• