What gives Elite Athletes the Edge? | Janne Mortensen | TEDxOdense

TEDx Talks
21 May 201916:03
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TLDRThe speaker, an elite coach, emphasizes the importance of focusing on personal values and growth rather than solely on results in youth sports. He discusses the negative impacts of a results-oriented mindset, which can lead to stress, anxiety, and depression among young athletes. By working with athletes to identify their values and aligning their actions with these principles, they can make meaningful decisions under pressure and achieve a higher level of self-fulfillment. The coach uses examples of successful athletes to illustrate the effectiveness of this approach and encourages parents and coaches to support the development of the whole person, not just the athlete.

  • πŸ† The speaker specializes in transforming young talents into elite athletes, capable of competing at the highest levels such as the Olympics.
  • πŸ“ž It's usually the parents, not the young athletes themselves, who reach out to the speaker for coaching and guidance.
  • πŸ‘©β€πŸ‘¦ Parents often focus on the outcomes and results of their children's performances rather than the process and personal development.
  • 🀯 The emphasis on results can lead to immense pressure and potentially detrimental mental health effects on young athletes.
  • πŸ”„ The speaker advocates for a shift in mindset from focusing on results to focusing on personal values and development.
  • πŸ‘§ The speaker shares an example of a 14-year-old swimmer struggling with performance under pressure and how the mother's concern highlights the importance of the process.
  • 🎾 A 12-year-old tennis player's lack of motivation and enjoyment in training is attributed to parents' focus on external expectations over personal fulfillment.
  • πŸ€” The speaker emphasizes the importance of self-reflection and understanding one's values as a means to guide decision-making, especially under pressure.
  • πŸ“ The story of Michael, an international badminton player, illustrates how identifying and aligning with personal values can improve performance and resilience.
  • πŸ‡ Para-athlete Caroline's journey shows the importance of self-reliance and taking personal responsibility for one's training and development.
  • πŸ‘¨β€πŸ‘§ The speaker, as a parent and a coach, acknowledges the challenge of breaking away from a fixed mindset and the impact parents can have on their children's development.
Q & A
  • What is the primary focus of the speaker's coaching approach?

    -The speaker focuses on transforming young talents into elite athletes by helping them understand the importance of the process over the results and guiding them to develop a strong sense of self and values.

  • Why does the speaker argue that focusing on results can be detrimental to young athletes?

    -Focusing on results can create immense pressure and a fixed mindset that values achievements over personal growth and experience, which can ultimately hinder athletes from reaching their full potential.

  • What is the role of parents according to the speaker's experience?

    -Parents often act as a source of pressure by asking questions centered on results and achievements, which can contribute to a result-oriented mindset in young athletes.

  • How does the speaker describe the impact of a result-oriented approach on mental health?

    -The speaker mentions that a result-oriented approach can lead to increased anxiety, depression, and stress among young athletes, as they constantly feel the need to perform and achieve to be accepted.

  • What is the 'big secret' the speaker reveals for achieving success in sports?

    -The 'big secret' is that one must become someone before they can become something, meaning that personal development and understanding who they want to be are crucial before striving for specific achievements.

  • What method does the speaker use to help athletes like Michael improve their performance under pressure?

    -The speaker uses mental training to help athletes uncover their values, which then guide them in making decisions, especially during challenging situations and under pressure.

  • Can you explain the three-step process the speaker uses when working with elite athletes?

    -The three-step process involves: 1) Identifying the basic values one wants to live by, 2) Defining how these values manifest in action, and 3) Consistently living and acting by these values, particularly during tough times.

  • How did the speaker's work with Caroline, a world-class para athlete, help her improve her performance?

    -The speaker helped Caroline become more self-dependent and take responsibility for her training. By focusing on her own feedback and evaluating herself before considering others' opinions, Caroline learned to trust herself, which is crucial for success.

  • What is the speaker's advice for parents to support their children's development in sports?

    -The speaker advises parents to be mindful of their choice of words and timing, as these can significantly impact the young athletes' mindset. Parents should encourage their children to understand what's truly important and help them figure out who they want to be.

  • What personal realization did the speaker have while bicycling with their daughter?

    -The speaker realized that they were only cheering when their daughter did something correctly, and not for her attempts and persistence when she failed. This made the speaker reflect on the importance of acknowledging effort and process over just the end result.

πŸ… Developing Elite Athletes: The Role of Parents and Coaches

The first paragraph introduces a coach's perspective on nurturing young talent into elite athletes. The coach emphasizes the importance of not just focusing on results but also on the process and the athlete's mentality. A common issue highlighted is parents' tendency to prioritize results over the athlete's experience and growth, which can lead to a fixed mindset detrimental to the athlete's long-term development. The coach shares an anecdote about a 14-year-old swimmer whose mother seeks help to improve his performance under pressure, illustrating the need to address both the athlete's and the parents' attitudes towards competition and success.

πŸ€” The Pitfalls of a Results-Oriented Mindset

In the second paragraph, the discussion continues on the negative impacts of focusing solely on results. The coach points out that parents often teach their children that fulfilling others' expectations is more important than personal well-being. This approach can lead to immense pressure and a lack of enjoyment in sports, which are critical factors contributing to mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. The coach argues for a shift in focus towards personal values and self-awareness, using the example of a young tennis player who lost motivation due to the emphasis on outcomes rather than the joy of playing.

