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How Young Athletes Can Reframe Failure to Achieve Sporting Success

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How Young Athletes Can Reframe Failure to Achieve Sporting Success

You can't be perfect all the time and failing is part of the process of learning and getting better at a new skill. Think of failure as your First Attempt In Learning and reframe what happened as a chance to do better and improve the next time. If you're failing at something then you're probably not pushing yourself hard enough and trying things outside of your comfort zone. The only way to keep improving is to keep attempting things that are currently outside your skill, strength, or ability level.

Recently one of our swimming athletes just missed out on winning their race at nationals by a few milliseconds. Yes, it's obviously sad that they couldn't get the win after all the work they had put in, but instead of just saying they aren't good enough, we had a look at what areas of the race could have been improved on.

We found that the difference between first and second was the difference in their reaction time from the dive at the start of the race, and so that has become the focus going into the long course season. Working on dive technique, power from the start (crouched position), as well as reaction time to auditory cues. By ensuring that the swim coach, athlete, parent, and strength coach are all on the same page when looking at targeting this specific piece of the race, we have already started seeing great improvements in the first few races of the long course season.

What was really important in this scenario was taking an objective view at what the "failure" was and looking at how we can improve on it next time. Being as specific as we can and making it a key focus or goal of the next block to improve on. This is where a tool such as a training dairy to track down the goal for each session is a good resource to use.

Writing down 3 key focuses for the training session beforehand, then reviewing afterwards whether you achieved what you wanted and asking yourself why or why not. Reword the feedback onto the next session's goal if you didn't achieve what you wanted to. Asking for feedback from your coach is important as well as they will have a different view on whether you are improving or not. You'll find you're likely to be a lot harder on yourself than what you need to be.

The Inner Athlete Podcast "Losing is Better and Reframing Failure"  covers this in more detail.

For more information on strength and conditioning for youth athletes and increasing your sports performance, check out our website and podcast available on Spotify and YouTube!

You can also book a FREE consultation by emailing us.

Matt Hucul
Strength and Conditioning Coach
Inner Athlete - Bayside's premium strength and conditioning coaching for youth athletes

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