Failure is part of the plan

Let’s discuss something that often gets overlooked in our “keep it positive” society, and I am one of those “the glass is half-full” people.

I want to talk about failure.

I see failure every day with every young lady I coach. Wait, let me get personal… I see failure the moment my feet hit the ground in the morning. I failed to do what I should have done yesterday, I am behind by breakfast, I am hopelessly lost by lunch, and then giving up by dinner.

Can anyone relate?

Now for the young ladies… These players are trying to be perfect at something that is almost impossible: perfect fastpitch pitching.

If that weren’t hard enough, the better they get the more I (and their other coaches) ask them to do as a pitcher.

It took me several years of frustration to realize the following three things that changed my attitude, and saved my job as a coach.

1. Failure is part of the plan. If you expect failure to be part of the learning process you won’t focus on it when it happens.

Take shooting a basketball. It is understood that no one shoots with 100 percent accuracy. The coach would like her players to make every shot, but she prepares the team for the missed shots by practicing the rebound. Rebounding is an answer to failure; it’s part of the learning process.

2. By seeing failure as part of the plan, you will begin to notice the smallest slivers of success. These improvements are easily overlooked when consumed by failure. When I only saw failure I only talked about failure to the student-athlete.

3. Wait until you see the player do something positive, and make a big deal about it. The upside is the pitcher is more confident, and looking forward to the lesson. When you see something wrong, and make that the big deal it hinders the learning process.

How do you deal with failure?

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1 comment on this post.
  1. Peter:

    Good insight. As a parent I often overlook this and probably create some unneeded pressure on my player.

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