Losing the Plot

"There is no disgrace in losing - there is disgrace in not being able to accept it"

Contrary to what many adults may think, the majority of children and teenagers are playing sport simply to enjoy the fun of playing a game and socialising with their friends. For many adults winning has become such an obsession that the true values of sport are being distorted. Sometimes we need to stand back and think more clearly about winning and losing and put it all into perspective.

Please consider:

All competitions must have winners and losers - otherwise they wouldn't be called competitions.

Everyday life is full of competition and we must all learn to accept results, both positive and negative.

One team must always be on the bottom of the ladder, another at the top. Some teams may seem unbeatable, but they will lose one day.

Whether we like it or not, some teams / players are always going to be stronger than us. How many sporting heroes have never been beaten?

Winning scoresheet results are great, but what about friendship, teamwork, skill development and fun!

How many of us blame the coach, or the umpire, or the fixture, or the weather, or the goalers, or the defenders, or the system etc etc etc if our team loses?

When your child's team loses a game, who suffers most - you or your child?

Have you thought about what you learn from losing? There is no shame in losing if you learn from your mistakes.

Despite losing on the scoresheet, did your team win in any other ways? Were they good sports? Did they laugh and have fun? Did they improve their fitness? Did they make friends? Did they try?

In a losing team we should focus on goals other than winning - number of intercepts; less than 3 "steppings" or "contacts"; number of turnovers; number of centre passes won; number of laughs!

Players who don't know how to lose will never enjoy sport and will have great difficulty coping with the stresses of everyday life.

Learning to lose is one of the many important "life skills" we gain from playing sport.

The ultimate failure of a coach (or parent) is to NOT teach or allow children (and adults!) to lose.

Sue Reddish

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