Do you (or your athletes) beat yourself up and lose confidence after a poor performance or defeat?
Or do you walk away feeling dejected and lose motivation to improve after a tough loss?
Some athletes think they can use defeat as a strong motivator…
But defeat can wreck careers in sports–depending on how one reacts.
Do you believe in the idea that you can learn or grow from defeat or failure?
Some athletes argue that nothing good can come from making mistakes, losing a game, or failing.
Resilient athletes would argue that defeat gives them a chance to gain knowledge about their training, preparation, and the mental game, and thus improve.
They think the best lessons are often learned in the context of a setback–no matter how big or how small.
Here’s a great example…
Golfer Rory McIlroy squandered a 4-stroke lead in the final round of the 2011 Masters and lost the event.
He used this defeat to teach him how to perform better under pressure… Just a couple months later, he won the 2011 US Open.
Rory said that he wasn’t ready to win the Masters, but learned a lot from his defeat.
“I learned a lot. I think one of the things I learned was that as a person and as a golfer, I wasn’t ready to win the Masters; wasn’t ready to win a major,” said McIlroy.
He went on to say how he turned defeat into triumph just a couple months later…
“I realized that I needed to try and be myself a little bit more. That was something that I tried to put into practice at the U.S. Open when I had to go out with the lead and try and just get the job done.”
You’ll have plenty of opportunities to be critical of yourself or your team’s performance, if you choose to.
A better option – one that can lead to great mental toughness – is to use defeat to learn, improve, or grow.
Resilient athletes are able to grow from defeat and use failure as a springboard to improve mentally toughness.
Instead of dwelling on what went wrong in your next competition, ask yourself: “How can I use this experience to become a better athlete?”
This article was based on one of many e-books you can download as an exclusive member of Peaksports Network, my online mental training program. Here’s the link to the e-books:
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“I appreciate the advice to parents as to how to help your child become more mentally resilient to bullying in sports. The specific advice and scenarios are extremely helpful for any child on a team and very helpful in guiding parents, coaches and administrators in how to deal with bullying in sports. I cannot thank you enough for your input, and I am so reassured to know that there are people like you who are writing articles and doing interviews on such timely and important matters.”
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~Marc D. Anderson, LCSW, MGCP, Mental Game Coach
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This workbook series was designed for coaches and mental coaches to use with their athletes.
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What are coaches saying?
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