If at First, You Don’t Succeed, Fail and Fail Again – a lesson for us and for our children.

How many times have you read or heard that the most successful people in the world failed over and over again, before succeeding?  Tons, right? Walt Disney declared bankruptcy 7 times; Michael Jordan was cut from his High School Basketball Team. Thomas Edison failed 1000 times…or did he? he maintained that it took him 1000 steps to invent the lightbulb.

Many of the world’s most successful people claim that failure is an important, if not required part of the process. Why is it then that so many people fear failure? For some the fear is so real that they practice avoidance, simply, they don’t put themselves in a position to fail.  To me, this is scary, not scary because people may be limiting their growth or missing out on countless opportunities, but that many of these people are raising children. And I don’t know many, if any, parents that do not love their kids so much that they will do almost anything to keep them from hurting.  That includes…allowing them to fail.

This is most notable in youth sports, too many anecdotes to share but it has become a real problem. More often than not, parents struggle to accept that their child just may not be as good, or may not work as hard as others, and so the blame goes to the coaches.  In reality, those are the struggles that most high performing athletes have overcome at some point in their careers, and it helped to shape them.  It is also evident in Academics, questioning the validity of Standardized Test Scores, blaming the educational institutions and teachers if their children fail to succeed.  It has gotten so bad (at least in my opinion) that some employers are allowing recent University Graduates to bring their parents to Job Interviews…just allow that to marinate for a minute.

So, let’s peel back the onion shall we…what could be the reason…Millennials, I blame the Millennials…Just kidding, although it is a common sentiment, or at least one that is used as a tongue in cheek reference. It is not the fault of That generation but more of the perceived outcome of the times that we live in.  As a Generation X-er, I feel fortunate that while I use the same technology, social media, etc. as everyone else, I grew up at a time when technology came in slowly.  I was exposed to albums, cassette tapes, CDs and DVDs and my first phone was a bag phone.  What does that mean for me and for my generation? That means that our parents were Baby Boomers who were themselves raised by the Greatest Generation where hard work trumped everything else and common expressions were…”if you get knocked down, get back up again, I don’t care what you do, as long as I don’t see it or hear about it”.  And if you got hurt on the playground or ball field, it was…”Rub some dirt on it and take a lap” or “Walk it off” as long as you did all of that and got home before the street lights came on.

Hard work and failure were a part of life growing up and it carried into adulthood.  The difference is that when we failed or made seriously questionable and just plain bad decisions, we did so outside of the public eye.  We didn’t have cell phones to record our every move.  Sure, I am sure a lot of us have that Fraternity Brother or classmate that will “Always have a job” if we endeavor into Public Office of some type, but there was no real evidence of our questionable or poor decisions and the life lessons that came from them other than the witnesses who were there to either participate or just watch.

The current tech landscape is so different and pervasive now, and it is no secret.  From participation awards to Internet Millionaires and YouTube Sensations and most recently, the desire to be TikTok Famous have become actual goals.  There is limited room for failure.  So much of the news is focused on the extreme, from extreme success to extreme failure and tragedy, that the expectation for wild success without the effort is a prevailing theme.  It is no wonder that there is a focus on the fear of failure and going to long lengths to protect our children.  But at what cost?

How many times have you either said or heard…”I just don’t my kids to have to suffer the way that I did?”  or the response, “Me neither, so I am doing everything in my power to prevent that?”  Think for a second about how you got to where you are today, that “Suffering” was likely not suffering at all but just common struggles, struggles with money, relationships, sports etc.  Those struggles turned into life lessons. We have all heard the famous Henry Ford quote that a “Failure to Plan is a Plan to Fail”. And I would bet that a lot of us have learned that lesson.  There you have it, WE learned by doing or not doing and thereby learned through failure.  That kind of thing only has to happen 1 or 2 times until someone changes their behavior. So if your own failure and your own challenges, changed your behavior, built character and turned you into the person that you are today, why would you not allow your children to learn the same life lessons and build their own character from their choices and their challenges?

These principles should apply to all aspects of life. Just look at Andy Reed, who just led the Kansas City Chiefs to a Super Bowl Victory.  If you don’t think that he learned from the lessons of the 2005 Super Bowl or most recently, last year’s AFC Championship, you are nuts.  I am willing to bet that the reason that he brought Donovan McNabb to speak to his team before the Super Bowl, was to share his experiences and the lessons that he learned by getting so close but by ultimately, FAILING…but did he? Sure, he got to the Super Bowl and did not win, but that did not or does not make him a failure.

Do your children a favor, let them fail, over and over.  Support them and love them, but do not protect them from learning valuable life lessons and skills through overcoming adversity and the occasional crash and burn. You never know how learning to deal with failure, will shape their future unless you allow that to happen…as hard as that may seem.  Fail Forward.

