I think you’ll agree that youth sports is becoming more and more competitive with a heavy focus on winning and losing. The problem is that we lose track of our true objective: ensuring that kids have a positive experience in order to learn and grow. Implementing a growth mindset, rather than a competitive mindset, will have a much longer lasting impact on a child, which is as simple as following these four steps to creating lifelong learners. The impact of these steps have created a valuable experience for athletes, coaches and parents through the game of basketball. Many athletes have gone on to  expand their education at some of the highest ranked universities in the county. Here, we are going to share the four steps to creating lifelong learners to set you athletes up for longterm success.

Whether it be students or athletes, we often see individuals who achieve greatly in many aspects of their lives because they thrive on it, turning into perfectionists. Then, on the other end of the spectrum, we see the kids that struggle immensely and get intimidated because they aren’t succeeding in a way they want to. On both spectrums, barriers go up to the most essential tool: the learning process. These barriers go up because they are not willing to take risks or make any mistakes because they are afraid of failures. In order to avoid this, our youth need to be taught to embrace the learning process.

At Watts Basketball, we focus on teaching learning as a process and developing our student athletes into lifelong learners. Athletes who embrace this process make a commitment to improving, are willing to make mistakes, learn from their mistakes and make a plan for development. When people in any discipline or field adopt this process, we found that they not only achieve their goals, but it creates an environment where they consistently over achieve, removing perceived barriers and limitations.

Step 1: Make a commitment: when you commit to improvement, you have a clear path of what you need focus on. This allows you to set goals and improve faster.

Step 2: Give your best effort: Effort is necessary in whatever activity you’re improving. Whether it be a drill during practice or an assignment for school, the best effort is the most effective.

Step 3: Look at how you did: You have to honestly evaluate how the activity went, how committed you were and how much effort you put in. There can’t be any embarrassment because then there will be no improvement.

Step 4: Make a plan: There has to be a plan for further improvement and development otherwise people get stagnant and they fall back into bad/old habits. Making a plan avoids this because they are able to then repeat the process over and over again.

Obviously, the earlier students, athletes, and other people embrace this process, the better. But what we found in the work we do is that the stress and pressure from time limits, politics, etc. dissipate when the process is embraced. We then find ourselves and the people that we work with accomplishing great things regardless of circumstances.

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Watts Basketball is Seattle’s premiere institution for player development. Through basketball, we teach strength, concentration, tenacity, and enjoyment of the game. We do all this because we believe basketball skills empower personal growth. That’s what makes us Gamechangers. For Life.

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