

• Selflessness

• Teamwork

• Independence

• Interdependence

• Desire to improve

• Ethics

• Commitment (even when it’s hard)

• Determination

• Have fun! Meet new friends!

As coaches and as parents, it is our job to teach and model the process of success. That begins with building a strong foundation on the baseball field and in our homes. Each and every day we have the chance to teach our kids/athletes and talk to them about the items on your list. The things you talk about matter. The language you use, the way your give feedback and encouragement all have a direct impact on the young people you parent or coach. YOU MATTER! I will say that again…COACH, MOM, DAD, YOU MATTER!

Each year, 14 million kids are introduced to the game of baseball through their coach. The child’s experience with you as the coach or parent makes a difference in their life. You both have the power to change a child’s life. The little kids you coach grow up to be big kids. It is hard to believe, but Mike Trout was once a little kid in youth sports learning to play the game of baseball.


Dr. Anne Shadle, Ph.D., is a contributor to the USA Baseball Sport Development Blog, is a certified consultant in Sport Psychology CC-AASP and is a member of the United States Olympic Committee’s Sport Psychology registry. She also serves on the Athlete Advisory Committee for USA Track and Field (USATF) and currently is the President-appointed committee chair for Psychological Services for USATF. She is heavily involved with coaching education and certification for the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) and USATF. Shadle received her Bachelor of Science in Education and Human Sciences from the University of Nebraska, where she also ran track and field. She was a two-time National Champion in the mile and 1500 meter distances before going on to run professionally for Reebok and compete in the 2008 Olympic Trials.


 The Science of GRIT and Why it Matters
(8/14/2018)
 
   

The Science of GRIT and Why it Matters


Beyond the Diamond
By Dr. Anne Shadle


There would be little argument that the topics listed below are important items that lead an athlete to a formula of success. The purpose of this article is to take a brief look at these areas and what science is beginning to show us. First though, take a look at the list below and rank the following items in terms of importance. (Disclaimer: there are no right or wrong answers. This is from your own perspective, what you value and what you think matters most).

1. Talent and natural abilities

2. Preparation and effort

3. Passion and perseverance (We can think of this as a person’s will to do something)

4. Self-discipline and self-regulation

5. Determination and Direction

How does your list look? Why did you organize the topics in the rank order that you did? How would you build your sport curriculum and training plan with teaching these topics included? If we think about this list as a periodization of training mental skills: the periodization is about teaching one skill, leading into the next skill, and building on from the next skill you focus on, talk about and teach from, just like baseball skills.

We all have an idea of what it takes to be successful. This could be sport IQ, genetic gifts, kinetic genius, hard work or even natural talent. However, having these skills does not mean those individuals are or will be the best performers. Science has been trying to give us a better understanding and predication of what it takes to be successful in school, sport, and life. If we look to science to help us identify the keys to high performance and success, we are led to the work of Dr. Angela Duckworth and her research on GRIT.

Dr. Duckworth has found that a significant predictor of success is having GRIT. She shares that “GRIT is passion and perseverance for very long-term goals. GRIT is having stamina. GRIT is sticking with your future goals day in and day out, not for the week, not just for the month, but for years and working really hard to make that future a reality.” In our five-key model (listed above) it appears the third, “Passion and Perseverance” and the fifth, “Determination and Direction,” would be important traits to emphasize and develop.

If having talent does not automatically make you gritty, how do we build GRIT in kids? For an answer to this question, we look to Dr. Carol Dweck’s research on mindset. Dr. Dweck has focused her work around the question, “How does a person deal with failure?” From her work, she has discovered two types of mindsets. One she has termed as “Fixed Mindset” and the other “Growth Mindset.” Her work suggests we should teach our young athletes to be flexible in their thinking and avoid getting stuck in the rigid “all or nothing” thinking. It is suggested that we teach athletes and kids that failure gives us the opportunity to learn. Failures and mistakes are part of the path to success and mastery.

Science now shows us that our brain grows and changes in response to challenge. We are naturally wired to overcome adversity. How we respond to success and failure both as parents and as a developing athlete is important in terms of building neural pathways and patterns of behavior in the brain. Duckworth’s ground-breaking work on GRIT gives us insight on a few important topics.

To expand on this idea, we (coaches, parents, and athletes) in the sport world often get distracted by talent. We often think talent and natural abilities lead to effort and achievement. However, the problem with talent is that kids who are extremely talented in comparison to their peers have a hard time learning the importance of effort and hard work. Success comes easily to them. A little effort is given, and they easily succeed and master new skills. Unfortunately, the message that is received is that “this is easy-I’m a natural.” This idea is also reinforced by coaches, parents, and others simply by saying, “Wow! You are so talented!” Nevertheless, other athletes catch up or the talented kids are now surrounded by other talented kids when they arrive at another level (we see this a lot with college freshman). The rigid “all or nothing” thinking kicks in, appearing as frustration with fixed mindset thoughts like “I shouldn’t have to work that hard. I should naturally excel, and win, as I always have.”

We mend this issue by teaching that effort absolutely matters. The repeated message throughout the sport environment is emphasized by the celebration of improvement within teammates and recognition of effort. In regard to the display of talent, we recognize passion and perseverance. Focus can be on the thrill of being a baseball player, being in your athletic body, hitting well, running fast around the bases, throwing far, the pure joy in simply playing the game, and enjoying time with our friends. If we absorb all of this information and put it into a simple the formula, the formula for success looks like the following:

Success = Preparation x Will x Effort.

Additional information:

To check in with how you are doing with your own grittiness take some time to read, reflect and discuss the questions below:

10 Questions: How Gritty Are You?

1. New ideas and projects sometimes distract me from previous ones.

2. Setbacks don't discourage me. I don't give up easily.

3. I often set a goal bu tlater choose to pursue a different one.

4. I am a hard worker.

5. I have difficulty maintaining my focus on projects that take more than a few months to complete.

6. I finish whatever I begin.

7. My interests change from year to year.

8. I am dilligent. I never give up.

9. I have been obsessed with a certain idea or project for a short time but later lost interest.

10. I have overcome setbacks to conquer an important challenge.

Duckworth, A. (2017). Grit: The power of passion and perseverance. London: Vermilion. For more information check out Dr. Angela Duckworth’s book: GRIT: The Power of Passion and Perseverance.

To check in with how you are doing with your own mindset take some time to read, reflect and discuss the information listed below:



Adapted from Dr. Carol Dweck’s Growth Mindset. For more information check out Dr. Carol Dweck’s book: Mindset: The New Psychology of Success.

Dr. Anne Shadle, Ph.D., is a contributor to the USA Baseball Sport Development Blog, is a certified consultant in Sport Psychology CC-AASP and is a member of the United States Olympic Committee’s Sport Psychology registry. She also serves on the Athlete Advisory Committee for USA Track and Field (USATF) and currently is the President-appointed committee chair for Psychological Services for USATF. She is heavily involved with coaching education and certification for the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) and USATF. Shadle received her Bachelor of Science in Education and Human Sciences from the University of Nebraska, where she also ran track and field. She was a two-time National Champion in the mile and 1500 meter distances before going on to run professionally for Reebok and compete in the 2008 Olympic Trials.