Losing Sucks!

My college coach used to walk in the room after a bad game and just say: “Losing Sucks!”  We did plenty of it, but he was right, it always sucked.

So, now you are on a losing streak.  It Sucks. How do you get out of it?

Be a competitor that’s how.  Sometimes easier said than done.  I’ve been doing this pro hockey thing for a bit now, but been competing all my life.  Whether it was on the football field, hockey rink, racetrack, or in business I’ve always tried to compete to my best ability.

I never even LET my kids win, I hate to lose so much.  My wife is always asking “Why are you so competitive?”  I’ll tell you why: Because Losing Sucks!

So when you find yourself on that losing streak here are a few tips from the hockey world that can help you snap out of it.

  1. Execute.
    In every hockey locker room we dwell on the little things.  “Get it deep, close support, D-zone coverage,  no blue line turnovers, get it to the net, short passes, win puck battles.” What it means for us all is a dedication to getting the mundane shit done, and doing it right.  It matters, it all adds up.
  2. One shift at a time.
    Win your shift and get ready for the next one.  Once it’s in the past it’s over and all that matters is what you do next. Sometimes you even have to put a mistake behind you during THAT shift and work hard so you don’t make another one.  (note: that doesn’t mean try and make up for it, it means mitigate the loss) In life, be careful about compounding your issues, take care of the present and control what you can control, then do it again.
  3. Tomorrow’s a new day. (related to #2)
    The great thing about playing 72 games is that you get another chance, soon. Take advantage of it, learn from the loss (or the win) and be better tomorrow. Good advice for whatever struggles you are having.
  4. Stay in the system.
    At the pro level everyone is good, even in the minors.  You can’t win the game on one play all by yourself, it doesn’t matter who you are.  So stick with the game plan, play as a team, and work together.  This means, write down your goals, make a plan, and get help to achieve it.

Sometimes even these things don’t seem to be working.  That’s when flat out determination and a complete refusal to keep losing comes in.  There are lots of examples, Tom Brady in Superbowl LI (not LII as pictured above), or Vince Young in the 2006 Rose Bowl.  Two Leaders walking up and down the sidelines telling their teammates they were going to win, they knew it.  They basically just willed it to happen.

The best hockey example is Sidney Crosby at the 2010 Olympics.  Gold Medal Game, Overtime.  They showed him coming off a poor shift and sitting there on the bench.  He wasn’t pissed at himself or frustrated.  He was determined. You could tell it was going to be over the next time he got on the ice.  I even said it to the person I was watching the game with.  He had the look of pure determination and confidence. (So maybe a few people can do it by themselves to some extent)  A few seconds later he jumped over the boards and scored the game winning goal.

Competitors hate to lose.  They are determined to get better, to support one another, to do what it takes to win.  So if you want to compete you have to hate losing more than you love winning….I don’t remember who said that but it’s true.