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Winning or losing, there are other opportunities for lessons in sports, but you have to open those doors as a coach to get the full potential of athletic participation.” Dave Revelts (Saint Scholastica Women’s soccer coach, Duluth Mn)

Winning and Losing

The potential value of a team experience is often judged by the record of wins vs loses.  Most every athletic conference, whether it be at the college level, high school or club level has its perennial winners and losers. There are varying reasons why it’s true, but this is reality. Occasionally a team from the bottom will rise up to the top for a short period of time, but typically the same programs are at the top. 

Winning or at least the desire to win is important. No player steps out on the field of play not wanting to win.  It is a wonder that teams other than the perennial winners find enough players to field a team. Yet they do, year after year. There has to be some value more important than the win loss record. That “something” keeps players coming back. 

But There Is More

Creating that “something” is the purpose of a great coach. It takes skill to instill the desire to win into their players, yet keep them motivated and showing up even when the wins don’t happen. A great coach can draw out life lessons, often the most important lessons, when the wins don’t happen. 

Even coaches of perennial winning teams like Dave Revelts Saints eventually have to face loss. It often comes when it is not expected. That’s when they have to have something more than just great technical knowledge of their game to offer their players. Dave made the above comment when asked about the disappointing times during his 20 years of coaching at Scholastica. 

Life Lessons

What keeps players coming out for teams that don’t often win? What helps a teams continue after a tough loss? Sometimes it’s coaches that have more to offer the game than just technical knowledge and hype. They open the doors to tools and life lessons that go far beyond the win loss record. A great coach can profoundly impact the lives of their players despite the final outcome of the contest. 

This again is another reason why we need to champion participation. Only one team goes home a winner in any contest, yet everyone has to show up or there is no one to play. And yes, the eventual upset of every great team always happens and will you be there when it does?  A great coach will make sure of that.  

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