This really does not make any sense at all!!
At first sight, this title makes no sense whatsoever. Athletes train very hard to perform at their best. They compete to win and establish mental goals to achieve their dreams. So, how could it be possible that they would accept defeat in order to win?
The burden of needing or wanting to win is extremely high, regardless of whether it is a young athlete or an elite professional. Athletes carry huge pressures to win; and, they also carry huge pressures to not to lose. Very often, the feeling of potentially disappointing others, such as coaches, parents, trainer, etc. can be so frightening that they end up underperforming.
One of the strategies to address their fear of losing is by helping athletes to cognitively clarify the issue of people feeling disappointed about his/her performance. Athletes are asked to write down the names of people who they believe would negatively react if they were to underperform. Next, the athlete reaches out to those people he/she believed would be mostly upset and, in contrast to his/her expectations, those people actually support the athlete regardless of the final outcome.
The idea of accepting defeat is not one of not caring about losing, but understanding that support and cheer will be given to the athletes regardless of the final result. This strategy has helped athletes alleviate the emotional and mental burden to HAVING to win and, as a consequence, feeling less pressure by not having to internalize expectations from others.
Defeat is a possibility
• Write out the names of people you believe would be disappointed if you lost.
• Talk with and hear from them to understand if this is actually true or just your own fear.
• Now, free of that burden, compete knowing you have 100% support regardless of the final outcome.