Losing the Close Games & Still Smiling

First things first...I love to win and really don't enjoy losing. I wouldn't say that I "hate" to lose because as a coach I recognize that a certain amount of losing is inevitable. As a coach I also realize that losing is only a label we put on a specific result; which can belittle or dismiss the effort put forth.

For young athletes playing well in defeat can be more empowering and instructive than playing poorly in victory. Winning as the primary litmus test for team or player success can serve to mask deficiencies that need to be worked on in order to further the journey of mastering a difficult game.

This past weekend my 14u team played in a fairly competitive tournament in which we lost three very close games (3-2, 4-3 and 2-0); the last against an eventual championship game finalist in the 40 team tournament. Overall we played well and although we lost three of four games over the weekend we made progress in several areas.

Losing the close games and being able to smile means as a player, a parent or coach that you are able to keep everything in perspective. Do close loses make for a more difficult night's rest...they certainly do for me. As a coach losing a close one always means second guessing what we did and didn't do in key moments of the game. But even for coaches close games can be an opportunity to learn and get better.

If we all continue to celebrate their efforts as much as their results we can keep a smile on our faces, reflect on what each player and the team needs to improve on and get to work at the next practice to get better!

Yes a close loss is still a loss, but it likely means your athlete and her team are closer than you think to coming out of the close games with a "w." Just keep working hard and smiling!

Maybe it's time you consider private Mental Skills Coaching for your athlete to help to be the very best she can be? Contact John Kelly at: SoftballSmarts101@gmail.com.

Read a chapter for FREE from John's new book, How She Thinks is How She Plays.

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