“What boots do you wear?” is a question for those engaging in sporting endeavours. As we all know, athletes must be adequately prepared for both the physical and mental requirements of their sport in order to perform well. The physical aspects are well-documented; less clear is the extent to which mental dispositions can affect athletic performance.
In a physical context, if one tag is missing from the boot, the wearer is no longer balanced and performance can suffer as a result. Likewise, if the mental side of their preparation is not complete, their performance can also be affected.
Labelling each of these tags with Habits of Mind represents the mindful dispositions required for peak performance in those endeavours, including preparation and review. Just as the tags are necessary for physical performance, so too the Habits of Mind are essential for fulfilling potential.
The Habits of Mind are indeed the ‘key to improved performances.’ Successful athletes in any field are persistent; they listen to coaches and teammates; they review their performances and make appropriate changes, and they are willing to take chances when opportunities arise. These dispositions are represented by the tags, but importantly the laces – essential for keeping on the shoe as an integral part of the athlete’s performance – represent teamwork, for without the ability to work and think interdependently, a team can fail.
If an athlete trains well, but doesn’t eat well, their performance is not optimised. Even one missing component can throw out the vital balance needed for optimal physical performance.
Equally important is the attitude and the dispositions towards learning and improving in their chosen sport.
The final question of “What boots do you wear?” then, asks athletes to consider their mental approach to their sport, both in preparation, performance and review. Are they bringing their A-Game to each and every sporting endeavour?
Possible use: Coaches, Physical Education teachers, classroom teachers.
The basic premise is ‘developing and applying mindful dispositions for successful completion of a task or achievement of a goal.’ Everyone can achieve higher levels of success (be it sporting or otherwise) if their attitude is right and they are disposed toward listening, learning, improving, and reviewing their results. Many discussions could be conducted about examples of how athletes apply (or don’t apply) mindful dispositions to succeed in their sporting endeavours.