Key Points to Say After a Loss

Warren 'Coach' NyeAll Sports, Hockey, Sport Tips

Mind Over Sport with Coach Nye…

Over at the Mind Over Sport private group and the Mind Over Sport Academy Facebook page this week we have been discussing the key points on the how to of helping athletes over come a loss and stay motivated.

It was interesting to hear from one fellow coach who had asked what the real difference between motivating to inspiring an athlete really was, so here is my take on that one.

Motivation and Inspiration: There is a difference. What most people think is motivation, i.e. the motivational speaker talking about money, power, success and glory is actually inspiration. The two can work together, i.e. you can be inspired to change your behaviors to help you realize a dream, but there is a difference. Inspiration is something that comes the outside: from listening to another person or being involved in an event or through observing something which triggers an emotional response. Motivation, however, comes from within. Motivation is a Fire: a fire which is ignited by a dream and fueled by passion.

Now you may ask, what happens to the athlete after a tough loss or when the team is on a losing streak? What is the best option for a coach? Does he ‘fire’ them up with a motivation speech or……?

Over the years I have developed some of my own personal key points to help with my athletes, so I thought I would share them with you here.

 Feeling Defeated

As with most things in life, the way a coach handles defeat with his team is about as unique as each coach and his players.  Still, there are a few important aspects of team dynamics as they relate to future team success that are worth considering, including the following:

  • After a loss one of the most important things a coach can do is to emphasize effort (assuming the team didn’t quit).  By positively reinforcing effort, you will essentially be shaping future behaviors that, in all likelihood, will lead to future success.
  • Re-frame the experience. It goes without saying that losing is never fun, but often when we lose in life we tend to make the experience more catastrophic than is necessary (or accurate).  Losing a big game can be deflating, but is it the end of the world?  Are there experiences to build on, or ways to use the experience to come back stronger later in the season?  If it is an early-season loss, how can you keep it in perspective so that the rest of the season isn’t lost?
  • Even in losses, there are always important points to build on for the future. What did the team do right?  Were there specific plays that went well, or periods in the game where you were more competitive?  Great coaches find those moments and use them to build positive future scaffolding to use to improve the team as the season wears on over time.
  • Teach the team to develop a short memory for losing. Great athletes have incredibly short memories, and instead channel their focus and motivation toward the next practice, training session, or game.  This is not something they are “born with,” but instead a skill they have developed over time that has allowed them to learn from their previous frustrations, adversities, and failures.
  • Ask the team for their input. Authoritarian coaches out there may not like to hear this, but when people (in this case, the team) are solicited and encouraged to share their thoughts and perspectives in a democratic-type manner, they often begin to take even more ownership of their experience (and play harder as a result).  This perceived “loss of power” does not imply that the coach should sit back and allow the team to take over in the film room or when looking at ways for improving in the future, but instead suggests that coaches find a delicate balance between their own instruction and soliciting input from the team.  How could we have done that better?  What play might have been more effective in that situation?  Ask the team and listen closely – you might be surprised at what you learn!*

So there you have, some key points to helping you and your team after that big loss. Remember though, be positive no matter the out-come, as tomorrow it will shine once again!

Until next time.

#MakeTheDifference

Coach Nye

*Dr. Stankovich

About the Author

With years of experience in sports and business – from sweeping the floors when starting off in business, to coaching a very successful National Championship hockey team and then managing other hockey teams along the way – the Coach has seen it all!

Coach Nye is the founder and CEO of Mind Over Sport (www.CoachingMindOverSport.com), a world wide leader in effective mental fitness/toughness training, leadership, stress management training and life coaching. Since being involved in the sport of hockey, Coach Nye has trained numerous players to the professional level and continues to this day to connect with them and many others to help them through different stages in their playing careers. Coach Nye has created his own weekly podcast show, Mind Over Sport Podcast Show with Coach Nye with over thousands of followers and listeners. While also working with great organizations such as Womens Hockey Life, The Coaches Site, My Pro Hero, Weiss Tech Hockey Magazine and Changing the Game Project. He currently resides in Lucan, Ontario Canada.


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