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It is How You Play the Game

Good coaching emphasizes the development of the individuals and not just their playing skills.  This includes developing leadership, self-confidence and a striving to do their best.

My goalkeepers understand that they are not defined by the score of their game.

I learned this lesson many years ago as a ten year old at summer camp.  I played many sports and was accustomed to winning. Towards the end of the summer I pitched a one hitter, but lost the softball game in the last inning 1-0.  I was so upset about losing that I went to my bunk and cried.

Later, a counselor who I was very fond of and respected visited me in my bunk.  He said very little except that I should have been proud of the game I had pitched.  He left me with an interesting book on baseball that included an inscription on the inside front cover.

I did not realize it at the time, but those words changed my life.  It was a quote by the great sports writer Grantland Rice (1880-1954).

“For when the One Great Scorer comes To mark against your name, He writes – not that you won or lost – But HOW you played the Game.

I realized that I had given it my best and was one out away from defeating a stronger team.  In the following days I was often told, “great game”. Having lost no longer seemed to matter.

My subsequent athletic career included undefeated seasons, winless seasons and the whole range of results in-between. Although winning was always enjoyable, I realized that it was the enjoyment of playing and doing my best was what mattered.

When I discuss my playing days with my goalkeeper students, it is usually about a game that I had done well that but resulted in a loss. (See lessons from a 6-0 loss).

In most instances, winning is a by-product of this attitude.

See “Lessons From A 6-0 Loss” Click here


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