I define the value of sport as progression. Therefore, I define winning as working tirelessly at your craft so that when the time has come, you are able to rise to the challenge and perform better than ever before. You see, that’s the thing about sports, everybody is always so focused on winning the big game, but not every game will finish in a victory over the other team. There is however more than one way to win when it comes to sports. One thing that I always celebrate with my Cross Country and Track & Field athletes are the small wins that can sometimes go unnoticed by others. These can be victories in training such as running new best times in workouts, improving running form, stepping up and leading the drills, or setting a new personal record in a race.
The book, “Successful Coaching” by Rainer Martens, goes into talking about winning and in this section, he refers to a quote by Vince Lombardi; “Winning isn’t everything, but striving to win is.” Lombardi then elaborates on this quote and states “The spirit, the will to win, and the will to excel are the things that endure. These qualities are so much more important than the events that occur.” I honestly could not agree more with this quote. Winning a game, a race, match, competition, or your sport is great, what really gets me excited as a coach is seeing my athletes able to compete at a level higher than they ever could before.
The more trained an athlete becomes, the harder it is to improve, this is called The Law of Diminished Returns. This is why goal setting and celebrating the little things is such a major part of my coaching philosophy. If an athlete is competing and has little to no competition, then the victory will be meaningless. However if an athlete is competing against people better than them, it forces the athlete to work harder and smarter than before and they are now more likely to do better. In this scenario, even if the athlete doesn’t win the race, they may have still gotten a better race time than ever before and that to me is a big win because they faced adversity and gave it everything that they could. That is why winning and sports to me is all about positive progression.

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