You don't' lose, you L.E.A.R.N.
L - Listen
E - Effort
A - Apply
R - Receive
N - Narrator
You have to be able to LEARN how to lose in order to know how to win.
This is something that I have heard since I started to play sports. Any type of competition, there was my momma in my ear, not just as my mom but as my first coach saying,
"You have to learn how to lose in order to learn how to win!"
In my 24 years of coaching, I have taken what my Momma taught me and built on it
You may be asking yourself, how do I learn to lose, to win??
For starters, you have to LISTEN to what is going on all around you, not just what is being spoke in or at you. Pay attention to the energy, the emotion and the body language all around you. This gives you a heads up on what is really going on, reminds you to keep it simple and also gives you options as to how to handle a situation the next time it comes back around. Believe me, it will. That same ball you dropped or bobbled, the same batter you walked or gave a heafty birthday gift to...well its coming again and the opportunity is yours to own but you have be willing to LISTEN to your teammates and your coaches. YOU cannot shut down or go inside your head. When they give you a chance to re-set, take it! When they say, shake it off, you got it the next time kid....GUESS WHAT, you CAN shake it off and you got the next one. If not you may as well pull yourself from that game because at that point you are not LEARNING anything other than how to be your worst enemy.
Once you LISTEN to not just the audible ques but the visual ques it is time to apply the same effort your coaches and teammates are putting out there...ya know the contagious energy. The kind that helps pull you out of a negative head space when you see a teammate make a diving catch or hit a triple. That EFFORT is going to be your 2nd step into learning how to lose, in order to know how to win.
Question: has anyone like a coach asked you, "Did you give it your best of what you had, like if you know you have only 60% to give in that moment did you give all of your 60%?" In that moment what did you say...Yes you did or no you didn't because you failed. Last time I checked failure is a part of the process of success and NEWS FLASH, softball is a sport of failure. (A HUGE REASON) why I love this sport, it is a lot like choosing to LIVE life and give your best effort and show up on your worst days.
So lets talk effort, once you HEAR what is going on and being said it is now time to apply your EFFORT in order to learn. You will never know what you are capable of doing unless you try and by try you give the best of what you can and don't think you have failed in the situation because the beauty in true failure is knowing you gave it your all...so in a sense you know you will pull out of that valley on to the next peak. It is a part of the process of success, YOUR process of SUCCESS!
Whew, that brings me straight into how you are going to APPLY what you have heard and seen with effort in order to learn! Physical example here, imagine you are up to bat and you have to get on...there are several ways to get on....
1. you get walked, 2. you get hit, 3. you get a hit, 4. drop third strike...so imagine you are in the box and you are scared and excited all at the same time...FUN FACT HERE: Fear and Excitement actually send the same impulse to your brain, so choose excitement! This is yes again another opportunity for you to CHOOSE excitement! To choose to learn vs letting the fear of striking out take your entire body over. If you fear striking out, you will strike out with a very low percentage of effort. HOWEVER if you are excited to give your best effort knowing that striking out is a part of the game and say you do strike out....BIG PICTURE here is you will head back into that dugout eager to educate your teammates on the pitches vs throwing yourself a pity party and being stuck in your own head when there are at least 8 other girls on that field that need you to be present!
Key point here: in order to fail forward you have to be willing to give it all you got...if you don't give it all you got you are already beat.
Now we are going to head straight into how you will RECIEVE all of the information going in, on and around you. This is your attempt to learn by you choosing to listen, to give your best effort with application of giving it all you have and receive that effort (good or bad outcome) the same way you would want your teammates to do. Your attempt to not get stuck in your head, to be able to put it all together and CHOOSE to show up and be present in the moment...good or bad. This is all you, not your coach, not your teammates and not your parents. It is part of the game! This is where a lot of athletes get stuck...they don't understand that they have another chance to attempt how they will receive feedback vs getting hung up on all of the things they are doing wrong. They get so stuck in their moment of failure that they forget their power, all of the hard work they put in of making the same play over and over with no guarantee that it is ever going to happen, their inner strength of realizing this is another chance to make a play! When an athlete chooses to let their error before rob them of their next opportunity to own, that athlete is choosing to shutdown and shutout what is actually going on around them.
When you as the athlete choose to be present to receive the feedback of what they are hearing, listening too and watching, it is another chance for them to get on base, to be disciplined and trust their training!
To finalize what it truly means to LEARN to lose in order to know how to win, well it starts and ends with your story, you the NARRORATOR. Will you repeat a sad story or will you own up to your mistake or your error? Will you have the dignity in knowing you gave your best effort to high five a girl for making a heck of a play to get you out or reading your error and allow yourself to LEARN from it. When this happens, an athlete becomes trapped by their own sad story, they become a victim of their error vs allowing the game to pour into them and mold them! When an athlete allows defeat and a place of being the victim it will make them want to quit or not be coachable anymore...I personally think choosing to not be coachable is far worse than quitting.
When will it not always be someone else's fault, the other teams, your coach, one of your teammates, are you going to just keep being the victim...or will you allow yourself to show up and learn what it truly feels like to win in the small moments when the score, the X's and the O's say you lost?
It's one word packed full of greatness, full of action, opportunity just waiting on you to believe enough in yourself to know you are worth it...you are worth listening to things around you, putting effort into how you are going to apply your next move in order to receive the information to keep moving forward in order to tell yourself your story…to be your narrator in how you choose to show up and WIN, regardless of what the score says. You knowing in your heart of hearts that you gave your best effort and knowing what that means it truly one of the biggest keys to choosing to show up and play ball...after all it is just a game!
You've got to LEARN how to lose in order to KNOW how to win!
"Own your opportunity to do great things!"
-Coach Kally V.