Saturday, October 21st eight children and fourteen adults competed in US Grappling NOVA in Chantilly, VA. I’m always super nervous competition day, not because I was competing but because I was coaching that day. I was a wreck. I had eight kids to coach and for three of them this was their first tournament. When a child competes and this is their first tournament I want them to have a good experience. Not necessarily for them to win, but for them to enjoy themselves. It’s also really tough when a child loses for the first time.
One of my students, who is usually super positive and full of energy, lost his first match to this really tough opponent who he almost beat. He came off the mat with tears welling up in his eyes. I ask “Are you disappointed?” He nodded his head. “Don’t be.” I said. “The wins are yours the losses are mine.” He nodded his head, wiping the tears from his eyes, then smiled.
As a competitor I never wanted to disappoint my coach. So there was always this added pressure that I would put on myself on top of trying to compete well. I wanted to win so bad and was scared to lose or even worse, choke. Now as a coach, especially a coach of kids, I want to take off the pressure on the children and get them to enjoy the processes. I want them to enjoy their success and have me help them deal with their defeats. I tell them that I take their losses for them so we can go back to the drawing board together to help them get better. I never want them to take failure to heart. It is part of life. I feel this is the most important part of being a coach. Being when your student has won is easy being there when your student has just lost is hard. Seeing a child cry after losing a match is one of the most heartbreaking parts of my job, but it is what I signed up for.
Overall I was very happy with how the kids did in the tournament. We placed third as a team and almost every child got a medal, some coming home with first place. Yes their we’re tears and some stressful situations but overall I am very happy with how the team did. Mostly because they all cheered each other on and supported each other. Win, lose or draw they we’re there for each other. They enjoyed the wins and took the loses in strides. Even helping each other with defeat. One of the sweetest moments of the competition was when one of my students lost and was very upset. His little brother came up to him and said “It’s ok.” and gave him a hug. There is no way that I could have been more proud. Because at the end of the day your still going to eat tonight. The people who love you still will. And remember the wins are yours the losses are mine.