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Posted: Tue Feb 14, 2012 3:11 pm
by ara
new to the forum but i thought id try to instigate some conversation, so im not just taking info, but hopefully contributing something!

i am interested in sports psychology. i have done lots of reading and research in to the mindsets of various sports, predominantely soccer, but not weight training (which i also see as a sport, before any one jumps on my back! :smile: ). and on the importance of believing in hard work over "natural talent" (read carol dwecks "mindset", a excellent book on this subject).

the basic idea in dwecks book, and my own belief is that there are 2 mindsets, a fixed mindset and a growth mindset.

behind the fixed mindset is the belief that you have natural talent. this belief will cause you to be more easily put off attempting something that will challenge you. you do not want your percieved natural talent to appear false, you want to protect the label. the failure of a challenge is taken personally. you will also see things as beyond your control (because your ability is pre-set), and feel that no amount of work will get you to a certain point. this is demotivating and will stop you persuing your goals.

a person with the growth mindset however, views everything as improvable. that your talents, physical and mental, and malleable (look in to brain plasticity). people with such a mindset see failure as an opportunity to improve, its not taken personally. they are not afraid to try new things and have no preconcieved notion of a natural superiority to "protect".

that is the background to my view. what i wanted to know is how this relates to weight training...

in soccer, while you may be more psychically endowed in certains ways to an opposing athlete, everything you do within the sport must be learnt, as their is a mental process behind it all. simply, its a man made game how can it come natural to some?

in weight training however, you have mesomorphs, ectomorphs, and endomorphs (my knowledge here is limited, feel free to correct me!). each with differing physical potential (is this the correct word?).

baring this in mind as an example (im hoping people can chip in with better examples haha!), is the motivational process and mindset different for people in weight training and competitive weight lifting?

what are peoples views on mindsets, and natural ability? (although that is not strictly psychology and can be ignored if desired by the moderators?)

ive tried to make this interesting and clear, pull me up if it isnt.

Re: mindset

Posted: Tue Feb 14, 2012 3:43 pm
by Oscar_Actuary
thru life I've been encouraged to do what I'm "naturally" good at. This reinforced what I now understand to be a fixed mindset.
Funny, strength training was never a natural talent for me. And weight loss was never needed as a child. Recently, I have discovered my ability to actually affect both of these substantially.
So, I would say, under the rush of posting at work, that I am evolving to believing more in my own growth potential, and not locked into a fixed mindset.

That being said, I do think there are limits and it's good to know what you excel in. I wouldn't want to try to raise a family on my singing "talent" but that doesn't mean I cant improve it

Re: mindset

Posted: Tue Feb 14, 2012 3:46 pm
by Dub
You're seperating the two things way too much. See this sentence:
"everything you do within the sport must be learnt, as their is a mental process behind it all. "
It was your own quote. Now the funny thing is, that it fits the world of weightlifting as well. It suits it more than well. You can't really do anything in the gym without mental processing and motoric learning. Machines are a bit easier, but you can compare it to plain practise of two persons passing the ball while standing still in football; Very simplyfied and doesn't take too much learning. But the curve goes up. Bench Press, Overhead Press, Deadlifts. They all take some mental processing, since it makes you contract different muscles at different times, use multiple joints and such. To do these things well and with a good technique, it's takes lots of practice, mental visualization and training. Then on the top are Olympic lifts like snatches and cleans. These moves have several parts, almost every joint has big and important motion, and the technique is most hard to learn.

I've been researching and studying the importance of focus and mental practice as of late. It's not that different from the subject, and interesting stuff also.

I can't seem to understand what different body-types have to do with mindset or anything. And they aren't just a weightlifting thing, Ectomorph, mesomorph and endomorph are body types of different people. These somatotypes or whatnot have different kind of characteristics and growth and hormone-related things. They do affect in the world of weightlifting, yes. Especially in bodybuilding. But, it hasn't got much to do with mental work, motivation or focusing.

Re: mindset

Posted: Tue Feb 14, 2012 4:22 pm
by ara
ill clarify.

with regards to the mental processes involved with weight lifting, its my mistake, i didnt mean there is no mental involvement. more that, from my knowledge of, in this example soccer, all the movements must be learnt and processed, the same as in weight training.
however, and this is where i see a difference and ill link it with body types and mindset. as far as my knowledge lets me know, your progress in weight training, along with the quality of your technique and routine, will depend on your body type (possibly amongst other things. again, please correct me if im wrong!). whereas in soccer, your improvement isnt hampered in the same way by physical attributes or body types* and because of the nature of soccer (the constant decisions you are faced with) the mental processes are different.

from a psychological point of view, if a young athlete wanted to reach a high/elite level in weight training, but their body type/shape did not match what is usually required naturally (i recall reading that shorter arms are beneficial in the bench press for example?). they could take on a "fixed mindset". so from this view point, i want to know how prospective weight lifters motivate themselves? are they put off because they lack the right body type? do they continue training despite this? does the body type even matter that much?

no doubt to reach the top of any sport you need to work extremely hard, but im wondering if the concept of a "fixed mindset" is wrong. as some weight lifters might believe in their lack of natural talent but still excel?

