Many athletes play games where there’s a winning team and a losing one. That’s the nature of a lot of different sports. Some players cope better with losing than others. Even though it’s assumed that one team will lose, it’s not always easy to accept that you’re a member of the losing one. It requires emotional fortitude to admit that you’ve lost. Here are some coping strategies that players can use to accept defeat and move forward.
Radical acceptance and sports
Radical acceptance is a psychological concept where you don’t fight against what’s happening in front of you. It applies to accepting what you cannot change or control. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of things in life that are out of our control.
That can be frustrating if you’re someone who wants control over things, but you need to learn to accept that there are matters that are out of your hands. One way to do that is to recognize what’s in your control and ask yourself if there’s any action you can take to help yourself.
Here’s how that applies to sports. When you lose a game, instead of being upset about it for days, accept the fact that you’re angry or sad. You don’t have to change that. Feel your emotions, so you don’t repress them and end up feeling worse later. Your feelings are real, and you deserve to allow yourself to experience them.
Don’t let anyone tell you to stop your emotions because that’s not healthy. After you accept that you’re upset, you can work through these feelings.
What can you do?
Ask yourself – what can you do about the loss? There may be actions you can take, and you didn’t realize it. You cannot change the fact that your team lost the game. But maybe there’s a way to learn from it. Perhaps there’s a strategy that you used that didn’t work.
You can assess whether there’s a technique or move you’d like to try in the next game. It helps to talk that out as well. Maybe it’s worth sitting down with your fellow teammates and having an honest conversation about their thoughts about the game and what they think you could do differently. You can also process the loss with them.
Connect with your teammates
You didn’t go through this loss alone. You have a team of fellow athletes you can speak to about a shared experience. Talk with those folks and ask them how they feel. It can help you feel less alone to know that you have people with a shared experience.
Sometimes players struggle with losing a game because they feel alone. They isolate instead of talking things through, and that doesn’t help. If you’re feeling down about the loss, you can always reach out to your teammates. They can be a huge support system for you.
It helps to talk out your feelings with peers who have experienced that loss. The chances are they are experiencing similar challenges, and they want someone to talk to too. Or, you can work through these issues individually. You can also discuss the loss with a licensed mental health professional.
Talk to a therapist about sports
A therapist is a wonderful person to discuss your issues on the field with and get clarity. You’re not alone in how you feel out there. You can talk about your challenges and be candid about what you’d like to work on moving forward. You can also learn about mental health issues on Mind Diagnostics.
Your mental wellbeing is essential. You deserve to have a safe space to talk through your issues. Don’t be fearful of reaching out for help when you need it, whether that’s with an online therapist or someone in your local area.