“Everybody is a winner”
“Good job my little champions”
“All the kids here get ribbons”
“No one loses”
These are some of the common statements that I hear from kids classes, preschool groups, and sports camps. For young children, many teachers just want to encourage kids and make them feel nice but this approach does create some problems.
I totally agree with this approach on the first 3-4 table tennis lessons; making the player feel successful and having fun should be the goals for the first 3-4 lessons. After several lessons, the student needs to learn lessons about losing. Learning to lose is a critical element in the learning process. So what does a player learn from a loss:
#1 He learns that losing is a part of life and table tennis – everyone loses sometimes.
#2 He learns that there is a reason for the loss.
#3 He learns that he must train harder and train smarter if he wants to win in the future.
#4 He learns that (if he has the right perspective) losing now will lead to winning later!
If you are a coach, train your student for wins and losses. When your student is winning points, teach him to have the proper attitude, to apply the proper strategy, and to respect his opponent. When his is losing points, teach him to have the proper attitude, to adjust his strategy, to properly react to the points, and to show character regardless of the outcome.
If you are a player, realize that wins and losses are a part of your playing career. Instead of excusing your losses as, “I’m just off my game,” try hard to find the reason that you lost. Was it because you had poor shot selection? Was it because you were playing too aggressively or to passively? Was it because you were too far from the table or too close to the table? Was it because you weren’t properly adjusting to your opponent’s style or speed or spin? As a player, you must understand that there are reasons for losses. Keep a clear mind, understand the reasons, and you will soon be on your way to rapid improvement!
Learning From Losses