Embracing challenges and dealing with disappointment were among themes covered in a Sports Seminar here at King’s this week.

Ms Michelle Bird, who is our Head of Cross Country and Athletics, gave the motivational talk to Sports Scholars, students, and staff in the Old Palace Lecture Theatre on February 12th.

Ms Bird’s inspiring presentation was held just days after we welcomed international athlete, Alex Melloy, into school to speak to Sports Scholars ahead of him competing in the World University Cross Country Championships in Oman.

Ms Bird drew upon Dr Carol Dweck’s research on fixed and growth mindsets to help inspire and guide athletes towards personal and professional development. The essence of the talk was to encourage students to introspect their thought patterns, especially in the face of failure and adversity, and to adopt a more resilient, growth-oriented approach to their sporting careers.

Ms Bird said: “I began by defining the two mindsets by Dr Dweck: the fixed mindset, which is where individuals believe their abilities, intelligence, and talents are static traits, leading them to avoid challenges and fear failure; and the growth mindset, which is where individuals see their qualities as malleable, viewing challenges as opportunities for growth and learning. Practical strategies for reframing thoughts were shared, encouraging athletes to replace self-defeating thoughts like “I can’t do this” with growth-oriented affirmations like “I can’t do this yet, but I can learn.”

“I highlighted the importance of embracing challenges, which are crucial for development and improvement. Students were reminded that every great athlete has faced and overcome numerous setbacks; what sets them apart is their resilience and willingness to persist. Students were called to dedicate themselves to continuous improvement, underpinned by hard work, effort, and an unwavering belief in their ability to grow. They were encouraged to view their sports journey as a pursuit of victories and a platform for personal growth and development, fostering a mindset that would serve them well in and out of the sporting arena.”

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