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How To Deal With A Sports Loss

I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot, and I missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” ~Michael Jordan

Losing sucks. There is no sugarcoating it and no way to have it not affect you.

However, losing does not have to hurt you and it certainly does not define you. We all lose.

To paraphrase one of the greatest football coaches of all time, Vince Lombardi: “”It’s not whether you get knocked down; it’s whether you get back up”.

Losing is only a bad thing when you don’t get back up and give it a go again.

Feel The Pain

You can’t ignore the sting of defeat. It hurts. It never gets easy. People face defeat all their lives, it’s a part of life, and it never gets easy. There is no point at all in trying to suppress being upset. Be upset, own it, and move on. What is bad is dwelling on the negativity.

I once knew a professional boxer. He was a two-time world champion. After his first title loss, he became severely depressed. He fired his entire staff and would not leave his bedroom for months.

This had a profound effect on his career. While he did wind up getting himself together and winning back another title, it took him years to get back to a position to win. His months of depression set him back years. Had he moved on in a healthy manner, he could have been back on top in months rather than years.

Take Ownership

After you get over being upset, it is time for the healing. Think about your mistakes and what led you to make them. What are you going to do to not make them again? Did the pressure get to you? How will you stay calm next time? Did you have a couple steals against you? What foot drills are you going to work on to strengthen your dribble defense?

Also remember, just because you lost, does not mean it is your fault. It is entirely possible to make no mistakes at all and still lose. That is life. You can do a great job, there is always someone out there who is better. Messi loses matches every year.

Own Your Successes

After you think about your mistakes, the next step is crucial, and that is think about what you did right.

What did you do that gave the team a strong finish? How did you keep the loss from being worse? Or what were the areas you excelled in? Did you lose but still have more shots on goal?

Then you did great, they just had a goalie that did better. Remember that. You lost a game, you did not lose in every aspect of the game.

Move On

Let it go. There will be another game, or there will be a better season. Or maybe there won’t be, so what?

In life, people are rarely defined by their failures, but their successes. Losing builds character, it builds strength. Losing builds life skills. There has never existed a billionaire on this planet that does not have countless stories of failure.

Jay Z couldn’t get signed to a label, so he started his own. JK Rowling will tell you she was a failure at everything in life. Penniless with a child and on welfare, and she moved on to become a billionaire writing Harry Potter books.

Steve Jobs was fired from Apple, the company he created for being such a failure. He came back and they begged him to return to save the company, and he did. These stories are countless.

Learn From It

What are you going to do next time? If you learn from your failure, pick yourself up and try it again, you did not lose. You gained experience. You solved mistakes, you got to watch people beat you and now you can work on not only not repeating that mistake but apply what they did to you in the future.

Finally, learn to savor that loss. Losing is wonderful. If you never experienced loss, victory would not be so sweet. The more bitter the losses are the sweeter victory tastes. So remember that more than anything, if losing is like ice cream, losing a lot then winning is a banana split loaded with toppings.

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