Skip to content mail-pink
(+27) 21 659 5600 mobile-notch-thin

Adolescent Mental Fitness: Growth Mindset, Mental Resilience and Grit

No quod sanctus instructior ius, et intellegam interesset duo. Vix cu nibh gubergren dissentias. His velit veniam habemus ne. No doctus neglegentur vituperatoribus est, qui ad ipsum oratio. Ei duo dicant facilisi, qui at harum democritum consetetur.

Adolescent Mental Fitness Advice to adults

Prioritizing mental fitness among our adolescents is sure to result in a generation of resilient, adaptable, and empowered individuals ready to thrive in an ever-changing world. During adolescence, while considered a transformative phase presenting new opportunities for growth, many challenges are faced on the way to adulthood. Developing a positive mindset, cultivating grit, building mental resilience, and fostering a growth mindset has been an area of focus within the sporting realm for quite some time now. Many youth engagement and development programmes are designed with the understanding that adolescents face difficulty during this period of growth and programmes are aimed at equipping young people with the skills to navigate these obstacles, responsibly.

To empower adolescents more purposefully, there are a variety of approaches adults can adopt to support this crucial period of growth and development. However, developing a positive mindset, cultivating grit, building mental resilience, and fostering a growth mindset are often much easier said than done. The support of parents/guardians, coaches, teachers, and other family members (such as aunts and uncles) are very important in the lives of adolescents. Their roles in an adolescent’s life creates an opportunity for open discussions, reciprocating listening, and conversing, developing trust and investing in their mental fitness. Often, many recommend that offering advice or solving problems disables adolescents from approaching their challenges in their own way. The question is, how can we help our teens navigate daily challenges without taking over completely?

Investing in the mental fitness of adolescents goes way beyond theory. As an action step, we can begin by being present, and actively practicing and promoting a positive mindset ourselves. Of noteworthy mention, the qualities of grit, mental resilience, and a growth mindset may result when parents show their support while their navigate life's challenges. As opposed to offering advice, offering suggestions to an adolescent may provide the teen with more agency around the challenge/problem/issue experienced. Additionally, there are a variety of ways that adults can show their support to adolescents during this time of evolution, namely:

  1. Active Listening: Actively listen to your teen's thoughts, concerns, and experiences without judgment or interruption. Practice empathy and try to understand their perspective. Let them know that you value their opinions and are there to support them.
  2. Open Communication: Encourage open and honest communication by creating a safe and non-judgmental environment. Establish a routine of regular conversations where both parties can express their feelings, share experiences, and discuss any challenges they may be facing.
  3. Respect Boundaries: Adolescence is a time when teenagers are asserting their independence and developing their own identities. Respect their need for privacy and personal space. Give them the freedom to make decisions and learn from their mistakes while providing guidance, when necessary.
  4. Quality Time: Make an effort to spend quality time with your teenager. Engage in activities they enjoy or explore new interests together. Find opportunities for shared experiences that foster positive memories and strengthen your bond. This may serve as the foundation for a positive mindset which encompasses an optimistic outlook, a focus on strengths, and emotional wellbeing. Positive mindsets are known to promote a renewed outlook on life, cultivate self-belief and develop an attitude of gratitude.
  5. Support Their Passions: Showing an interest in your teen's passions and hobbies may assist with developing grit. Whether it's sports, music, art, or academics, encourage their pursuits and offer assistance when needed. Grit allows adolescents to set long-term goals, maintain focus, and persist even when faced with adversity. Grit helps adolescents develop discipline, self-control, and a growth mindset, enabling them to take risks, embrace failure as a learning opportunity, and ultimately achieve their aspirations. Being present in their expression of interests demonstrates an investment in the wellbeing of the adolescent and helps them build a sense of accomplishment and self-worth.

Since adolescence is a time of immense change (both physiologically and psychologically), building mental resilience equips teenagers to adapt to their everyday challenges. Resilience allows them to bounce back from setbacks, cope with stress, and maintain emotional well-being. By developing resilience, adolescents learn to identify and regulate their emotions, seek support when needed, and develop effective coping strategies. Resilience also helps them develop a sense of self-efficacy, enhancing their confidence to navigate life's uncertainties and emerge stronger from difficult experiences.

Resilience leads to the further fostering of a growth mindset, subsequently leading to unlocking potential. Adolescents face a variety of academic, personal, and social challenges, and a growth mindset may allow teenagers to utilize their strengths and intelligence to overcome the daily struggles they are presented with, though this takes practice and commitment. As adults, we can remind our teens about their potential, thereby helping them to reframe obstacles and possible failure as opportunities to learn, become more motivated, and navigate stressful situations more responsibly. This mindset also encourages them to seek feedback, value effort, and take ownership of their personal growth.

As parents, we would like our adolescents to be equipped with all the necessary skills to navigate life's challenges successfully. In today's fast-paced world, equipping teenagers with strong mental fitness is crucial. Developing a positive mindset, cultivating grit, building mental resilience, and fostering a growth mindset can empower adolescents to face their challenges head-on, effectively self-regulate with regards to stress, embracing failure as a steppingstone, and navigating their unique identities in the world.

There is a plethora of resources available on the internet and in many bookstores, however, this can be quite overwhelming. New innovations and research reach our inboxes daily. Headstrong® is an adolescent mental fitness programme designed to support adolescents during this phase of their development to overcome challenges experienced, using sport as a tool to facilitate the delivery of mental fitness skills that adolescents could equip themselves with to manage stress and navigate their opportunities and challenges more responsibly. Most importantly, Headstrong® mental fitness programmes assist in helping youth carve out their unique identities as they form part of the social fabric of this world.


Headstrong® is proud to be partnering with the Sports Science Institute of South Africa (SSISA) for our Headstrong® “Punch-High” July holiday workshop. The Headstrong® “Punch-High” 2023 July workshop will be hosted at the SSISA facilities in Cape Town. The workshop is designed to equip your teen with tools and techniques to cope with challenges and build healthy mental fitness habits for life. Click HERE to Sign-up for our 4 day “Punch High” workshop.

More information about the benefits of this workshop in our next blog!


Yours in Sports Science,

Sports Science Institute of South Africa