#019: Developing a Growth Mindset with “Deliberate Practice”

#019: Developing a Growth Mindset with “Deliberate Practice”

This week on Gymwright LIVE, we interview Logan Gelbrich of Deuce Gym and break down how to develop a deliberate mindset and practice so you can achieve mastery in both your business and your life.

This show was recorded live on Gymwright’s Facebook page on Friday, February 9, 2017.



  deliberate practiceImage Credit: DEUCE Gym

3:00 Why is the framework of Deliberate Practice so important for all of us to know?

Logan discusses the environment he’s attuned to – this unfortunate state of the majority (and the topic of his soon-to-be-released book Go Right) where most people are living this very sub-optimal low-performance expression of themselves. “It’s sad when people give up on their best selves,” says Logan. “And it’s also sad when people rationalize that – deciding in their heads that they’re going to give up on their dreams but also that they’re being more reasonable in doing so.” There’s a collective recognition of this problem and unfortunately, many people are logicing themselves out of following their dreaming seeing the more average path as the responsible, therefore, better decision.

Logan explains his book Go Right describes this spectrum. On one end, you have the things that make for the best expression of you, the best expression of your life, and your optimal direction. There’s a strong emotional connection to this end of the spectrum.

Then, something happens along the way that becomes more . . . logical. We look at the fear, uncertainty, and we start to hedge our risks. We rationalize giving that end of the spectrum up and categorize it as being selfless or self-sacrificing for what you should do. He explains that after you’ve read the book, you’ll have a “mathematical advantage” to expressing your best Self. You can still opt to concede your best life, but you can’t say that you’re smarter for doing so. There’s greater utility to yourself and your community when you express yourself as your peak Self – and that’s why it’s such an important topic for all of us.

Luckily, we don’t have to wait for the book to launch to learn some valuable lessons in the realm of Deliberate Practice. We’re going to give you a few nuggets today.

deliberate practiceImage Credit: DEUCE Gym

7:56 How could gym owners get an immersive deep dive into this topic?

Logan is the creator of the Hold the Standard Summit which until now has been solely held out of the country in Spain and Australia. But now, it’ll be held for the first time in the US at Venice Beach. It’s a weekend for leaders and business owners in the fitness industry to understand their leadership and organization on a deeper level. Its an opportunity to evolve their company and by perhaps finding out that they (the leaders) are the problem – not their underachieving team.

There are specific diagnostic skills the Hold the Standard Staff put attendees through to find out where these people are in the progression of leadership. As a high-performance individual with high-performance interests, there are very good reasons to hold more space/perspective, and this summit is a fitness flavored version of that conversation. It’s a powerful weekend that’s a call-to-action for people who are just going through the motions. Logan mentions, most fitness pros aren’t good at what they do. They relinquish the responsibility of leadership for the love of the hobby. But this Summit can change all of that.

deliberate practiceImage Credit: DEUCE Gym

11:48 What is Deliberate Practice?

Deliberate Practice is such a helpful tool that’ll be the foundation of so many great things you and your team can accomplish. Deliberate Practice was developed by Anders Ericsson who simply observed people who were the best in the world at what they did to find out what their best practices were.

He found that the process in effectiely develop skill in anything you need is to: 

  1. Have to have a clear stretch goal. The key word is “stretch”. To be in Deliberate Practice, you must be practicing something slightly beyond your capacity. That’s inherently difficult and will bring on failures and discomfort – but it’s a necessary step in the process.
  2. Create an environment with immediate and informative feedback. You need to be getting information about your progress so you can then make an adjustment. If you’re hypothetically blind folded in an environment (and only getting good feedback or no feedback at all) it would remove that important phase in which you see where you need to improve. 
  3. Repeat. Practice makes perfect.

The first two points are the ones you need to come back to over and over again. While the Deliberate Practice framework isn’t our only tool for pursuing mastery, it is an insurance policy against stagnation or going on autopilot. Logan mentions that there are of course necessary times when going into autopilot is useful – in fact, it’s an important aspect of evolution. If you had the type of focus you had when you first started driving, you’d be exhausted every day.

The problem is, when you go into autopilot in the realm of what you’re trying to be great at, you’ll never move the baton forward. That’s because the environment you’re in does not subscribe to deliberate practice. You’ve got good enough at the thing to chill and zone out which isn’t going to make you better. If anything, will likely make you sloppy. 

If you understand the Deliberate Practice framework; to have a clear stretch goal, have immediate feedback, and practice repetition, then you can artificially create environments that can stimulate growth forever. 

 deliberate practiceImage Credit: DEUCE Gym

21:40 Can you elaborate more on immediate feedback?

Immediate informative feedback is not a bunch of compliments. You must get information often about whats true. Logan says that you as an organization have to be highly interested in whats true which means if you want to do this effectively, you can’t waste your time with a compliment sandwich. He uses the example of the Philadelphia Eagles who just won the Super Bowl. Do you think the Eagles subscribe to the compliment sandwich?

