BLOG: How to overcome defeat…

Following England’s heart-breaking defeat in the semi-final of the World Cup, Professor of Sports Psychology Andy Lane looks at how we overcome defeat.

Defeat leads to experiencing intense unpleasant emotions such as anger (why we did we lose? Could we have tried harder?), depression (we needed to win, we are nothing!), self-blame (we didn’t do enough). These are normal responses to a defeat however intense, and always unpleasant.

We should not try to squash these emotional reactions as we respond to England’s defeat against Croatia last night – they are reactions and serve to tell us that the goal we were trying to achieve was important. It’s better to listen to them, wallow in them a while, and then let them pass.

We can help let them pass by:

a)      Setting a new goal – having something to look forwards to is a great mood enhancer ..

b)      Tell yourself you tried your hardest and you were not there yet, but with practice and learning from the experience, you will improve. Defeat is a learning point.

c)       Change your environment or situation… going on holiday is what the players will be doing post the game – many reasons, the goal will be to enjoy time with family, the environment will be pleasant and sunny, the people around them will have a goal to enjoy themselves (remember they have been with people focused on winning a World Cup and that shared pressure adds).

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