Inevitably, teams and individuals lose. Undefeated seasons are very rare, even in high school. Even the undefeated and most talented of teams and individuals are eventually scheduled to meet on the way to a state championship.
Most athletes will tell you their ultimate success and skill was gained from losses. Losing is a key ingredient in the formula for learning to win.
During the very important transition from just playing to competing, young athletes often discover acceptance of guilt and unhappiness is expected to accompany losing.
The bounce of the ball, the weather, confidence, or even ability, are more frequently the cause of the win-loss effect.
In the pecking order of athletics, the higher a young athlete goes, the more likely the final score is of greater importance than the performances of the players involved. Despite that, even winning may not automatically cancel a need to show anger, remorse or mourning over a poor performance.
Emotional reactions often differ between men and women, and between children of different ages. Education athletics offer an opportunity to prepare children to cope with the inevitable losses of adult life. Losses happen. If we (coaches, teammates, moms and dads) can cope with the inevitable losses, we can use some proven strategies to help put losses in perspective.
From the wisdom of youth and words of youth-wise coaches (plus a psychologist or two), here are a few valuable hints for the aftermath of a loss:
Blues are emotionally sensitive to family situations and attempt to avoid conflict or competition. Blues nurture the family’s needs. Often a friend-in-need rescuer.
Greens expect other family members to at least attempt to achieve the same intellectual standards they set for themselves. Greens encourage intellectual potential. Greens may not praise easily, but focus on future learning and improvement.
Golds like changes to occur in an orderly and efficient manner, keeping things stable and consistent. Golds are the caretakers of the family. They want family members to keep on task and follow the rules.
Oranges do not endorse a specific parenting style nor compare their parenting to others. Oranges provide optimism and flexibility. Use humor and allow children to be courageous and adventuresome.
Which are you most like? Least like? Which color is your son/daughter most like? Do you match and brighten each others colors?
My spectrum? Orange-Gold-Blue-Green. Some of us impulsive oranges need little help to get ourselves in enough trouble, but sincerely appreciate the greens that keep us out of trouble. We learn to respect and appreciate the rainbows our teams make during sprinkles.
Now, that’s a pot of gold worth searching for.