Erik Duvander: How I Coach the U.S. Eventing Team With a 'Growth Mindset' after Disappointment at WEG

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rofessor Carol Dweck of Stanford University studies human motivation, delving into reasons why people succeed or don’t, and how having either a “growth mindset” or a “fixed mindset” affects performance. According to Dweck, “…having innate talent is not a goal. Expanding skills and knowledge is.” How teachers communicate with their students can also have a profound impact on how they view themselves and whether they see difficulty as a challenge to rise above, or become defeated and give up.

U.S. Eventing Team Chef d’Equipe Erik Duvander began coaching the U.S. Eventing Team at the end of October 2017 after having worked with the New Zealand Eventing Team for a decade. Duvander, who was born in the USA but raised in Sweden, rode for Sweden for many years, competing at the Olympic Games and World Equestrian Games and winning team gold at the 1993 European Championships at Achselschwang, Germany.

Duvander encourages a growth mindset in his training program so that riders will learn and grow from their experiences and ultimately become better athletes. Reflecting on the recent FEI World Equestrian Games in Tryon, North Carolina, obviously, a gold medal was the goal. But...