8 Practical Tips to Help Your Player Overcome a Loss

tips_to_handle_loss_postAny athlete who plays a sport long enough is going to lose their share of games – and sometimes lose badly. Handling these losses is actually a more important lesson than learning to handle wins. A player’s reaction to a loss has a huge impact on their long term success. Here are eight great tips to help your player when the game just doesn’t go their way:

  1. Focus on their own contribution to the effort and the things they can improve.
  2. Don’t blame teammates. Blaming teammates is a sure way to create team dissension, which can poison the remainder of a season.
  3. Learn from the other team. Steal their best ideas and approaches.
  4. Lose with class. Sportsmanship is easy after a win, but more accurately reflects the person after a loss.
  5. Don’t blame coaches or officials. Blaming those in authority implies a lack of power on the part of the players. It is important to remember that  the coaches and officials weren’t the ones playing the game.
  6. Ask what they can do to support the team. The more players focus on themselves and the less they focus on the team, the more likely problems will get worse and not better.
  7. Ask what they can do to support lesser skilled players. By definition, half the players on every team are less talented than the other half. Those players with better skills have a great incentive to see those with lesser skills improve.
  8. Rally teammates who take the loss harder. On certain teams, positions such as goalie or defensemen may feel they have more responsibility for a loss. Yet every game is a combination of preventing points and getting points.

Losing a game is a chance for players to work on the things they can control while also trying to positively influence the things they do not control. A positive attitude directed toward each gives a player the best chance of turning a loss into a future win.

Editor’s Note: Thank you to Sports Esteem for this great article.

Minnesota Hockey is a trademark of Minnesota Hockey. The Minnesota Wild is a trademark of the Minnesota Wild. NHL and the word mark and image of the Stanley Cup are registered trademarks and the NHL Shield and NHL Conference logos are trademarks of the National Hockey League. Copyright © 2009. Minnesota Hockey. All Rights Reserved. This webite and its associated newsletter was prepared as a service to Minnesota Hockey. Neither Minnesota Hockey, the Minnesota Wild, nor any of its employees makes any warranty, expressed or implied, or assumes any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, product, or process disclosed, or represents that its use would not infringe on privately owned rights. Reference herein to any specific commercial products, process, or service by trade name, trademark manufacturer, or otherwise, does not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by Minnesota Hockey or the Minnesota Wild. The opinions of the authors expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of Minnesota Hockey or the Minnesota Wild and shall not be used for advertising or product endorsement purposes.