Think that professional competitive archers, race drivers and other competitive athletes just start winning and never look back? Think again. All too often people think that to compete at the top level you have to learn to be a champion, or learn what it takes to win. Afterall, winning requires the athlete to win, right? Sure that’s important, but as competitor Marc Gruber would say “Well, I mean we first must learn to lose, and we must learn to lose like a pro.” Losing like a Pro, is the real key to winning consistently.
Growing up, most everyone competed at something. Maybe it was on the playground at school playing four square, or in gym class trying to hit the last one standing with a dodgeball. Some even competed with their academics. I know Aaron Tedford was never accused of that one. The point is that at a pretty young age, most of us in some way or another experienced the joy of winning and felt the sting of losing. I’d be willing to bet that all of you reading this hate to lose. I’m not saying you have to love losing, but you must learn how to do it well and accept it.
Consider this: a good year for a professional archer who shoots for a living, is winning 2-3 major tournaments a year, and making the podium at a few more. Most top pros compete at 20 or more events per year. That means lots of losing at the vast majority of most tournaments they compete in. That’s a lot of losing! Furthermore, competing in the granddaddy; The Vegas Shoot where there’s 250+ archers in the Open Championship division, there’s a lot of losers come Sunday night.
To be a champion, learn to lose. More importantly, learn to lose and then be mentally able to win the next tournament. You can’t make excuses. Don’t kick chairs, don’t cry, don’t pout, don’t break stabilizers. Cinch up your release pouch, hang up your quiver, and remember, there’s always another one, probably next week. It takes everything working in perfect harmony to win an event, and even a little luck. That just isn’t going to happen every time. When you learn to accept that losing will happen much more than winning, you can accept that you are supposed to lose most of the time. Accepting that fact can allow you to take the importance off an individual match and focus on the big picture. A Pro that can lose early in a match and continue to have a good attitude and use the rest of the match to learn is someone to look out for; that person has learned to win.
- Paul Tedford
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