Do You Learn More from Winning or Losing?

When I asked this question, “Do You Learn More from Winning or Losing Soccer Matches?” Most people answered losing because they knew what they did wrong. When I was asked that same question, I also noted losing, but once I thought about it a little more and listened to other perspectives, I soon realized that there was more to learn from winning than I thought.  

Playing a match is extremely exciting and can increase your adrenaline enormously. Pressure can cause us to make errors and be a by-product of losing, but what is it about winning that makes us learn more? A defensive team usually prepares well and makes sure that they stay close to each other to give the opposition no space. In soccer terms, most people use the expression Parking the Bus. It is where the defence holds its position and blocks the attacking team’s chances of scoring. They then hope to score on the counterattack or from a set-piece and hold on for dear life.  

On the opposite side of the spectrum, you have a team trying to create opportunities where there is no space, so the ball movement must be fast. Players must dribble exceptionally well, fire off shots where possible or deliver quality crosses into the box to try and score. To do this, you must have a diverse range of skills. Breaking down these types of defences requires you to think more, be creative, patient, and disciplined, which means you are doing more, therefore learning many more ways to unlock defences to win. In other words, winning challenges you to do even better. On the other hand, losing gives you the psychological feeling of sadness or anger, but the reality is you did not do enough to win.  

If you acquire more skills, you can get better results in anything you do, including winning soccer matches.

Indeed, I am not saying that you do not learn from losing, but in any sport, the top teams and players are always coming up against different opposition that wants to beat the best. They must solve more problems during the match, so they are winning most of the time. Losing dampens your self-esteem, and so players tend to switch off. You can’t possibly learn when you switch off—That’s why your teacher always reminds you to focus when you start yawning in class. It is the same in soccer. Any team can win on any given day, but it is the most consistent and disciplined that are always on top. They tend to be students of the game and keep wanting to learn and develop even though they are the best.  

Remember that when a team Parks the Bus against your team, it’s because they fear you. They know that you are a good team and possess a higher skill level than what they do. Losing by a big score can be demoralizing and will interfere with the brain’s ability to learn more. If you did lose on the weekend, don’t focus on the loss, but think about what you can do to improve your weaknesses. It will make you more creative and innovative and ensure that you will get on the winning side but most notably on the side of learning more. 

Read this one? How Can Learning Chess Make You a Great Footballer?



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