Sometimes there’s nothing better than getting your butt kicked.
It’s not just the loss my Eagles suffered on Sunday night at the hands of the Falcons, or the way the Phillies are taking their lumps this week, but “losing” and “failure” have been recurring themes for me lately. A few different people have sent me links to the Sept. 14th NYT Magazine article, “What if the Secret to Success if Failure?” And a great conversation with a fellow coach illustrated it nicely. Here’s a rough outline of the recent interaction he described having with a player:
Player: “Coach, they kicked our butts in that scrimmage.”
Player: “Coach, you’re smiling.”
Player: “Coach, you knew this was going to happen.”
Coach: “Oh, I wanted it to happen.”
Player: (nodding slowly)
The best varsity basketball season I ever coached was precipitated by a key moment – losing the second game of the season to a team we should have beaten handily. It was a wake up call that we needed badly, since we were returning all five starters from a team that won the league the year. After that loss, we locked in to a state of relaxed concentration and focus that I’ve never seen from a team since, and went on to string together the next twenty wins in a row!
Nothing like a little failure to keep you from getting too cocky, and taking success for granted.