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11 Ways To Stay Up When Things Bring You Down

posted by Coach Dawn Writes
Friday, May 11, 2012 at 8:48pm EDT

My blog is a place for coaches at all levels who are interested in building teams, motivating their student athletes, and coaching ideas that work. You won't find drills or job postings there, but you will find thoughts from a self-proclaimed coaching nerd who wants to help coaches and teams thrive.

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It could be a losing season.  Or an injury to your star player.  Or the death/sickness of a player or someone close to the team.  Or a player with an eating disorder.  Whatever the adversity your team is facing, we’ve got to know how to get ourselves, as well as our teams, through it with minimal damage.

11 ways to stay awesome when things don’t go according to plan

  1. Ask for advice.  Hopefully we can find someone who has gone through what we’re going through and they can tell us how they handled their adversity.  Hearing other folks talk about a similar situation is good for brainstorming, but it also lets folks know they can approach us about whatever bad situation is going on with our team.
  2. Reframe it as a challenge.  Adversity is real…but it’s also how we approach it.  If we tell ourselves that this is the worst thing ever and our team will never overcome this obstacle, then we’ll be pretty down about our situation.  If we tell ourselves that it’s not that big of a deal, then we may not be living in reality.  I think a good response to adversity is somewhere in the middle.  Accept the challenge, figure out how to learn/grow from it, and don’t let it beat you.
  3. Tell your success story in advance.  Think about a year from now when we’re well past our adverse situation…whatever that may be.  Think about how awesome it’s going to feel to tell people about how down we and our teams were and how we managed to grab victory from defeat.  Thinking about the inevitable success we’ll experience is invaluable in making it through the muck of a challenging situation.
  4. This is a necessary part of your story.  Success generally doesn’t happen in a straight line.  It ebbs and flows, with peaks and valleys.  So we can see this adversity as just a normal and necessary part of our story.  The bummer of a yin to the amazing yang that is bound to happen.
  5. Refuse to whine.  Just like we don’t let our teams wallow in feeling badly for themselves after they’ve played poorly, we can’t let situations turn us into the person everyone runs from in the office.  It’s okay to feel sorry for ourselves momentarily, but if it becomes central to who we are…something’s got to change!
  6. Be lucky.  Are unlucky people really unlucky or just finding what they’re looking for?  I’ve been around some Negative Nelsons who make a living out of finding the negative in any situation.  I can guarantee those folks aren’t lucky…at least not the good kind.  Lucky folks don’t waste their energy being negative, but search out positivity.  Positive folks make their own luck.
  7. Seek out positivity.  It could be an author we like or chatting with your pastor or going to church or working out…whatever it is, make sure it lifts you up.  When your team is in the dumps, the last thing you need is to make it worse by reading/watching/listening to negative things.
  8. Don’t beat yourself up.  If our situation is a losing season, it doesn’t mean that we’re the world’s worst coach.  If it’s a player injury, it doesn’t mean that we did anything wrong in practice or game preparation that make them get hurt.  Bad things happen and it’s not always our fault.  And even if it is, learn from it and move on.
  9. Realize you’re not the first or last.  This one is huge!  Just because it’s our first go ‘round with this particular challenge, doesn’t mean no one has experienced it before.  Like we talked about in number one, go out and find advice from people who’ve been there and done that.
  10. Get perspective.  It may seem morbid, but things can always be worse.  In the grand scheme of life, how bad is our problem really?
  11. Help someone else.  Helping others is a catch-all feel good.  Volunteer at a soup kitchen to get some perspective (see #10) or help a friend move.  Not only is it a good thing, but it’ll get our minds off of whatever challenges our teams are facing.


The inspiration for this article came from a business blog post called, “34 Ways to Stay Awesome When Things Suck”.  Check it out, though there’s some saucy language…you’ve been warned.

If you liked this post, maybe you’d like these, too:  5 Questions That Can Prevent Tragedy From Attacking Your Team, The 4 Most Important Steps Required to Guide Your Team Through Crisis, and Losing Is Lonely: Encouraging Yourself In Tough Times.

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