Updates to AthleteTypes Performance Traits

Here at AthleteTypes, we adhere to the principle of CANI, Constant And Never-ending Improvement.  In the spirit of CANI, we are improving our Performance & Growth Traits we measure and provide coaching and training upon.

Throughout 2018, we conducted extensive research on more than 100,000 athlete profiles and coach focus groups to ensure our measured Performance & Growth Traits were the most accurate and helpful to athletic mindset coaching and development available in the market today.  As a result of these efforts, we are making the following changes and improvements:

  1. Growth Trait Name Change:

  2. New additions to Growth Traits:

  3. Traits removed from Growth Trait status:

Here is the updated visual of the significant mental intangibles measured and leveraged by the AthleteTypes system:

Military Combat Growth Trait will now be called Grit

When we originally named this trait, we wanted to honor its military heritage as it was developed on a project we did with the US Navy SEALs to measure one’s readiness for combat missions. This metric boiled down to one’s resilience, ability to adapt and persevere in tough circumstances, and never give up until the goal is reached. We received many questions about what it actually measured, with some thinking it measured whether one was well-suited for military service.  To clear things up and leverage a term that has become more well-known in recent years, mostly due to Angela Duckworth’s research and book,  we are changing this measurement’s name to Grit.

New Growth Traits include Growth Mindset, Rules Following, & Adaptability

The Most Important Trait of Coachable People: a Growth Mindset

At this point, most of us have heard the term “Growth Mindset” from Carol Dweck’s academic research and best-selling book, Mindset.

If you are familiar, you will recall Dweck found that people tend to adopt one of two mindsets: the “fixed” mindset or the “growth” mindset.

The fixed mindset holds that human qualities and talents are pretty much set in stone; the growth mindset provides that they can be improved through effort.

For example, a student with a growth mindset believes she can become better at math by studying harder, whereas someone with a fixed mindset believes she is simply poor at math and does not put in the extra effort.

Asking for help with math is difficult for the student with a fixed mindset, because she believes it reflects poorly on her personally to “not be good at math,” in other words, it shows a weakness.

The student with a growth mindset, on the other hand, has little trouble asking for help. In her mind, a willingness to learn and develop an area of weakness is an asset, not an admission of failure.

How Does Mindset Relate to Coachability?

Our research has found that having a Growth Mindset is of paramount importance to one’s coachability.

People with a growth mindset remove pride from the equation.

Instead of letting their ego be wrapped up in whether or not they know it all, they make themselves open to asking questions, receiving honest feedback, and making positive changes.

Being coachable is a vulnerable, humble state. Those that choose a growth mindset and receiving feedback without pride helps them develop to their fullest potential.

How Mindset of Affects Athletes

Can Mindset be Changed from Fixed to Growth?

In a word: YES.

Dweck explains that “Mindsets are just beliefs…they’re powerful beliefs, but they’re just something in your mind, and you can change your mind.”

AthleteTypes has discovered that the first step to change is understanding, e.g., one must first understand they have a fixed mindset, and that it is holding them back, before wanting to change to a growth mindset.

We added growth/fixed mindset questions to our TAP assessment in early 2017 and then analyzed the results of tens of thousands athletes to develop our scoring scale.

Now, users will be able to see exactly where they score on the Fixed/Growth Mindset scale.

For those that have a fixed mindset and want to move more towards a growth mindset, or even those with a growth mindset that want to further hone their growth mindset, the AthleteTypes Mental Gym has a series of online workouts designed to develop a growth mindset.

Another new Growth Trait being added to our Coachability score: Rules Following

This measurement has been part of the TAP assessment for decades and we decided to add it as a Growth Trait and into our Coachability scoring.  This trait focuses in on how one feels about the importance of rules including adherence to rules.

Those that score high in Rules Following believe that rules are important for society, that they were put in place by people in authority for a good reason, and that they should be followed.

Those that score low in Rules Following, will see rules as mere suggestions, guidelines, or in some extreme cases, they ignore rules altogether.

Our focus groups showed that this characteristic is important to coachability.  Consider this example:

A basketball coach instructs the team on the technique and importance of “boxing out” the shooter during a free throw.  Those players that naturally are inclined to follow rules, will be more likely to consistently follow the coaching rule of boxing out the shooter.  On the other hand, those that view rules as mere suggestions, will likely not consistently comply with the coaching rule of boxing out the shooter.

Rules Following has also been added as a measured growth trait displayed in the Performance Traits scoring section of our reports and there are mental gym workouts designed to hone this characteristic.

This measurement has also been part of the TAP assessment for decades and we decided to add it as a Growth Trait and into our Mental Performance scoring.  This trait focuses in on how flexible and adaptable one is during athletics and other fluid situations.

Those that score high in Adaptability will be flexible to make the needed adjustments during competition.  They will also be good at grasping the big picture and connecting the dots among different items. These athletes will usually have multiple “moves” or “paths forward” in their sport and can easily adapt to novel situations or stimuli.

Those that score low in Adaptability, will need lots of rote practice to learn a skill and will likely prefer to follow a set path.  In other words, they likely will perform the same “move” or “path forward” in all situations in a predictable manner. For instruction, they will need step-by-step instruction in a “building blocks” process.

Our focus groups showed that this characteristic is important to performance during competition.  Consider this example:

A football coach instructs a wide receiver on a certain “fake inside, go outside” move to get open on a new goalline play they plan on running in the next game.  The coach asks the player to practice it a number of times until mastered. Come game time, a player high in Adaptability will be able to quickly know when that move will work depending on where the defensive back covering him sets up right before the ball is snapped.  A player low in Adaptability will likely use that learned move regardless of where the defensive back lines up.

3 Traits Being Removed from Growth Trait Status

As the AthelteTypes Mental Gym has evolved, it became clear that it is helping athletes develop the characteristics and skills needed to reach their full potential.  Some traits are better suited than others for development through learning and effort. Although the traits of Learning Aptitude, Competitive Desire, and Practicality are important to one’s makeup and success, we determined that we did not want the system to focus on them as much for further development.  Consequently, we are replacing them with the traits previously mentioned: Growth Mindset, Rules Following, and Adaptability.  These traits are better candidates for development and improvement to help individuals reach their full potential in athletics and life.

These traits will still be available for coaches to view in other areas of our team system including the CSV file downloads found under the Manage Team page.


We are confident that these improvements to our Performance & Growth Traits, and the accompanying Mental Gym workouts, will help athletes and teams even better reach their full potential going forward.


Featured Image for this post: Photo by Jeffrey Lin on Unsplash

By |2019-03-20T17:54:20+00:00December 28th, 2018|Performance Trait, Product Update|

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