Learn To Deal With Losing

December 8th, 2021 Ellie Vernon

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Do you find it difficult to motivate your players following a bad performance or a loss?

It's important to regroup, reflect on where we went wrong and put things in place to maintain focus ahead of the next game.

Understanding Your Athletes

You need to get to know your players on a personal level so you get to know how each individual copes with different scenarios.

Everyone reacts to losing in different ways and there is no right way to feel after a tough loss. Some players will feel very frustrated, angry and may even blame themselves for the loss of the team and others may feel nothing at all. It's important to recognise how your players cope and approach them in a way that will benefit them as an individual before focusing on the team as a whole.

Reflecting On The Performance

Losing can in fact be a positive experience. It allows us to learn, develop and grow as a team. It's a given that nobody enjoys losing. Use the pain of losing to motivate your players to improve ahead of their next game.

Debriefing after any match is important, but more so when the performance isn't as expected. The game is fresh in your players' minds and although emotions may be high, you will gain the best feedback immediately after the loss. As a coach you should aim to create an environment where players feel they can be open and honest, but encourage them to do so in a respectful way. You can also debrief at your next training session, to encourage your players to think back to the game and pick out key areas where they feel they could improve individually and as a collective. However do not dwell on a bad performance for too long. You should reassure your players by outlining what they did well in the game.

Moving Forward

To learn from your loss, set one main aim for the team to work towards before the next game. This should then become the focus for training that week. One example of a team goal could be how well your players work together moving up and down the pitch or the team's shape in general.

Before, during and after every drill you complete, explain how this is working towards the main aim and reiterate why you are doing what you are doing. This will instill confidence in your players, encouraging them to approach your next game with optimism.

As players learn to overcome defeat more quickly, it will give you as a coach more time to prepare them for their next game, but ultimately, losing is not the end of the world.

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