The Power of “YET”

Tim Hiller By Co-Founder & Director of Athlete Development, Tim Hiller

When it comes to working with student-athletes, as we do at Next Level Performance, there are two different approaches to coaching, mentoring, and developing future leaders—a performance approach or a mastery approach. These terms were developed by Dr. Amber Strain, the Senior Director of Cognitive Science at Decooda, and as you’ll read below, the performance approach is becoming all too prevalent in our society today:
  • Performance approach: The performance approach takes on a near-term focus. ‘Learn just what you need to get the good grade and be done.’ This creates a goal of learning for the sake of achievement or doing something for a short-term outcome.
  • Mastery approach: The mastery approach takes on a long-term focus. The goal is learning for the sake of deep understanding and getting better. It’s instilling in students a desire to make sure that they understand a skill or topic as best they can.

The challenge we see with the performance approach is that when a student does not get an A or win a game, they count it as failure. It tends to discourage them and seep into their self-definition and worth. While on the contrary, the mastery approach always takes on the long term view of “Let’s learn from this” and pushes the student to continue to grow. A mistake is not a failure unless it is repeatedly repeated—and every day, every class, every training session, and every game is an opportunity to grow and get better. The mastery approach is all about embracing the process and enjoying the journey each step of the way.

In his best-selling book Drive, author Dan Pink outlines that all of us are looking for three things as we work and pursue our goals—autonomy (being self-directed), mastery (improving at something important to us), and purpose (knowing that what we do matters). At Next Level, we are seizing the opportunity to help athletes master their craft—improving at something important to them—their sport—and while we work, we are helping them discover their purpose—building a deep understanding that they matter as people and can use their gifts and talents to benefit and serve others around them.

It is here, in the midst of this mastery approach, that we unlock the power of the word YET.

As we challenge our Next Level athletes to grow on and off the field, we encourage them to realize that they are well on their way to fulfilling their potential—but they are not there YET. They are on a journey of life, and working for an athletic goal and growing as a leader—these are steps in the process of that journey. We want to push every athlete to learn from every experience, and to carry those lessons forward on their path toward becoming a better student, athlete, leader, and person.

Great research by Dr. Carol Dweck shows that when students believe they can improve and grow—they learn faster, learn more, and have a positive experience along the path of growth. At Next Level Performance, it is our goal to harness this belief and instill it in every athlete we have the honor to work with.

There is greatness within every Next Level student-athlete, they just aren’t there YET…and each day they are taking more steps to fulfilling their purpose and becoming all they are destined to become!

CLICK HERE to view Next Level Performance’s Summer 2015 Training Guide!

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