It matters which side you’re on

Jack Welch On the Sidelines

Baylor has been on the winning side of football games over the last several years but after two games this season they are 0-2.  What makes it look even worse is they were highly ranked to win both games against what is considered to be lessor opponents.  There are many sad faces hovering over the Baylor waves of grain.  
On the other hand, both of their opponents are in ecstasy.  Liberty and UTSA have now won the biggest games in their history of playing college football.  What is pain and suffering for one team turns out to be joy and fulfillment for the other.  So, it matters which side of the win or loss you’re on.
Baylor is in a transition period and must stay focused.  That is easier said than done because the Bears are expected to win big.  Why?  They are expected to win big because they have been winning big for years.  With new coaches and a new approach, it is so important for the leaders to bond with all the players and stay focused on the mission.
Oklahoma has a new coach also and they are winning.  What is the difference between Baylor and Oklahoma?  Talent.  Baylor is not loaded like they were a couple years ago and Oklahoma is loaded to go hunting bear with a switch.  My former boss would say Oklahoma is stronger than 40 acres of onions.  Other words, they have a very talented group of players. 
Whether a team wins or looses, the team must continue to improve.  In either circumstance, it is the same team.  The difference is in the mental state of the players and coaches.  After a loss, some players lose their training intensity and no longer approach competitions with a confident and positive mindset. These characteristics are necessary for achieving great success.  
How can you maintain your mental edge after a loss?  This is where sports psychology can provide athletes with solutions. With the proper mental training, you can use devastating losses as fuel or motivation rather than a negative memory of the previous contest. 
After a devastating loss, Olympian swimmer Michael Phelps taped a picture of his opponent on a wall to use it as daily motivation.  Phelps’ response to that devastating defeat provided him the mental edge to win gold medals in the 100m butterfly in the next three Olympic Games (2004, 2008 and 2012).  Even more devastating was the loss suffered by Phelps in the 2012 Olympics in his signature event, the 200m butterfly.  Phelps had won 60 straight 200m butterfly events over a nine-year span until the London Olympic Games when he was upset by South African Chad le Clos by .05 of a second.
Phelps’ response to this devastating loss was initially different from his reaction to his 2003 loss.  Phelps said he did not immediately review the race because he wanted to forget the memory. He refused to think about it. After some time elapsed he felt reinvigorated so he watched the race and studied what he could do differently to gain a mental edge and regain his title.  This helped to prepare him mentally.  
A loss can be a great motivator to become committed to improving your performance if you choose to respond positively.  You should never passively respond to a loss. If you do, negative emotions will haunt your mind and take away your edge. People who overcome make a choice to improve their game.  Even if they do not win the contest, they have won by strengthening their character.  Baylor has a great opportunity to build a new foundation for the football program.  Stay hitched Bears to the plan.
Thought for the week, “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.”  Helen Keller 

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