Coaching Rollercoaster

The BYU Women played their first home matches this weekend (and therefore as the volunteer assistant I was able to be on the bench) and while we went 2 and 1, we lost a close 5 game match to K-State on the last night.

At some point in his career, the NFL QB (and BYU grad) Steve Young said something to the effect of “the pain of losing is much more intense than the joy of winning” (I can’t find the exact quote). My experience has been the same – I mull over and let a defeat stay with me emotionally much longer than a victory. But I think there are two good things that come out of this:

– First, it can sharpen your resolve as a coach to do more, to be better, to prepare more completely so that you don’t lose again. I told the kids after the loss to remember how they felt right now and to use that in practice this week to drive themselves harder. I think we can do the same thing as coaches.

– Second, isn’t that passionate component a big reason why we are involved in competitive sports, even as a coach? There are few other professions that allow such high highs and low lows. I love that I get to FEEL something about a job, that it can manipulate my emotions.

The good news is that we played pretty well this weekend and did some great things. We have some concrete areas where we can get better, so practice can be fairly focused on those areas and we can really address our shortcomings. The other good news is that I find I am still having a great time.

3 comments on Coaching Rollercoaster

  1. Lance Huffman says:

    >I am glad you posted this. My team and I have been working hard, having adopted the GMS philosophy after our camp this summer. We are playing much better than we used to, and we have a much clearer idea of our roles. And yet, we just aren't winning. And losing does hurt.

    So I do resolve to work harder and do better. I particularly like the line you gave the players about using this feeling to drive them in practice. I am going to use that.

    Congrats on the two wins.

  2. roshambo says:

    >I started a high school volleyball program from the ground up with only 9th graders the first year, 9th and 10th graders my second year, etc, etc..

    I'm just going into my 5th season and one thing that I know is losing and how to deal with it as a coach. You're observation that losing makes deeper emotional impressions is spot on and that emotional load is one of the unfortunate bi-products of "building" a program from nothing or from something into something awesome. There are many nights that I could not sleep for thinking about what I could have done better.

    I talk to my kids often about that emotional load and how they can deal with it. I call it the "burden of leadership" and I carry it with me as a coach when we lose.

    Personally, I deal with it a little different from you. I have learned to default to a healthy and positive perspective. I look for small successes in losses, I remind my girls that the the measure of a champion is not how they react in victory – but how they grow from defeat, and I make a really big deal out of taking the biggest portion of the blame when we get beat and all of the blame when we get destroyed.

    There are so many aspects to success in volleyball (especially when you coach women), that I try to just focus on what I can control and what my team can control and then be "really good" at those few things.

  3. Lance Huffman says:

    >I would like to follow up on what Roshambo said above. My team suffered another loss last night, and we are one of those programs trying to move from "something to something awesome." But the loss felt like a victory. Why? We were facing the defending state champions, so we changed focus on our goals.

    We set all kinds of goals for ourselves – perfect serves, number of kills, blocks, solid passes, digs, etc. We met (and exceeded) many of our goals. Did we win? No. One game of the match wasn't even close. But my little, young, growing new team pushed the state champs really hard and made them work for their victory.

    We NEVER paid any attention to the score, only the point in front of us. And you would have thought we had won from the emotion in the post-game conference.

    And, like you said Ro, I took the responsibility for the loss. And I took the goals we didn't reach and turned them into a practice plan for today.

    As Dr. Carl says, coaching is rocket science. It's hard, but it's so much fun.

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