The agony of defeat?

Posted on Apr 24, 2010 in Competitions, Practices

Losing hurts but it provides invaluable lessons to young athletes. Our wrestlers deal with winning and losing at every practice and every meet and I think they are better off for it. Many of them still get upset when they lose . It doesn’t matter if it’s a drill in practice or getting knocked out of a tournament. They want to win and we encourage that, while empathizing with the pain they feel when they don’t.

Our goal is to help them put winning and losing in perspective so neither outcome gets in the way of their self improvement. For us, that starts with properly defining success. There are many opportunities to succeed or fail in any wrestling match but we break them down into 4 main areas – maximum effort, using your training, good attitude/sportsmanship, match outcome.

This approach helps them evaluate their performance where it matters. Winning and losing is only 25% of the equation. This means a wrestler can be disappointed with a victory where he was lethargic and didn’t execute the moves he’d worked on all week in practice. He can also take pride in competing full tilt and using proper technique even in a losing effort.

While nothing can fully assuage the agony of defeat, especially in a sport as personal as wrestling, we hope our athletes are learning important lessons every time they step on the mat.