Every athlete has suffered through a tough loss at some point in his/her athletic career -- the only difference is in how well they deal with it. Of course, some losses are easier to bounce back from than others, but the potential to be swept up in the moment is always possible.
The way in which you recover ultimately determines the personal growth you'll find in your sport.
Try not to get discouraged when a game doesn’t go your way; but, on the flip side, it's equally important to never become comfortable with the feeling of defeat. Oftentimes, one lost game turns into a series of fixable problems if you let it impact your confidence over long periods of time. The world's best athletes learn from defeat -- how can you train harder, be better, and grow enough to defeat your opposition next time?
Here are CoachUp's tips for bouncing back after a toss loss:
Get back in the gym or on the field
Return to whatever playing surface is home to your sport. The only way to learn from a loss is to fix what went wrong through focused, diligent practice.
Fine tune your skills
Improve whatever weaknesses prevented you from finishing your last game with a win. Did you miss a lefty layup? Specifically focus on that your next timeout. Are you having trouble hitting a curveball? Take batting practice and learn the muscle memory involved with making contact on that pesky pitch. It may be cliche, but practice makes perfect!
Watch film on the game
If you have access to game film, don't take that for granted! One of the best ways to improve is by dissecting your game -- critique yourself and identify the areas of your game that need improvement. Remember, being honest with yourself is a huge key -- nobody succeeds by believing they're already flawless.
Change your mindset
Some losses are due to a lack of confidence, believe it or not. Maybe, deep down, you don't believe you can win a tight match or execute the game-winning play. It’s easy to accept defeat in those situations, but it’s more rewarding to have faith in yourself, refocus, and then come out victorious -- so, next time, try switching up your approach.
Know that it’s okay to lose a hard-fought game
Of course, losing is totally fine, everybody does, but don't meander off the track. You must make sure you learn from a loss, utilizing tips, observations, and instructions to make the right play in your next opportunity. Try not to get comfortable with that feeling by making sure that a loss fuels a greater fire to work harder and win the next one.
It’s easy to dwell on a bad game when you keep replaying scenarios in your head over and over again, trying to figure out how it could have gone differently. But, most of the time, the absolute best way to bounce back is to forget about it. Although there's always room to improve, you are more than just the sum of one moment. There are many minutes in a game and many plays that lead up to the end result. Truly, despite how it may feel, the outcome of the game cannot be attributed to one or two moments -- so try not to take the blame on your shoulders alone. The best way to learn from a game is to figure out what skills need improvement and then focus on those details. In doing so, you will build your confidence to pull ahead next time and then stay there.
The most important thing to remember is that a tough loss, no matter how harsh it feels, is only one game. Losing is acceptable, but the key is to not let it turn into a losing streak. If you're able to convert the frustration of losing into motivation to improve, the bounce back is accomplished in a natural, healthy way. In summation: don’t dwell on a tough loss, turn it into an opportunity for improvement!