For one team to come out on top, another has to lose. This scenario is played out during every season. Every athlete at some point experiences a big loss—one that stings more than others. (Learn how to avoid loss aversion.)
“You can’t win unless you learn how to lose.” -Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Usually, the big loss comes toward the end of the season. When an opportunity is missed, and a team or player fails to advance in the post-season. You wanted it so bad, and the after-effects produce a terrible feeling.
It may be difficult to accept, but this type of loss is not even the real issue if you consider yourself an athlete. You have to believe that you’re more than how you play. Getting over a big loss takes a strong self-faith and acceptance of the person you are outside of your sport.
There is initial shock, feelings of numbness, loneliness, self-blame, denial, anger, and sometimes even depression with any big loss. The loss may always stay with you, but eventually, you have to accept it if you truly want to get better. Here are some steps to take along the way.
To get the most out of hardships, we need to stay focused on moving forward.
Get Back In The Gym or 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.
Remove Mind Garbage
Remember, you put in the hard work and made the sacrifices, so refuse to give anyone else the power to control how you feel. This happens when you have thoughts like, “I’m letting people down” or “I feel embarrassed.” These feelings serve no purpose and prevent positive feedback. Let them go as quickly as they come.
Although nothing can be said to ease the pain, a big loss will not kill you. What happens is that our inability to move on is what causes mental strife.
Remember: It Happens to Everyone
Sometimes the ball takes a funny bounce. For any great team or player, it can come down to one shot or play. This pivotal movement makes all the difference, but if you lose because of that one play, you have to know that “it is okay.” You lost. You don’t have to like it, but there’s nothing you can do about it. Next week, season, or sometime in between, someone else will make a mistake leading to their big loss.