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Monday, February 4, 2008

Moral Victory-Does It Exist?

The common definition of the moral victory is losing the competition, but feeling as though you won. A moral victory might be forcing a more talented team to their limits and almost winning the competition with less skillful players. Most people do not believe in the moral victory. They will say that you either win or you lose, there is no middle ground.

I have always been ultra competitive. I want to win no matter what. There was nothing worse in life than losing a competition in my mind for many years. If someone told me "good job" after losing a game, they might as well have been spiting in my face. It insulted me. I did not believe you could have done a "good job" if you had lost a game. The game did not have to be very significant. The game could be as small as a friendly game of miniature golf. I wanted to win!

Now, I am a coach. I still have the competitive drive to win. It might be even greater now than ever before. The will to want to win can numb you or worse it can blind you. It can numb you during stressful situations because you are focused on winning instead of doing what it takes to win. Wanting to win can blind you by overlooking mistakes because of the fact you won. That is being results oriented. The mind is trained to be results oriented. If you have good results, you must have done things correctly. Then, you repeat what things you did to get good results. Most times in life, being results oriented is incorrect. You must examine if you did things correctly or if you got lucky.

A coach cannot be results oriented. If you are coaching a less talented team, you will not make any progress by just looking at the win-loss column. If you are coaching an extremely talented team, you will overlook mistakes and that will probably lead to your failure down the road. So, you are not supposed to be focused on results...what should you concentrate on then? Every person in a competition should be playing against the game itself instead of their opponent(s).

The athlete should be trying to play the perfect game. They should be concentrating on their fundamentals. The athlete should be trying to execute at a higher level than they ever have before. The basketball player should be focused on footwork, passing, dribbling, shooting, and playing defense without making mental errors. Physical errors will happen in any sporting event. Mental errors do not have to happen.

The coach should be closely watching each athlete. The coach must watch for fundamental mistakes and mental errors. If an athlete is out of position, it might not cost the team immediately but at some point it will come back to haunt them. Ther time it bites you could be when you cannot afford it like at the end of a tied game.

Do I believe in the moral victory? I do believe in the moral victory, now. I believe it is rare though. A moral victory would include playing a near perfect game at near the team's potential. Both of those things are extremely rare. I do not believe anyone can achieve their full potential because you can always improve. It is just like giving 100%. It is impossible to give your full 100% in a sporting event. You might be able to get to 90% for a short time, but it's not sustainable. So, I do believe in the moral victory, but only on specific occasions.