Coaching: Life Lessons Learned From Losing

Today we are talking about that word that all coaches hate to see and hear.  It begins with an “L” and ends with “ose”.  Yes the terrible word we all face in sports, life, family, business, finances and troubling times.  Losing is tough and is never a goal when preparing for a football game, wrestling match or other life activity.  We never go into something that important wanting to lose, well at least I have never went into a football game or wrestling match with a written goal as losing.  There are times when we all face losing, setbacks, unexpected events and upsets.  There are also times in life and sports when we get that upset win set the opponent back and do what we were predicted not to do.

During my coaching career I have had my fair share of winning and some losing in the mix.  I am blessed to be able to say more winning than losing.  It is in failure and lose that we face our iniquities, short comings and lack of preparation.  The true measure of someone is how we react to losing and what we do with the lessons it taught us.  It is what we do with that knowledge, experience and setback that is the measuring stick of where we are and where we are going.  Having the best game plan, best preparation, best week of practice all season and best play calling does not always mean the scoreboard will fall in your favor when the final whistle blows or bell tolls. 

Once the captains shake hands and the referee blows the whistle it is on and someone will win and the other will lose.  I have seen players, coaches, parents and spectators lose with such a bad attitude and just be a brat.  I have also seen the same people lose with dignity, with their head up and then move forward with an attitude of getting better the next event or game.  I demand my athletes win and lose with integrity, a positive attitude and be grateful for the opportunity to represent their family, community, school and teammates.  Loses whether small or large are opportunity to attack and go after a win the next time.  

1- Losing challenges our core values and beliefs.  It makes us evaluate where we are and look for wasy to get better for the next game or match.  

2- Losing shows who we really are as a person.  I have seen some of my best wrestlers just humiliate themselves, the coaches, the team and their family by acting like a spoiled brat after taking a tough lose.  Sometimes in life we start to believe our own press a little too much and when we face a setback suddenly that lose has become too much to overcome for them.  

3- Losing builds character.  As a coach my main goal is to make sure I am giving the athletes the best possible chance to be successful as an individual and team. However, making sure I teach them good character, values and how to react to things in a positive way that represents a solid attitude of good integrity and character is just as important.

4-  Losing has a bad rep in sports and life.  Some people have such high expectations that they lose sight of reality and when they lose the world is coming to an end.  Being successful at everything I do is very important to me and I write it daily.  However, I will never put my self down or down grade my ability to be successful based on a few bad loses or untimely setbacks.

5- Losing does not have to become an excuse or habit to fail.  I have seen losing take over a kids mentality.  They take some loses for various reasons, typically because they lack the strength, knowledge and experience to beat the opponent.  That is when it becomes a mental game more than physical.  They start to see failure as an option, as OK and then make excuses instead of putting in the work to overcome and get better at winning.  

Do not let losing set you back, hold you down or ruin your dreams and visions in life, work, sports and play.  Prepare for whatever it is, go after the win and if you lose take the feedback, get better, work harder, work smarter and whoop it the next time you face it.

Coach B

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