Podcast- Coach Rich Rants- season 2 episode 2

Listen to the most recent episode of my podcast: The Problem with the Problem with US Youth Soccer – Player Identification https://anchor.fm/rfh8/episodes/The-Problem-with-the-Problem-with-US-Youth-Soccer—Player-Identification-e50mjo

Season 2 Episode 1- Youth Sports Attrition

Listen to the most recent episode of my podcast: Youth Sports Attrition. The Role of Parents and Coaches and what we may be missing! https://anchor.fm/rfh8/episodes/Youth-Sports-Attrition–The-Role-of-Parents-and-Coaches-and-what-we-may-be-missing-e4v5bk

Podcast Episode #19 – Homework

Listen to the most recent episode of my podcast: Episode 19 -Homework leads to Mastery- Ball Mastery. 10 minutes per day is like an extra practice. https://anchor.fm/rfh8/episodes/Episode-19–Homework-leads-to-Mastery–Ball-Mastery–10-minutes-per-day-is-like-an-extra-practice-e34bj0

It only takes 10 minutes a day. Listen to how players can improve their foot skills and get the equivalent of an extra training session per week in 10 minutes per day. Coaches should encourage home based skill acquisition aka “Homework” to encourage Individual training. Ball Mastery, moves, juggling and basic dribbling 10-20 minutes per day several days per week will improve first touch, balance, coordination, agility and confidence on the ball. Players, if you are not doing it start! Parents and Coaches, encourage your players to start and keep track of these sessions. This is ideal for multi-Sport athletes who are constantly juggling conflicting schedules and can make up the equivalent time of a missed session. Over a 5-10 year playing career, players can literally get the equivalent of seasons of extra touches by creating this habit.

Check out my free skills tracker form, just download and save as your own and start tracking your touches today

Free Skills Tracker

Podcast Episode 16 -It Takes a Village

Check out my episode “Episode 16 – It takes a Village! The Problem with “The Problem with US Youth Soccer”” from Coach Rich Rants on Anchor: https://anchor.fm/rfh8/episodes/Episode-16—It-takes-a-Village–The-Problem-with-The-Problem-with-US-Youth-Soccer-e2pbq3

It’s Takes a Village – the Problem with the Problem with Youth Soccer is that kids can’t access the whole village because the corners are guarded by the bullies.

Goal Tracking and Journaling

Now available from Amazon.com in 2 different covers.

Start to create really important life lessons while helping you(player) or your child(parents/coaches) reach their potential.  This is a Journal…

There are 3 sections:

Section 1 includes Goal Setting.  Establish Goals for yourself or for your team and chose the target date. i.e. Full Year, Fall Season, Winter Training, offseason, etc.

The goal includes 4 questions –

  1. What is the Goal?
  2. Why or Purpose?
  3. How will you achieve the goal?
  4. When is the Target Date?

battleplan goal setting

Section 2 is a Daily Journal.

Use the Daily Journal to capture your thoughts, plans, dreams or whatever you want.  Keeping track of how a training session went whether with your team or outside training.

Keep track of what you did, how you felt, what you ate, or even the weather.

This is your journal and your place to write your thoughts and feelings, track performance and manage and measure your goals.

These will be helpful for doing a self-assessment at different times of the year or you can keep them and look back in them in future years for inspiration and motivation.

Pro Tip -Journal Topics

  • Injury
  • School Conflicts
  • Social Conflicts
  • Highlight Moments

Food, Water, and Sleep

battleplan daily journal

Section 3 is Where you assess how you are progressing against your targets.

When you combine written goals and daily journaling, you now have what you need to assess your progress.

Establish Checkpoints where you can return and report on your progress.  If you have achieved your goals, you can set new goals or new targets that you want to hit.  If you are not progressing, you can do a course correction to modify the goals or modify the plan to get there.

Pro Tip – Ideas on Timing

  • Preseason
  • After Fall Season
  • Mid-Winter
  • Pre – Spring Season
  • Year-end
  • Off-Season Training

battleplan review

Two covers are available for purchase on amazon.

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Podcast 14 – Goal-Setting and Tracking – Realizing Potential and Developing Life Skills

https://anchor.fm/rfh8/embed

 

Episode 14 introduced goal setting as a way to build life skills while trying to reach potential as an athlete.

Episode Highlights:

What is your “Why”?  – establishing an understanding of why an athlete is playing the sport in the first place will provide an indication of what the player is looking to achieve.

Setting goals that are attainable and measurable.

Setting aspirational goals that are seemingly impossible.

Establishing both personal and team goals.

Breaking the season up and creating goals that correspond.

Journaling and keeping a log of what is going on.

Checkpoints and course correction.

 

These are just a few of the topics that are discussed in the Episode, nothing is ever scripted, rehearsed, or edited so it is a raw take on the topic.

Feel free to provide feedback and subscribe to the Podcast and follow the blog.