Beyond Athletics

How True Athletes Deal with Failure

usatoday-athlete-stress-burnout
39
SHARES

Being “a safe place to fail” is a huge part of our team culture and environment at NCSA. It means we want our teammates to feel free to try new things, to share new ideas, and to introduce different practices when it comes to better serving our community of student-athletes and coaches without fear of backlash or scrutiny. It means that there is literally no such thing as a “dumb question,” and that if you are passionate about something – big or small – we want to hear about it.

Putting yourself out there can be scary

Whether it’s at the workplace, like here at NCSA, in the classroom, or on the field, the fear of failure can not only consume us, but can actually stop us from achievement. It can keep us from improving, it can keep us from experiences. It can keep us from really living. Failure is universally recognized as something negative: failure means you didn’t win, or didn’t try, or that you’re a loser. Right?

Wrong, wrong, and wrong. It’s through failure that we really learn what it means to win. That we learn how to do our best, how to be resilient and how to get up.

Make a list of your major “wins” in life

It may be maintaining a 3.0 GPA. It may be your state soccer title. It may be learning to cook, play the guitar, drive a car. Now reflect on those wins. How many wins came with hard work, practice, with getting knocked down and coming back for more? How many wins actually came from failure?

I’m guessing all of them.

In an awesome blog post from one of my favorite health sites, the above sentiment is not only echoed, but the author, a runner, really makes failure make sense. She gives us four things to think about:

  1. Failure isn’t a lonely endeavor: history is full of failures.
  2. Failing means you tried: if you failed at something, it means you gave it a shot.
  3. Failing is a learning opportunity: falling short often offers a teachable moment.
  4. Failing makes winning sweeter: the bitter taste of coming in last makes winning so, so darn special.

I challenge you to think about your current team culture and environment

Do those around you feel safe enough to try – to give it their all – knowing that if they miss the mark, it’s okay? Is your team a safe place to fail? If it’s not, start the season off right by shifting the winds and opening your arms to failure…because it’s truly the only way you’ll ever win.


The recruiting process only happens once, so while it’s OK for athletes to deal with failure and rise again, we don’t want you to fail in your relationships with college coaches. Our recruiting experts can help you navigate the process. The best way to get started is with a recruiting profile.

39
SHARES
About the author
Laura Chmiel

Laura Chmiel is a marketing coordinator and a lead writer for NCSA Athletic Recruiting. As someone with a passion for athletics and education, she graduated from Indiana university with a B.S. in Elementary Education. After school, she gained first-hand experience helping student-athletes and their families get to college.