I agree with several other people that have posted about this answer that it is a must watch for every athlete, parent and coach in any sport.
I've put the link to the full response on youtube at the bottom of this email. If you haven't watched it yet, I would encourage you to do that. Below are my thoughts on his answer to the question on whether or not the season was a failure. In general, I LOVE his response. I have put his quotes in bold.
"Every year you work towards something, towards a goal..."
This is true. While winning a national championship, conference championship or winning a gold ball at a qualifier is ONE of many goals on the season. It is one goal that has a bunch of other factors involved in accomplishing it. You can't control the other teams and you can't control injuries or other circumstances. That's why "winning" is just one of many goals you should have as a team, program or business. He's right, you don't always get a promotion or make more money one year to the next. It doesn't make that year or season a failure. Having more than one goal is really important. That's certainly one thing that athletes and coaches can take away from this. What other goals can your team reach that are actually in their control based on their hard work and dedication? What are some goals that you can reach as an individual - vertical touch? speed?
"It's not a failure. It's steps to success."
Yes. Exactly. You are always trying to get better. Too often we look season to season and measure that one segment in time as a success or a failure. Are there markers that you hit as an individual or as a team? Did you increase your hitting percentage? Did you have fewer 0 passes? How was your team chemistry? All of things that you improve on will hopefully carry you into the next high school and club season. The season isn't a failure because you lose and don't get an open bid; unless that is your only goal. If it is, then potentially all of those reps were wasted. I always told my athletes that, "It was what we do NEXT that matters." Because we are going to lose. We are going to make mistakes. There will be errors. But how we bounce back from a 0-10 start is important. We have to be able to take positive notes from bad situations and carry those with us into the next match or the next season. Learn from the mistakes.
"Michael Jordan played 15 years, won 6 championships. The other 9 were a failure?"
Anyone want to call Jordan a failure? This is a great point. Not everyone can win everything all the time every season. I would bet that if Jordan viewed any of those seasons where he didn't win a championship as a "failure" he wouldn't be Jordan. Winning was obviously the goal. "You play to win the game!" quote comes to mind. But, just because you don't win, doesn't make the entire time you train and practice a failure. Always look to the next step or the next goal.
"There are good days and bad days. Somedays you are able to be successful, somedays you are not."
I would love to just constantly increase my bench press in the weight room. It would be great if I could add 5 lbs to each side every week. But is that realistic? It really isn't. You train and work hard. Some days you miss a lot of shots. Other days you don't. The goal here is to have fewer bad days than good days. Learn from your bad days. Make your good days better. I used to have my teams play co-op pepper across the net. The goal was always to get to 15 in a row without the ball dropping. In the beginning of the season this could take 45 minutes to an hour. By the end of the season, they would be done in 10 minutes or less. Usually only having to start over once or twice.
"You don't always win"
Sometimes you get beat and that's okay. It's part of being competitive. It's part of growing. It's part of becoming resilient. You have to be willing to take the risk though. I was talking to a several college coaches about this a few weeks ago and we were talking about competitiveness, winning/losing, those kinds of topics. I said, "You can HATE losing, but you can't FEAR losing." Everyone loves winning. Some athletes hate losing. But you can't be afraid to step on the court. You won't always win. But you have to be willing to do everything you can to help your team win. My last couple years of coaching I told my team that we were going to be competitive in every set we played. Our expectation was to win 25-23 or lose 23-25. There were no breaks. We would never have a huge lead on a team. We would battle all the way to the end and we expected to play with teams every point. We didn't always win, but we competed for every point.
Two final thoughts on this:
1) Don't let the reality of losing stop you from becoming great and accomplishing your goals.
2) Perspective is always important.
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