Ok With Losing?
New Coaching Article by Samson Dubina
Each week, I talk to many different coaches, players, and parents from across the US and around the world about different aspects of the sport. One of the parents recently mentioned something that is often a mis-understood principle.
After a loss, some people are impacted differently than others. Some people shrug off a big loss as if it is not a problem. The reality is that it IS A PROBLEM. Having a bad loss is a problem and it should have an impact on your training and it should have an impact on your tournament preparation in the future. If it is has no impact on you at all, then playing that tournament was really of no value.
Everyone knows that match play and tournament play is an important aspect in the development of any athlete. Many people say that both wins and losses are learning experiences. This is correct. But the question that I have for you is… Specifically, what did you learn? I want to hear details.
- Did you learn that after your short serve, you are waiting too far back and unable to get the correct timing for attacking the short or half-long push?
- Did you learn that you need to play more often against the wide backhand and make better decisions when to quickly changing to their wide forehand?
- Did you learn about adjusting in with the feet to counterloop the spinny ball that hits shorter on your backhand side?
- Did you learn about respecting your opponent and that you should have a proper pre-match mental preparation even when the opponent is 400 points lower than you?
- Did you learn that that dude that was 300 points higher than you is really about the same level but is more patient in working the point and making good decisions? Did you learn that instead of rushing, you need to be willing to rally longer instead of being afraid of him?
There are literally thousands of things that you can learn from tournaments. Just remember this… matches should impact you. If they do impact you, you will become stronger and stronger in tournament performance. Don’t get stuck practicing the same things. Directly after a tournament, shift your practice to new things based on your tournament results. Rome wasn’t built in a day and your game won’t be perfect this year. Take a long-term approach and keep building. The only “bad” tournament is a tournament that leads to discouragement and despair. With the right perspective, every match, every training session, every league night, and every tournament can help you to become a better player.
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