“Failure happens all the time. It happens every day in practice. What makes you better is how you react to it.”
—Mia Hamm, Retired U.S. Soccer Player
Everyone occasionally has a bad day of practice. The key is to have a short memory and not linger on your poor performance. Use film from practice as a teaching tool and learn from your mistakes. Don’t let small failures during the week effect your overall attitude for competition. Staying positive and willing to work on mistakes will give you an edge over the competition. Just ask Mia Hamm.
One of the most successful (male or female) American soccer players of all time, Mia Hamm won four NCAA championships with UNC, two FIFA World Cup Championships, two Olympic Gold Medals and two women’s FIFA World Player of the Year Awards. Yet she learned at a young age that failure happens and that reacting well can change your game.
Born with a clubfoot, Hamm had to wear corrective shoes as a toddler, and she spent her childhood moving to different Air Force bases with her family. To deal with a physical handicap and the constant stress of making new friends, Hamm threw herself into organized sports, discovering her passion for soccer.
Throughout her youth, Hamm could be found on the soccer pitch refining her skills, spending countless hours training with teammates and even by herself, working to overcome mistakes and failures in her game. Her hard work paid off early when, at age 15, she became the youngest player ever to make the U.S. Women’s National Team.
As a pro player, Hamm continued to face failure and challenges, but she managed to attack her weaknesses and end her career with high honors. She retired in 2004 to start a family, finishing with 275 appearances for the U.S. and 158 goals, which is 113 more goals than Landon Donovan (U.S. male top goal scorer).
Photos: Getty Images, nytimes.com