Mental Toughness Strategies: Coping With Losing

Moving on After a Loss

How to Move on After a Loss

Get over it… Move on… Turn the page… It’s in the past…

All of which are good advice after a loss.

These common expressions are often no consolation to athletes and coaches after the sting of defeat.

You already know you need to move on… You know there is zero benefit in replaying the game in your mind and wallowing in misery.

You know you need to get ready for the next game on the schedule. You just don’t know how to turn the page.

Think of all the words spoken to you after a loss…

Did those words make you feel better immediately? Probably not.

On the contrary, that advice given to you by a coach or parent might have had the opposite effect. You already felt bad about the loss, now you feel bad about feeling bad or your inability to get over the loss quickly.

No matter what is said to you in the immediate aftermath of a loss, “You tried your best,” “You will get them next time,” “You have another chance tomorrow,” losing is a bitter pill to swallow.

The question is…

How do you turn the page?

The New Orleans Saints have a thing called “the 24 hour rule.”

After a 25-23 loss to the Denver Broncos, the Saints called upon their 24 hour rule that gives them time to sort through the emotions of an agonizing loss and process what happened in the game.

Saints’ quarterback Drew Brees talked about how the team moved on from the loss in order to prepare for the next game.

BREES: “We let that one go, you have to. Usually it’s a 24-hour rule. That one would have to be let go after we woke up Monday morning because the preparation began on Carolina.”

The 24 hour rule is like a transitional period between the last game and getting ready for the next time.

The 24 hour rule recognizes that there will be some negative emotion after a loss that needs to be dealt with but also provides a well defined starting point when preparations for the next game must begin.

The 24 hour rule helps you focus on the next step rather than staying stuck in the past.

When you enact the 24 hour rule, you will have more time to prepare for the next game and, as we all know, preparation is a critical factor in success.

Take 24 hours after the game finishes.

If you win, you can celebrate the victory for the length of that time period.

If you lose the game, it’s okay to feel sad or angry but you need to work through those feelings because at the 24 hour and one second point, you need to focus and prepare for the next game.

Within that 24 hour period, you should review both what you did well and what changes you need for the next game.

Then it’s time to work on strategies…

What game plan gives you the best chance to be successful for the next game?

If you need, set an alarm to indicate the exact moment for when to dedicate 100% of your focus and intention to the next game.

Let the next game be a new chapter!

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