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Growth Through Failure: Rewarding VULNERABILITY in Athletes

As coaches and parents, there are many things we can do to help our athletes reach their potential. One of those things includes instilling in them a growth mindset through how we teach them to respond to failure. Encouraging athletes to open themselves up to try new things and to push themselves outside of their comfort zone will set them up for success in their sport and give them the confidence to see 'failure' as a part of the process of progress!



Our approach at 360U is built on relationships with our athletes. In order to help our athletes reach their full potential, we first need to gain their trust so that they are willing to open themselves to our instruction and feedback. Even more importantly, when we get our athletes to be vulnerable with us during lessons, they don't fear failure because they aren't afraid of a negative, demoralizing response when they do fail. We REWARD our athletes for failing when they have the courage to do something different, new, or hard. Once your athletes (or kids) aren't afraid to fail in front of you, you'll start seeing results, progress AND confidence from them day in and day out.


Growth does NOT come from only doing what we know we can do, growth comes from not being afraid of trying what we can't YET do. The growth we see at 360U comes from consistent encouragement and positivity EVEN through the struggles and failures that come along with progress! Parents, coaches and adults play such a pivotal role in setting the stage for how athletes view their failure, and in sports there WILL be failure! Let's help them view failure as an opportunity to learn, improve and get better!


We certainly are still all about accountability for actions and having healthy expectations for our athletes, so this doesn't mean we 'let them off the hook' for everything that happens. However, if they're putting everything they have into what they're doing with great ATTTITUDE and EFFORT, we really need to make sure our expectations of them are realistic and fair. If their failure is a result of lack of effort or a poor attitude, those discussions will look a little different than what was outlined above. Those conversations will be geared towards behavior-based expectations and can give more 'tough love'. In all cases, kids are still kids and need to be handled with carefully, always rooted in care for them as a person first. We still would look at a situation like this through a lens of "what else is going on" or "let's get to the bottom of this" instead of simply writing that athlete off for their actions.


Sports are such an incredible vehicle for us to teach our athletes life lessons that will prepare them for so many challenging situations they will face in their lives to come.


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