During our training sessions at MPH101, we like to show "mindset" videos at the beginning of class to motivate and help our athletes work through the difficult task of improving their skill set. One of my favorite resources to learn about Mindset and Motor Learning concepts is a site called Train Ugly. It was created by Trevor Ragan and he has put together numerous articles and Video Essays on these concepts. Coach Dragum and I encourage you to visit that site often.
In the clip above, you see an 8 year old boy learning to complete a back flip on his mountain bike. You see him try and fail, try and fail, try and fail until he finally coordinates his jump into a successful attempt, and as you can see joyous celebration afterwards. There is a lot here that we could discuss about skill acquisition and how he coordinated a successful back flip on his mountain bike, (we will come back to that in a future blog), but for this blog, I would like to point out his mindset. What did you notice after his first failed attempt? Is he distraught? Overcome with fear? Telling his parents "That's it, we are outta here!." No, it's the total opposite of that. He is enthusiastic and resilient, making more attempts to "get it." And he is ultimately rewarded. What some may see as "failures", are in reality, opportunities to learn.
In one of Trevor Ragan's video essays, Shift Happens, he points out that there is a shift from when we are young kids to when we become teenagers and adults, in which we learn to fear failure. Kids, when they learn to walk or ride a bike, fall down, laugh and get back up and try it again, repeatedly until they learn the skill. However, over time, youthful exuberance tends to fade, and we become adverse to taking risks and putting ourselves “out there” for everyone to see. We begin to worry about how we are perceived by others and look to protect our status among our peers. Why does this happen? One of the reasons, according to Ragan, is due to how parents, teachers, and coaches communicate rewards and punishment for actions. When you watched the video, what do you think the parents feedback on the boy’s attempts were like? How did the parents approach their son’s failed attempts? What was the mom’s reaction after the successful attempt at the end? We cannot be certain but I did not get the sense that there was any negative coaching involved here. It seemed like a good setting for skill development, where Theo was allowed to figure things out, and not be afraid to fail. At MPH101, we continually work to provide a learning environment that challenges our students current capabilities and encourages them to "Put themselves out there". To learn how to deal with their "Lizard Brain."
In December, We encourage you to attend the Elite Pitching Coaches Boot Camp at the Texas Baseball Ranch. It is always an informative weekend, and we believe that you will have the opportunity to learn from Trevor Ragan at this year’s event.
- Hunter Hoy