The Journey – Failure? Is it REALLY?
We hear it all the time and we repeat it too. We are often heard saying that this is a game of failure, if you bat 10 times and get 3 hits, that’s a great batting average. These softball players strike out, get thrown out, reached-on-errors more often than they’re successful. But, is it really “Failure”? Maybe we should applaud the effort, the attempt, great mechanics? I’m hearing colleges refer to the GAB, Great At Bat, rather than discussing their batting averages or criticizing every attempt. It is more often, how we address it, not that we ARE addressing the need to be better, to improve.
I once heard Sue Enquist, the famous UCLA Coach now retired say “When Lisa Fernandez was batting I really could find several things that she could have done better, but why? When her success and what she accomplished mattered more?” I’m paraphrasing it as I heard this at a Coaches conference in the early 2000’s. It stuck with me.
Think of what they did right. Compliment it. Write down what needs to be fixed and address it at practice. I recently heard a pitching coach address a pitcher and stated that she needed to fix or speak about each inning right when she came off the mound. Especially the pitchers, that seems like a lot more pressure in the game than is needed. I’d suggest, if you have to fix anything, just address that ONE thing. Working on one detail rather than getting a beat down about every little mistake seems unnecessary and unlikely to be fixed in the next inning. Fix it in a practice session when you can isolate that one issue.
Back when I was coaching I also asked the parents to have a note pad, 3x5 card or their cell phones to write down the things that they needed to work on for their kids instead of yelling it out in the game. “Move your hands, don’t drop your bat, yaddy yaddy.” You all know which parents I’m referring to! They don’t need the parents yelling commands in the game. That one moment, that one at bat is insignificant in the overall scope of what you’re doing and or trying to accomplish.
Parents, be your child’s biggest advocate in this game! Find more things to compliment, be honest, recognize effort, not just what they did wrong. They know what they did, they feel it. Help them understand how to train and fix and become a better athlete without feeling “Failure”. We all hear the criticism from the “non-athletes” of the world that us crazy sports families criticize and drive kids beyond their capabilities and there are some of you that do that. Check yourself. Heck, we were criticized on Reality TV for that stereotype. Just because these kids love the game and strive to be better doesn’t mean the parents beat them along the way and made it a bad experience.
In the end, is it really “Failure” or is it the road to becoming better, learning from mistakes, experience setbacks, overcoming obstacles, experiencing the game, the road to success?
Enjoy the journey as this is your life!