Athletes compete to win. They work hard to do the best they can and, when they finally lift up the trophy, the joy pours through their veins. It is true that professional sport psychologists emphasize learning through its process rather than focusing on whether we win or lose. However, as challenging as this is, it is difficult to disengage from a sports culture that puts a lot of weight on winning records.
Stacy Lewis, currently ranked number three in the professional women golf tour, competed in 59 tournaments during the last three LPGA seasons. She came in second place 11 times, or the equivalent of 19%. For such a highly competitive tour, that is one remarkable record. On a recent interview after her latest second place finish, she was asked, how do you re-group after coming short again? Ms. Lewis, in a very cordial tone of voice, explained that she took a day off from golf to reflect and rest. She also mentioned that there are a lot of positives from her latest golf rounds. Her game is solid; she birdied many holes during the last 9 holes of the tournament and was able to put herself in contention to win.
Stacy wholly embraces the personality traits of a successful athlete. She views her results in competition as a product of her hard work and dedication to perform her best. As disappointing as finishing second might be, she is able to take the positives rather than the negatives in order to keep her mindset sharp for her next tournament.
She is also aware that the brain will remember the emotional response of an experience the next time it is exposed to a similar situation. If what is remembered is positive, then the brain will trigger calming sensations to the body and muscles. Having positive thoughts and experiences after a disappointing finish will ultimately feed a more relaxed mindset the next time she tees off.
What to learn after a loss:
1. Look at all the positives first. Regardless of how badly your performance might have been, there is always something positive to take home with.
2. Positive mind feeds positive body.