The following is an excerpt from “Cut From the Team? Here’s how to deal with it.” For the full article, click here.
The sun is shining, the weather warming up, pools are being open, and the shorts and sandals are being taken out of the closet. But before we dive into three months of swimming, golfing, cottage getaways, and beach vacations, young hockey players will find out what team they’ll be playing for come September.
Yes, it’s tryout season. Tryout season brings many ups and downs, as athletes celebrate making a team, or deal with getting cut. Many athletes struggle with the devastating blow of being cut from a team. But learning how to properly deal with it will not only help you feel better in the short term, it will also turn you into a better player in the long term.
Struggle leads the way for growth. Overcoming one challenge will make you more confident for the next. The trick is knowing how to handle it, and according to sports psychologist Dr. Justin Anderson from Premier Sport Psychology, it’s all mental.
Over the years, Dr. Anderson has worked with several professional and Olympic athletes to develop a champion mindset. I asked Dr. Anderson how to overcome getting cut from a team. What I got were the five key factors that he, and the rest of the Premier Sport Psychology team, use to turn an athlete’s failure into success:
1) Growth vs Fixed Mindset
One of the first things Dr. Anderson looks for is whether the athlete has a growth mindset or a fixed mindset. Someone with a fixed mindset looks at things in black and white. A situation is either good or bad in their eyes. When being cut, an athlete with a fixed mindset will look at it negatively. They may think that they’re just not good enough, lose motivation and even give up.
The mindset an athlete wants to develop is a growth mindset. Growth mindset gives athletes the ability to find opportunity in adversity. Dr. Anderson teaches athletes to “recognize that not making a team, while it can be emotionally draining, may in fact lead to more efficient and effective growth.”
When faced with rejection from a team, athletes with a growth mindset will ask themselves how they can learn and grow from the situation. Reflecting on the situation objectively is a good way to learn the growth mindset. Dr. Anderson notes that growth will come “particularly if people can reflect on it objectively.” With the growth mindset, athletes can look at getting cut as an opportunity to learn and grow, ultimately becoming a better player.