Failure. From a Coaches Perspective.
“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” Michael Jordan
“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”- Wayne Gretzky
Failure gets a bad rap. Of course I don’t actively want people to fail, I am not rooting against my athletes. It is my job as their coach to help them view failure differently.
I like these quotes by some of the best athletes in the top of their sport to help athletes better understand failure and how to use it to their advantage. The way I like to teach my athletes about failure is: Win or Learn.
As an athlete we don’t want to lose. No one does. The best athletes do not like to lose either. The difference between the greatest athletes of all time, and just really good athletes, is their mindset and how they deal with failure.
Do they look at failure as an opportunity to fix weaknesses and grow, or when they fail do they blame teammates officials etc?
These two mindsets are the growth and the fixed mindset.
A Growth mindset athlete learns from their failures and sees them as an opportunity to grow and be better in the future, if they work on it.
A fixed mindset athlete believes that if they failed it was not their fault. They also believe that their talent is something that you just have, and you can’t improve on it. If a fixed mindset athlete is up against failure they quit, or don’t try, because they will let the fear of failure take over. Sometimes they won’t even participate because they are too afraid to fail.
As a coach, I am always trying to help my athletes identify with the growth mindset. Teach them to learn from their failures. They are not going to be perfect on every rep every time. If they were perfect every time, then why would they need me to coach them in the first place?
If an athlete always does perfect reps what is there for me as the coach to correct? If an athlete is not making a rep, are they getting frustrated or are they trying to figure out why they are not getting it?
This is my job as a coach, to expose them to failure over and over again. To help them deal with it. To not let it cripple them and be afraid to try, and to use it as an opportunity to learn and grow.
I recommend all athletes, parents, and coaches read: Mindset by Carol Dweck to help get a better understanding of the growth and fixed mindsets.