Everyone Fails on the Path to Success

By Jeffrey Rhoads

At some point or some level, all athletes eventually fail. Great players, defined by their last moment heroics, have also succumbed to challenges they could not overcome, obstacles too big, and personal shortcomings of character or performance that resulted in failure. As eloquently expressed in the famous baseball poem, mighty Casey does not always bring joy to Mudville.

You should understand that the failure to convert the big shot, and other similar disappointing moments are a common bond among all competitive athletes. Every athlete has experienced the bitter moments of a personal failure or a devastating loss, sometimes forever altered by the event. When you try and fail in these key moments, you are experiencing the same set of emotions that all of your sports heroes have gone through. Stars such as Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, have all experienced personal moments of dejection and loss.

Also understand that putting yourself in the position to take the big shot, and having the courage to do so, in itself is an admirable quality. Regardless of the outcome, these moments reveal a positive aspect of your character-reaching for the prize instead of giving in to a fear of failure. You will eventually learn that the disappointment of failure is usually preferable to a lifetime of regret for not facing a challenging moment.

These failures, both real and anticipated, can also have a positive effect. They provide you with the motivation to prepare, giving yourself the best chance to succeed when you face these special moments. Always attempt to translate any fear of failure that you may have into constructive actions.

Finally, recognize that these types of failure are the necessary flip side of your greatest successes. If you don’t try, you’ll never enjoy the incredibly satisfying and fulfilling emotion associated with winning your heroic moment.

Embrace your athletic failures as an educational and necessary part of the journey. As LeBron James says, “Don’t be afraid of failure. This is the way to succeed.”

Jeffrey Rhoads has coached youth sports for over 25 years and worked with all levels of young players. He is the author of The Joy of Youth Sports: Creating the Best Youth Sports Experience for Your Child. His blog, Inside Youth Sports, can be found at: http://www.insideyouthsports.org.

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