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Yes, go ahead and trademark that bit about "winning conceals, losing reveals" - it's a powerful idea, and helps to stop the complacency that can come with winning, especially a run of wins. And you bring out very well the clash between results and technique. Certainly at the stage when I was receiving coaching, as opposed to doing it, I remember my squash game apparently going backwards as I spent time adjusting to new grip or stance or movement - but the longer-term benefits came through. Your post is an excellent reminder that (in more than one context) "winning isn't everything" (no trademark needed)..
Thanks for your thoughts Trevor.
A great piece and one that I can relate to. For me, I think that the important thing to do is to reflect on what is meant by winning. Often this purely means having a higher score than the opposition - how you got to that can often get overlooked. Did your start player take over the game and win it single handedly? What has that achieved for the rest of the team?I recall reading something once on an American Football coaching forum where a coach was relating a conversation he had had with another coach. This other coach had indicated he was playing a particular scheme as it was built around a particularly great player he had. This coach then responded with the question of what would he do if that player was injured? How good was the back up? It can be easy to chase scoreboard wins, but unless you spend the time developing the team as a whole, then this strategy is only one that is short lived. But to return to my original comment - it is important to define what is meant by winning. Blake did a great job of collating some of my thoughts on this area in an article about learning from defeat - https://www.connectedcoaches.org/spaces/10/welcome-and-general/blogs/general/4167/simon-says-put-your-hands-in-the-air-if-you-think-you-can-learn-from-a-heavy-defeatIn this, and part 1 of it, I talk about how it is important to set yourself goals to serve as these wins. Things that you can constantly build to and adapt as your team develops and needs stretching. So for me, "winning" is a continuum that is not black and white. Sure, if you score more points then that is an obvious win, but did the team advance in its development while doing so? Are they better now than they were before the game?
Thanks Simon. Very nice post. I was actually brought up with TGfU (I think we called it Game Sense). Heavily influenced by USA Volleyball (Beal, Kessel, etc) and my university had great people like Alan Launder and Wendy Piltz. It was only about 10 years later that I discovered not everyone thought like this!As for the definition of winning - now THAT's an interesting idea!
Really good post - I coach junior elite tennis players and I've seen this from different angles. There are the players who win most of the tournaments in the early days but don't let their game develop for fear of losing i.e. as someone else mentioned in relation to squash changing grip, being more aggressive on second services etc.. and eventually drop away because they don't evolve their game and think winning is everything. With my players we focus on performance and executing the plan - we take winning and losing out of it - the review after the match is about how they played rather than if they won or not. The players (and parents!!) are initially very sceptical until they finally buy into it after examples such as praise for performance and execution during a loss or a critique for a match they actually won. Not everyone can buy into to it mentally and let themselves just play but the funny thing is the ones that do then actually start winning a lot more because that is not the aim - the aim is performance and executing the plan.
Thanks Niall. You're right, some people find it easier than others, but it is effective as long as the coach is one of the ones who can do it!
Nice piece Alexis, and one that resonates well with me.We've completely taken the competition element out of our Mini rugby (the RFU changed Tournaments to Festivals so no overall winners but reward and praise for effort), and it's really helped develop the kids as the result really doesn't matter, only the enjoyment of playing, which has the amazing result that they want to try harder and improve in training - and that's for the team, not individually.I set goals for each season, and this season it was a) to win two matches (so I could placate some parents) b) end the season with more players than we started (to prove they enjoy what we're doing) and c) see the grow and develop their rugby.They absolutely smashed all three!! Huge smiles while playing, 7 more players at the end than the start and only 2 teams able to beat us all season!#ProudCoach
Thanks for your thoughts Andy. I've always believed in the philosophy that, if you want people to think something is worthwhile, the first thing to do is make sure it is worthwhile. Then people will come!
Great post, i couldn't agree more. Winning can mask all the failings especially in team sports. If we base everything on outcome then as players and coaches we will be failure a lot of the time.When playing teams that you know are better and you have no chance of winning the game the only way to keep players focused is to set performance goals.Players take responsibility for their own learning and when they achieve their own target are so keen to tell the coach, this is far more powerful than just the come of the game.
Thanks Gerard. The point about performance goals is the critical part. If you want to reduce the emphasis on winning/losing, then you need to replace it with other ways of evaluating performance.
Great thread! Lots of really good points and thoughtful views, here is my two peneth! Forgive me I do ramble at times.Winning is very black and white on the scoreboard, the issue for a lot of non coaches and spectators/parents is that this drives their emotional response i.e. Little Johns dad is happy because he won whilst Chloe's dad is disappointed because she lost. Very simplistic I know but they are the outside views. I like the idea of winning being a continuum. As a coach I hang my hat on raising the performance of the individual within the team (rugby), and developing the learning growth mind set to improve our young players. One of my mantras with which ever squad I am coaching is 'it is not about where you start, it is about where you finish'. Meaning what ever level of performance the player comes into the session it does not matter. What matters is the progressive steps/min goals they make learning through the session. This learning is then celebrated as a success and we see it as a win along the journey. You could say that I am trying to foster a winning mentality, getting them to reflect and to take satisfaction out of knowing they have done their best and succeeded no matter how big the step is or how long takes. Hopefully leading them to want to do more and get better. It does foster a very rewarding, competitive, fun environment as all players have a buy in, a motivation to try things to achieve. The scoreboard does not matter we have lost games by 30 points this year but have felt like victories because of the performances of the players. As a team we have lost more games than we won, but the numbers of players have grown in the squad throughout the year. We try and reflect (which is not easy) on a 30-0 loss in the same way as a 30-0 win. A squad of 27 keen motivated players is moving from U16 to Colts which is a big positive in my area bucking the trend of falling numbers. Now that is what I consider to be winning!
Thanks Nathan. That sounds great. As a coach of developing athletes having a high retention rate at a time of significant dropoff (traditionally in the late teens) is a big win!
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