My wife and I have always stressed to our sons that learning to lose is just as important (if not more so) as learning to win. Your success is measured based on how you handle yourself in each scenario.
I agreed to coach my oldest son’s soccer team when no one else wanted to take on the role. When I asked the team members if they knew the most important part of the game, they robotically answered “Having fun,” which I could tell had been pounded into their heads from an early age. What I said next surprised them: “No, winning is the most important thing.” I then told them I had no idea yet how good this team was compared to other teams in the league. That’s why I wanted each of them to set personal goals and measure their success based on what they could control, not simply on the final score. I told them I didn’t care if they had fun during the game, but wanted them to enjoy it by working hard and learning something about themselves. Once that first game was over, even though we lost, each player ended up proudly describing to the rest of the team how they had ”won,” by meeting their own individual goals.
Some of our most significant victories since then have come from the toughest games, as I have watched each of these kids focus on and learn how to win, while developing their own personal winning attitudes as well.
Learning How to Win AND Lose