🏆 How do the BEST players respond to mistakes?

Mistakes happen. How do you get your athletes to respond the right way?

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Mistakes happen. How do elite athletes respond?

How do you get athletes to respond better to Mistakes?

HOF Coach Dean Smith from the University of North Carolina had the GOLD Standard!

He had a simple 4-step process that he used with his players. These steps are below:


Step 1 is to find the mistake. Nothing else matters if you do not recognize that a mistake was made. How do you recognize mistakes?

In order for this to happen, athletes must trust coaching. They must be coachable. It is one of the keys to building a Championship Culture.

Michael Jordan will tell others that his most important characteristic as an athlete was being coachable. He always was looking to learn. He had great eye contact. He listened with his eyes. Coach Smith instilled this in him.

In order to recognize their mistake, athletes must be open to growing and learning. Do you watch film? Can you handle constructive criticism? Do you feel like you have a lot to learn?

Can you learn from people that are not your favorites? Yes, you can. You can learn from both good and bad, but you are always learning.

Step #1 - Recognize your mistake.

2: ADMIT it

This step is hard for many. Don’t play the “what if” game. Don’t play that “shoulda, woulda, coulda” game.

Admit when a mistake is wrong.

You cannot grow, change, or improve as a player until you admit your mistakes. Be open to improvement.

This is a big hurdle for many. Yet, probably the most important.

Do you take responsibility for your actions? Do you believe your actions can influence others on your team?

John Wooden had one of my favorite quotes on this topic: 👇

3: LEARN from it

The best players LEARN from their mistakes.

Unfortunately, too many people are not able to do this. They continue to make the same mistake over and over again.

When this happens, trust is lost.

Winners learn from their mistakes. It is a Mindset.

Do you continue to repeat the same mistakes?

Einstein once said...

"The definition of insanity was to continue to do the same thing over and over again and expect a different result." 

Albert Einstein

Focus on fixing mistakes and learning from them.

4: FORGET it

Finally, do not dwell on your mistakes.

Correct the mistake, and move on to the “next play.” Many athletes dwell on their mistakes, and it causes them to make multiple mistakes.

Here is Coach K's "Next Play" Mindset:

“In basketball and in life, I have always maintained the philosophy of ‘next play.’ Essentially, what it means is that what you have just done is not nearly as important as what you are doing right now. The ‘next play’ philosophy emphasizes the fact that the most important play of the game or life moment on which you should always focus is the next one. It is not about the turnover I committed last time down the court, and it is not even about the three-pointer I hit to tie the game; it is about what’s next. To waste time lamenting a mistake or celebrating success is distracting and can leave you and your team unprepared for what you are about to face. It robs you of the ability to do your best at that moment and give your full concentration. It is why I love basketball. Plays happen with rapidity, and there may be no stop-action. Basketball is a game that favors the quick thinker and the person who can go to the next play the fastest.” 

Coach K

Champions are able to learn and move on quickly.

There you go, a quick 4-step process to use with your athletes on dealing with mistakes from the Master himself, HOF Dean Smith.

Good Luck!


“Pressure is an illusion. I’m just here to have fun.” — Sydney McLaughlin

"No one ever expected me to be here so that feeling of being an underdog is ingrained in me. It's a natural part of my consciousness." – Steve Nash


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