In this post we listen to views from coaches in a variety of sports and from around the world. Despite the diversity of sport and geography, it appears there is a widespread concern on the topic. For me it’s an important issue because so many analysts correlate performance and score and make life more difficult for coaches who have to take it on the chin and find ways of motivating their athletes. There are some good ideas in here and I hope you find this post as fascinating as it is valuable.
Linkedin Group: United States Tennis Association
John Sloan, London, United Kingdom
Experienced and Innovative Change Management Professional
Mark: I feel your question has to be separated out a bit. Of course there are societal, group and familial expectations around individuals / teams winning at all costs. Inevitably this unrealistic weight of expectation on individuals can be counter-productive in terms of performance – not to mention the negative impact on psychological and emotional well-being.
The key question for me is how does one best go about shielding individuals / teams from the aforementioned whilst maintaining focus on the positives. Delayed gratification, acknowledgment that there are no quick fixes and that winning will organically happen – are key themes for me. How best to explore the false win / lose dichotomy – is perhaps another way of re-framing your original question. In tennis you can play badly and win, play well and lose. It’s what we leave with that counts.
Linkedin Group: Creative Coaching Academy
John Pascarella, Washington D.C. Metro Area
Soccer Coach: currently Assistant Coach at Sporting Kansas City
Mark, I believe that there is too much catastrophizing over losses and the mistakes in those games and there is very little review of what went right when teams win. Doesn’t it make more sense to reverse this trend based on psychological studies and our understanding the learning process ? Stressing the positive in both situations is more useful in long term learning and moral building. Players are bound to repeat what has been “‘positively reinforced and by the nature of ignoring the negative it would be eliminated by the process of “extinction.” Obviously not all mistakes (negatives) should be or can be ignored. Some are just too important to let go……. but as a general learning principal, doesn’t it make more sense to stress the positive so as to encourage it’s repetition?
Linkedin Group: Baseball Let’s Play
Robert Green, Kalamunda, Western Australia
Baseball Vice President: Kalamunda Rangers
Mark, from a coaching point of view, I tend to look at all aspects regardless of win lose or draw. I’m more inclined to look at the positives of all events but coach to the requirements of the negatives.
Linkedin Group: American Football Coaches
Patrick Wyatt, Columbus, Ohio Area
Track and Field Coach and Football Coach
This not as much a coaching problem Mark but a PR problem in the community, You can be as positive as you want but if you get blowen out in a game it is always your fault and of course the kids take a beating in school and out. YOU CAN BE SURE OF THIS THE KIDS FEEL WORST THAN YOU DO EVEN IF YOUR JOB DEPENDS ON IT. Getting in their faces does nothing but depress them more and kill your season. here you have to be upbeat don’t even look at the flims . As and assistant our head coach did this and it worked like a charm. We had a big bounce back the next week. There are years you can do everything your can think of and you still lose a lot. At those times being positive is the only why to handle it.
Robert Sneek, The Hague Area, Netherlands
Accomodation and Team manager Sport / Managing Director and Initiator
Sometimes Mark and sometimes to much, there is forgotten what sport is and can be. Even though “we” have a goal of winning, there are so much more espects in sports and the games with them, than only “about the scoreboard out there”. May be we all would say it a little different, ore maybe not. But this a a part of what I mean: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o-iPiN_YHjY
Linkedin Group: Cricket Coaches Worldwide
Mark Reeves, United Kingdom
Freelance writer, cricket coach and analyst
Mark, I had this Malcolm X quote printed and posted on the dressing room wall, back in the day.
There is no better than adversity. Every defeat, every heartbreak, every loss, contains its own seed, its own lesson on how to improve your performance next time
Linkedin Group: North American Soccer Industry
D G Kramer, Bemidji, Minnesota
Author of ‘Dignity and the Pitch’
Mark, A good team performance does not always lead to a win. But over time the numbers will bear themselves out. So the bit of bad luck will not be a regular event if you are doing all the right things as a coach. The win still seems to get most of the focus but that is a trickle down effect from professional leagues where the win is of higher value. Thus the newspaper headlines always bow to the win/loss result and statistics. Truly this is an important topic, especially in youth leagues. Individual character and cumulative team character are far more important than the win. You don’t have to focus on the win and you can still challenge players to the highest level of personal and team physical and mental development.
Linkedin Group: Cricket Players & Fans
V.S.S. Sarma, United Arab Emirates
In India Mark, we had a TV programme by name ‘match ka mujrim kaun’ (who is the culprit of the match ?) compered by the great test match bowler Bishen Singh Bedi. Very sad to see class players being discussed in low esteem. Fact is that the player came up to test match level and deserves respect. Every player is not a Gary Sobers or a Don Bradman.
Linkedin Group: National Soccer Coaches Association of America
Tony Carey, Green Bay, Wisconsin Area
Food & Beverages
Mark, I’m not certain that it is. Most games are decided by a few moments or extreme skill or a few mistakes. We lost 5-1 over the weekend. It was our first game of the year, we had a bunch of new players and let two goals in from corners as we didn’t set up properly. Easy to fix, affected the result a lot, but not an indication of us playing badly. From a distance I think we do place an over emplhasis on the score.
Part of the coach’s job is to make sure the parents and players understand the score, how it happened and how it can be changed.
We look forward to hearing more or your views below;