Or do you think they’re interested in immediate action to find out what’s true to move the needle towards their organization’s goals? They probably just get straight to the point. In that environment, it makes sense but . . . aren’t we all trying to win? Or behavior doesn’t match high-performing organizations but it can. Deliberate Practice gives us a toolkit to inform us how to go about doing that.

 deliberate practiceImage Credit: DEUCE Gym

24:14 How can gym owners learn more about implementing a Deliberate Practice system for their organization?

Logan’s organization uses something called Coaches’ Prep which is also an online program available for you. You can learn more about it here. It’s designed with the underlying theme of you needing to be a different and enhanced person next year than you are this year. This is true of you the owner and it’s true of everyone on a team.

At DEUCES Gym, Logan’s staff attends “practicals.” This is when all of the expert coaches and coaches in training get together on Saturday mornings and perform drills based on Deliberate Practice. Since there’s a mix of longtime coaches and newbies, these practicals must be designed so they’re helpful for everyone. Using the Deliberate Practice method, Logan creates an environment that’s perfectly stressful for everybody so they can get better forever.


deliberate practiceImage Credit: DEUCE Gym

27:15 What are some key aspects of high achievers and people who do well with this program?

There’s a certain mindset that would get the most benefit from Deliberate Practice. Carol Dweck is the creator of these distinctions and they can really shift your perspective like a bolt of lightning.

Growth mindset individuals begin from a place that believes that our traits are generally malleable and you can evolve them. The opposing mindset believes these traits are set in stone. A fixed mindset person says something like, “I’m an athletic individual, but I’m not particularly artistically inclined and that’s just the way it is.”

A growth mindset person would look at feedback (especially negative feedback) as useful information. They would use this as the recipe for improvement. Fixed mindset individual look at feedback as a reflection of their unchangeable self. Naturally, these people will either deflect that and avoid it or make sure to prove you wrong.

Logan wants to elevate a culture that embraces negative feedback because its one of these massive tenants of how we’re going to get better and we also need to speak more truth. Growth mindset allows for the highest level of achievement. He suggests creating a place that’s extremely cool with getting negative feedback. This removes unspoken weirdness and passive aggressiveness.

deliberate practiceImage Credit: DEUCE Gym

31:45 Give us an example of how you do this at your Coaches’ Prep “practicals”

One of the lessons of the day in Coaches’ Prep was to teach progression with simple clear compelling communication. Logan’s coaches needed to teach the progression of a rope climb and offer that message to their athlete in 10 words or less that would elicit the correct response.

This forced his coaches to slow down and really think about what they were going to say. This fixes the issue of coaches talking too much or using fake language like “um” and “like.” By making a game of it, he was able to teach something that’s generally very difficult to teach. When you’re held to the 10-word rule, you have to sit with that stress. The immediate feedback was the group of observers counting their teammates’ words. Logan mentions it’s a ruthless environment but when everyone is in agreement that it’s the best environment for what we want to do as an organization, then it’s easier than you think to speak truth to someone and be on the same page if you’re all moving towards the same purpose.


deliberate practiceImage Credit: DEUCE Gym


Drew G.: Do you believe in firing staff? Or was that an error on the owner for not doing a better job developing them or hiring the right staff?

Answer: Absolutely. There’s a developmental view of that. You’re not responsible for the behavior, beliefs, and actions of another person. That’s their responsibility. One view is that they’re not capable and not savable. On the other hand, it does pay to also believe that life isn’t so deterministic and we should always view a circumstance as an opportunity to reflect on how you could do it better. It pays to hold both of those truths at the same time. We’re a better organization because that person’s gone, and you’re a better leader because you learned from the situation and will do X, Y, Z better.

Click here to Check out a free sneak preview of Coach’s Prep 101 – Using Objective Training for Subjective Results

About Logal Gelbrich

Logan Gelbrich is the owner of DEUCE Gym in Venice, Calif., DEUCE Athletics in Hermosa Beach, Calif., and the creator of Hold the Standard Summit – an event where motivated gym owners and fitness professionals dive into the teachable mechanics of high-performance organizations.

Logan is also an author of the soon to be released book Go Right. With a background in collegiate (University of San Diego) and professional (San Diego Padres) baseball, Logan is used to high performance, heavy workloads, and accountability.

“[I] was blessed enough to work with world-renowned strength and conditioning coaches, sports psychologists, and nutritionists during [my] career. It’s during this time that the seeds were sown for the belief system that guides [my] coaching today.”

Forever a “student of the game,” Logan is always looking to strengthen and question his understanding of human movement and nutrition.

Want more Logan Gelbrich?

Jessica Depatie About the author

Jessica is the marketing maven here at Gymwright. She's a business consultant and holistic marketer for fitness businesses. She specializes in the decision-making psychology of what makes everyday people want to optimize themselves. She dives deep into how people seek out growth in the pursuit of living happier and healthier.

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