*it is possible that mesomorphs do excel in soccer over other body types, but as a coach, body type is not something that is taught to be aknowledged in an athlete. nor to my knowledge, is there any research in to the successes of one body type over another in soccer. its worth mentioning also that while i say physical attributes wont hamper a player in the same way, this is true, but culturally some countries look for certain builds.

i hope thats clarified things! :smile:

Re: mindset

Posted: Tue Feb 14, 2012 7:02 pm
by Jungledoc
ara wrote:whereas in soccer, your improvement isnt hampered in the same way by physical attributes or body types* and because of the nature of soccer (the constant decisions you are faced with) the mental processes are different.
So you're saying that a big fat guy isn't at a disadvantage in learning soccer than a guy with a relatively thin body? I find that hard to believe.

Re: mindset

Posted: Tue Feb 14, 2012 7:07 pm
by Jungledoc
ara wrote:weight training (which i also see as a sport, before any one jumps on my back! :smile: ).
Not jumping on your back.

Weight training is a type of training, a subtype of resistance training, not a sport.

There are three sports that relate directly to weight training; weight lifting (often referred to as "Olympic lifting"), power lifting and strongman. There are many sports that utilize weight training as a technique to improve performance.

Good post, good thread.

Re: mindset

Posted: Wed Feb 15, 2012 12:39 pm
by ara
i think my lack of articulating skills and lack of knowledge on weight training might have compromised what i meant!

a fat bloke will almost certainly be at a disadvantage. i was thinking vertically if im honest, not horizontally! :lol:

i think id be better able to get my point across if someone could clarify what is required for competition lifting? in football fat people wont reach elite level. simple, although weight can be lost. in olympic lifting, power lifting and strongman competitions, does your body type, or other natural endowments, limit you in the same way and stop you reaching an elite level? if so, my original question of if weight lifters have a different mindset is probably redundant!
if not, what i want to know is, baring in mind what ive said about the 2 mindsets, how do you motivate yourself if natural talent really is a factor? youd still have to have a growth mindset, but the difference being that natural talent is a reality you cannot ignore (whereas in soccer, natural talent is a myth). is there a high drop out rate for young lifters for this reason?

for the sake of this thread though, if my above point is redundant... id love to know everyones opinions on mindsets, your own mentality, if you monitor it (positive thinking and visualising for example, as dub mentioned!), your intrinsic/extrinsic motivations (without prying into personal issues!), etc.

Re: mindset

Posted: Wed Feb 15, 2012 3:48 pm
by Oscar_Actuary
u r the soccer xpert, but I doubt soccer is 0% natural and all learned

Re: mindset

Posted: Wed Feb 15, 2012 7:10 pm
by KenDowns
My trainer tells me my build favors deadlift over squat and bench.

Funny thing is, I know what that means but I don't care. I'll be doing all three thank-you-very-much.

Not sure exactly how this relates to your topic, but that's what I've got.

Re: mindset

Posted: Thu Feb 16, 2012 7:51 am
by Jungledoc
Most of the strength sports compete by weight categories. Most of the big numbers are put up by big heavy guys, but look at JasonJones, who posts here. He held a N American record in squat for his weight class (120 something, as I recall). Different body proportions favor different events, like Ken mentioned, and powerlifting is scored by the total of the lifts, so a guy who is better built for DL may not necessarily have a great advantage over someone who is better built for squat.

I'm sure that in every sport there are elements that depend more on natural ability and some that depend on learned skills and trained abilities. I'm also sure that to reach an elite level in most sports it requires a lot of natural gift ("genetic potential" we call it in weight training), and a high level of dedication, hard training and high-quality learning.

But no matter where you are in terms of natural ability, if you really believe that you are in a "fixed" state, it would be much harder to motivate yourself to try to get better. If I didn't believe that there was any hope to improve, I wouldn't bother showing up at the gym. So I suppose that I have a "growth" mindset. However, I'm realistic enough to accept that there are somethings that I have little control over that affect how much I'll be able to achieve. I don't believe that even with the best coaching, and dedication and very hard work that I could, as a 59 year old man, who started training 6 years ago am ever going to be a competitive strength athlete. I just know that I can get better than I am now, so I keep going.

So, I believe that everyone can improve, but I also believe that each of us has limits, genetic and circumstantial that we can't change. But you can't really tell what the limits are, so keep on pushing toward them.