πŸ’‘ Discovering Personal Values for Peak Performance

The third paragraph delves into the coach's methodology for helping athletes achieve peak performance by identifying and aligning with their personal values. The coach works with athletes like Michael, a badminton player, to develop a strong willpower, determination, and focus on development. By understanding and acting according to their values, athletes can make better decisions, especially under pressure. The coach also shares the story of Caroline, a world-class para-athlete, who learned to trust her own instincts and feedback over her trainer's, leading to a more self-dependent and responsible approach to her training and performance.

πŸ‘¨β€πŸ‘§β€πŸ‘¦ The Impact of Parental Support and the Three-Step Process

The final paragraph addresses the role of parents in supporting their children's journey to becoming elite athletes. The coach acknowledges the challenge of changing mindsets and the potential for parents to unintentionally undermine the athlete's mental training. A three-step process is introduced for athletes to live by their values, even during tough times: identifying core values, understanding how these values manifest in actions, and consistently acting upon them. The coach also reflects on their own experience as a parent, realizing the importance of celebrating effort over outcome, and emphasizes the collective responsibility to guide young people towards understanding what truly matters in their pursuit of excellence.

πŸ’‘Fixed mindset
A fixed mindset refers to the belief that abilities and intelligence are static and unchangeable. In the video, the speaker highlights how focusing solely on results fosters a fixed mindset in young athletes, leading them to believe their worth is tied to their achievements rather than their efforts and development.
Performance is the act of carrying out a task or function. The video discusses how parents and coaches often prioritize performance outcomes over the process, which can be detrimental to young athletes. The speaker emphasizes the importance of focusing on personal growth and values instead.
Values are core beliefs or standards that guide behavior. The speaker stresses the importance of identifying and living by personal values to achieve true success and balance. This approach helps athletes make meaningful decisions, especially under pressure, as seen in the examples of Michael and Caroline.
πŸ’‘Mental training
Mental training involves psychological techniques and strategies to enhance performance and personal growth. The speaker uses mental training to help athletes discover their values and align their actions with these values, leading to better performance and personal fulfillment.
πŸ’‘Parental influence
Parental influence refers to the impact parents have on their children's attitudes and behaviors. The video highlights how parents' focus on results can undermine their children's development. The speaker advocates for parents to support their children's process and effort rather than just outcomes.
Pressure is the psychological stress or urgency experienced in challenging situations. The speaker notes that excessive focus on results creates immense pressure on young athletes, which can lead to anxiety, depression, and stress. Instead, focusing on values and the process can help manage pressure more effectively.
πŸ’‘Elite athletes
Elite athletes are individuals who compete at the highest levels in their sport. The speaker works with elite athletes, helping them focus on personal values rather than just performance results. Examples include Michael, a badminton player, and Caroline, a para-athlete, who both benefited from this approach.
Self-dependence is the ability to rely on oneself for decision-making and action. Caroline's story illustrates the importance of self-dependence, as she learned to trust her own feedback and take responsibility for her training, leading to improved performance and personal growth.
Motivation is the drive to achieve goals or complete tasks. The video discusses how young athletes can lose motivation when overly focused on results. By shifting the focus to values and personal growth, athletes can regain motivation and find joy in their sport.
πŸ’‘Result-oriented approach
A result-oriented approach focuses on the outcomes rather than the process. The speaker argues that this mindset is counterproductive and can harm young athletes' mental health and performance. Instead, emphasizing the journey and personal values leads to more sustainable success.

The speaker specializes in transforming young talents into elite athletes, capable of performing at the highest levels.

Parents often call the speaker for help, rather than the young athletes themselves.

A 14-year-old swimmer struggles with performance under pressure, leading to frustration.

Parents' focus on results can create a fixed mindset that hinders athletes' development.

The speaker emphasizes the importance of shifting focus from results to the process of performance.

Parents often ask result-oriented questions in front of their children, which can be detrimental.

A 12-year-old tennis player loses motivation and enjoyment due to parental pressure.

The speaker discusses the negative impact of focusing too much on results, such as compromised self-worth.

External factors like competition, weather, and injuries are often out of an athlete's control.

The World Health Organization predicts that by 2030, depression will be the leading global disease.

The speaker observes an increase in young people showing symptoms of anxiety, depression, and stress.

The concept that one must 'become someone' before 'becoming something' is introduced as crucial for personal development.

Mental training is used to help athletes identify their values and desired identity.

Case study: Michael, an international badminton player, learns to stay focused on his values under pressure.

Case study: Caroline, a world-class para-athlete, learns self-dependence and personal responsibility.

The speaker outlines a three-step process for athletes to live by their values, especially during tough times.

The importance of parents' words and timing in shaping athletes' mindset is highlighted.

The speaker shares a personal anecdote about cheering only when his daughter succeeded, not when she tried and failed.

The speaker concludes by urging the audience to help young people understand what's truly important in life.

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