Beyond Athletics football Sport Specific

Why Being Undefeated Isn’t The Great Thing You Think It Is

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Perhaps like these college football teams your team, (or your favorite sports team), is undefeated so far this season.

This is an incredible feat!

Going seven, eight, maybe nine games without a loss is not only something to be proud of, it’s something that doesn’t happen all that often.

A lot of long hours on the practice field and in the weight room combined with some serious team work when that game clock starts; being undefeated with a handful or more of games played isn’t easy.

The Pros of Being Undefeated

Obviously there are many pros to being undefeated.

It’s the most obvious indicator that your team is having an incredible season; you’re proving yourselves to be unbeatable. And this can have a major ripple effect to other areas of your team and your game.

For starters, it provides an enhanced confidence in yourself and your team over time. That “I/we can do this” feeling that is instilled – or definitely heightened – by a string of wins.

Going undefeated puts on paper the results of all your off-season, pre-season, and week-to-week hard work. It makes your success feel tangible, and probably adds a lot of fodder to your highlight videos.

Let’s keep it real; being undefeated is an awesome feeling.

The Challenges of Being Undefeated

So wait, how can there be challenges involved with bring undefeated? It’s kind of tough to understand at first glance. But there are certain challenges that come along with being the undefeated team in the battle. And the first one is the giant bullseye on your back.

Opponents can’t wait to upset you.

They will play their hardest, fight their strongest, and give everything they’ve got the entire course of the contest because they have a vision of being the ones to end your streak.

They have a vision of the local headline in the morning: David slayed Goliath.

While every team is going to be clawing, scrapping, and working to take you down, as the undefeated team, another challenge comes with remaining on top of your game. Because you’re going to feel like there’s room for leeway.

It’s easy to get caught back on your heels.

This is especially true when it comes to playing teams that have been considered the underdog in years past, or that perhaps would still be considered the underdog going up against your team even if you had already lost a game or two. These are the teams to watch out for as an undefeated squad, because the minute you allow yourself a little gap in your game or in your prep, they’re going to quietly take notice.

And they have no pressure.

If they lose, they were supposed to you, the team they played was undefeated, after all.

If they win, it will be unexpected, and it will be incredible for them, but again, not necessarily an expectation.

As an undefeated team, do not let your mind get comfortable – or cocky.

You’re going to feel the pressure.

Everyone opposing you wants to be the team to bring you down. This can add up to some high stakes week after week – and some stress!

How To Play Your Best, No Matter What

Continue to celebrate your winning season, yet continue to prep not only as though you are 0-0, but as though the team you are playing is 0-0, too.

Your next game is just as important as that first game. You have nothing to prove except how badly you want it, and how much you are willing to leave out on that field. When the pressure mounts, take some deep breaths, and propel yourself back into your routine.

And when you do lose — and this will happen — whether it’s this season, next season, or the season after that, you have to be ready to learn from it, get better, and move on. It’s the beauty of sport, and a life lesson we can take with us.

Just as Wilma Rudolph shared, one of the fastest women in the world becoming the first African American to win three gold medals in a single Olympic Games in 1960:

“Winning is great, sure, but if you are really going to do something in life, the secret is learning how to lose. Nobody goes undefeated all the time. If you can pick up after crushing defeat, and go on to win again, you are going to be a champion someday.”

Win or lose, we’ve all got a lot to learn from playing.


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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.