Coach’s Corner – Even Champions Lose Sometimes
Throughout my competitive career, I’ve held a personal belief that I don’t strive to work as hard as I do, with the expectation of losing. As a matter of fact, I’d suspect most do not. But here’s the reality: the losing part is a more common companion than winning will ever be.
Losing has negative connotations and baggage that can be carried around like the common cold and spread just as easily. Sometimes it helps you realize that something just isn’t in your wheelhouse and other times it spurs you on. Losing can also beget self doubt, excuses, blame, fear, and disappointment. It keeps you awake at night wondering what could have been. I’m no stranger to losing. I’ve done it often and I’ve done it ceremoniously and it hurt every time. But it’s within those periods of loss that I grew more resilient and refocused on the areas that were most important. I made changes where changes were necessary and kept pressing forward.
I can recall quite well a four year consecutive stint in my career that had me finishing runner up in the Match Sprint at National Championships. Each year, I faced a different opponent and each year I fell short. I did eventually make that particular break through, but it wasn’t easy.
You see, the thing about losing is you don’t train for it, but it’s a reality you must be prepared to learn from, not wallow in. One of my favorite quotes reads “disappointment is inevitable, discouragement is a choice”.
We’ve got a long season ahead of us. The goal is to have more hash marks in the “W” column than the “L” column, especially at the important events – but it may not work out that way. Through it all, remember that those losses don’t need to be packaged and carried along with you to the next big event. Learn from them, improve, and leave them in the past.
And if you are ever asked to do a post race interview following a loss, take notes from the Carolina Panther’s Quarterback, Cam Newton on how NOT to behave.