Many people associate losing with failure or not being good enough. But actually losing is part of the learning process, it doesn’t have to be a negative all the time. How many times have you played a game or a sport where you are winning for most part of the game, then all of a sudden you lose your lead? How did you feel? Angry? Annoyed? Frustrated? We have all been there! However next time you find yourself in a similar situation remember it’s not all that bad.
From experience in sport, there have been many times where I have come up against better and stronger competition where I have failed to even get close to winning. Sometimes, you just need to take it on the chin and learn from it. Here are some of the things I have learnt from losing which I feel have made me a better player and a better person in sport today.
How to learn from losing.
- Don’t get annoyed at yourself.
Even if you recognise that you are performing poorly and you’re not your usual self. Don’t show your frustration by getting all angry that will make you perform worse. Instead take a breather; have a drink and take your time. Don’t rush back into a game, try and set the game to your own pace especially if you’re playing an individual sport.
- Don’t accuse anyone for your performance.
One of the worst things you can do is force blame onto someone/something. Sometimes things like the weather can make you underperform, but blaming the weather won’t change anything. Next time try and practice under poor conditions this may help you in the future. However, if something is distracting you from performing your best then simply try and resolve it. Don’t let it bother you for the duration.
- Show Sportsmanship.
No matter how poorly you played or how badly you feel after a loss you should always praise your opponent. Sportsmanship is a key factor and small things like a handshake or saying well done can go far. Walking off in a sulk will attract negative attention which you don’t want and won’t help your credibility.
- Review your game.
After a loss try and identify points where you didn’t perform so well. This may help you recognise what aspects you need to train or practice and will help you improve. If you can’t identify any areas, try and ask someone who may have been watching, they might be able to find some parts that need development. Also identify areas where you did perform well, you may be able to use these to your strengths.
- You can’t win everything.
Losing an important match isn’t the end of the world. There may be other opportunities in the future to get to where you want. Tennis player Lindsay Davenport once said “Sometimes you lose more than you win. It’s about handling losses and trying to turn them into positives. You get out into the big leagues and there’s a period of adjustment to be made. You’ve got to handle it.”
- Be positive
Positivity is significant in any situation. Being positive can attract positive things such as motivation so you can try and try again. Negative emotions will narrow your mind and your thinking which may prevent you from maximising performance.
On the whole, losing provides you with experience. If you were to win all the time, then winning wouldn’t be that fun and may prevent you from reaching higher levels in your sport. However, the occasional loss allows you to identify where you need to train, so that you can perform against stronger and better people. Then again, sometimes you don’t need to perform the best to be the best.