If you're like me then you're probably not a big fan of losing! Regardless of whether you're playing a social game or that BIG competition.
The truth about sports is that it exposes everyone who plays it and how you conduct yourself when facing challenges can teach you a lot. One of those challenges is defeat.
We all know that feeling. The feeling that you've put so much effort in at the time but you just weren't good enough. Your competitor was better than you. Some of us resort to blaming or "constructive criticism of your teammates", some resort to excuses, but at the end of the day you took a loss and nothing can change that.
Maybe you're just playing social sport and winning is just not as important to you as it might be to others, that's okay. But for those of you who find it difficult to accept a loss, here are some helpful tips that can put you back on the road to the challenge again.
1. Handle The Truth
There aren't too many times when your loss is a result of things beyond your control such as injury or disease. The truth is, most of the time,whether you lost as a team or individual, you lost because you and your team weren't good enough on the day. The best and only thing you truly had control over was how you applied yourself. Maybe you would've lost anyway regardless of how well you played but you should always start from within (without being too hard on yourself!).
2. What did you learn
Losing is just the beginning. It's an opportunity to reflect on what worked and what didn't and how you can do better from that point onward. While it would be great to consistently win, sometimes a loss can actually propel you into a more successful future. This is because you finally get the chance to identify weaker areas in your game. Sometimes people lose and learn nothing from the experience, which can really make that event a lot worse than it actually is. So with every loss, it's time to change the way it's framed in your mind. Next time you lose, ask yourself, "What did I learn today?".
3. Moving Forward Means Letting Go of The Past
The worst thing you can do is get stuck in a vicious cycle replaying the performance over and over again in your mind. To determine how you can do better, assessing your own performance is necessary, but excessively and sometimes obsessively reliving the event can be devastating. It may seem cliche, but it's important to live in the present, you're chances of winning the game you're playing now is not going to be as high if you're thinking about the time you lost.
4. Play To Win
When you're ready to get back in the arena, regardless of what sport that is, play to win. Let's think about this for a moment because I think it's incredibly important especially when you're playing against a team or an individual that may have a reputation that precedes themselves. That or you're against a competitor that you had previously lost to. What I've seen in my time playing badminton is that players have pre-determined the outcome or the most likely outcome of the game before it's begun. It becomes a self fulfilling prophecy because instead of playing to win, what they are doing is playing to not lose. In badminton & tennis (sports that I've played and watched a lot of), you can tell when a player's not confident. They play shots that are neither here nor there and succumb to the confident opponent on the other side. Regardless of whether your opponent is the best player in the world, step on the court with a winning mindset as you're better off playing to win then playing to not lose.
Nobody's perfect and I too have had my fair share difficulties when accepting a loss. I hope the next time you lose (if you do) that you will be able to seize the opportunity to get better, regardless of what stage of your sporting life you're in.
Main image source: Know Your Meme
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Last year in August, I was lucky enough to travel to Basel, Switzerland to coach the Australian Team at the 2019 World Championships.
Being a former player that has competed at such tournaments such as the World Championships, I found that the experience was vastly different as a coach compared to an athlete.