Playing Golf Illustrates a Growth Mindset

Posted on: Thu, 07/06/2017 - 09:00

Image removed.After many years away from the sport, I began playing golf again when my adult children encouraged their dad to take up golf as a hobby.  Together, my husband and I embarked on our golf journey. We took lessons, visited the driving range, and played courses around Frederick County. There were moments of frustration and moments of pure joy, but the reality is that my golf game is “consistently inconsistent!”

When FCPS decided to start a golf league, I made every excuse I could to avoid joining—from my busy schedule to the fear that staff would not want to play a round with the superintendent.  The reality was that I did not think I was good enough to play with non-family members because I would be embarrassed. Fortunately, Leslie Pellegrino had also taken up golf and the two of us decided to join the league as partners. Three years later, I am so glad that we did.  It is a truly enjoyable way to meet staff from across the system and to play golf regularly. All of my fears were baseless as is often the case in many areas of life! And upon reflection, I have discovered the true power of a “growth mindset” through my golf league experiences.  Consider these examples:

  • Ability is not fixed.  I have not corrected my slice, yet. By playing golf more often, I can see the improvement in my game and feel more confident that I will continue to improve. And I believe that someday, I will be able to overcome that slice!
  • Hard work and practice matter.  Improvement throughout the season is evident. I continue to take lessons to learn more about ways to improve my game. And when I practice, I can see the difference in my game.  In fact, I finally broke 50 (on nine holes) for the first time ever!
  • Mistakes happen, so learn from them.  Bad shots and bad rounds will happen. I have learned the importance of accepting that fact and not trying to make up for the bad shot with my next one or believing that every round will be a bad one.  Playing the same course frequently also gives me the opportunity to try different approaches on holes where I know my “mistakes” happen frequently!
  • Collaboration is critical.  The great thing about the FCPS Golf League is that we play with people who have different levels of golf experience.  I receive tips from other golfers that help me improve my game.  I can learn by watching others too! And one of my favorite golf experiences is playing “best ball” rounds where everyone can make a contribution.
  • Mindset matters!  If I believed that my golf ability was fixed, I would quit tomorrow in frustration.  Knowing that practice will improve my game and hence my ability makes a huge difference.  I may still get frustrated by a bad shot, but that does not translate into believing that shot epitomizes my entire game. When it comes to golf, no one is perfect.

If a growth mindset can make a difference for me with my golf game, what could it do for every student in their academic career? Tell me what you think on Twitter @FCPSMDSuper. And whether or not you agree with this post, if you enjoyed it, please feel free to share it on Facebook or Twitter.

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