It is exhilarating and easy to watch your student-athlete when they are playing well and winning. But what happens when they lose? When they don’t know their left foot from their right? When they are just points away from the win but let it slip? When they are losing to the “lesser” player?
Winning is like an addiction. Everyone wants the quick fix bypassing the long journey of hardships and heartaches that must be endured and overcome in order to compete successfully.
Losing a match is merely an event that further lessons are needed to be learned. It is not IF your student-athlete is going to lose, it’s how quickly they learn from the loss in order to quickly move to the next learning phase.
On the other hand, feeling “lost’ is an entirely different issue. Feeling “lost” on the court, not trusting themselves, loss of confidence is all oversights from NOT learning the lessons from each loss of matches for an extended period of time.
Hence, losing a match (event) is not the same as feeling lost (self). Thus, it is crucial to help your student-athlete to consistently learn from their losses.
A good word to use is to start with the question of WHAT. What can they do better? What did they learn? What was good about the match? etc, etc.
A useless and unhelpful question to avoid is asking with WHY. It puts them on the defensive. If you are lucky they might give you a string of excuses. But most often you will probably receive silence!
Until next time,