Barriers in Sport: Dealing with Defeat

Published April 13, 2017

This past weekend was the BE Cup playoff competition. For those who didn’t read the brilliant BE playoff reviews (Written by yours truly). If you place third or above you progress to the BE Cup finals in Sheffield. This naturally is a big competition for everyone in the Boccia world.

It was a long day for me at least for a Sunday, I usually start the day at 12 but alas I was getting ready for my first match at 9am. The things I do for Boccia. I started off well (for more info read the brilliant playoff review) winning my first match. I felt confident going into my next one. However as soon as I went on court, I felt something change. I can’t really explain it. Some people may say its nerves or you’re under pressure to do well but speaking from experience of feeling those things, I don’t think this was the case. My opponent Amy Lewington started the game and threw her Jack ball long. She proceeded to throw a good first ball relatively close to the Jack. Try as I might I couldn’t get close to her first ball. Every ball that I threw didn’t go where I wanted it to and I did exactly the same routine as I did in my first game. Amy got five points on that end and I knew that it was going to be a tough to recover.

I still felt confident that in my end I could recover points to get back into the game. Nothing went right for me however not just in the second end but the rest of the match. As I said in the beginning I didn’t feel nervous although I was under pressure to get back into the game. I also felt that I wasn’t fully there. I don’t know why that is, I’m still trying to figure this out.

After the match, all I did was go outside the sports venue, put my headphones on, listened to the new Gorillaz track (which is well worth the listen), also it was a very nice sunny day. Sometimes when you’re in the venue for a long period of time you lose focus and that can affect your game, it certainly affected mine. Later on that day luckily the lose didn’t affect me too much, as I went on to secure the Gold medal (as mentioned in the amazing BE playoff review).

There’s an old saying that I’ve always liked “It’s not whether you get knocked down; it’s whether you get up”. That’s something that I always try to live by, not just in sport but every day. I was reading an article about this very subject and one particular paragraph really stuck with me. The article is by Dr Alan Goldberg. In the paragraph he was talking about how champions of sport deal with defeat.” The second way of dealing with failure is the one used by champions. To them, failure is nothing more than what you have to do to get there. Failure and losses provide the answers to the success puzzle. They tell you exactly what you did wrong and therefore what you need to work on to improve”.

After a couple of days of reflection on the competition, I know what I need to do to improve my Boccia game and without having experienced defeat, it may of taken me longer to understand what I need to improve on. It may sound confusing to some people but I’m ultimately pleased that this happened. Hopefully this is another important step to fulfilling my potential and maybe become champion…..

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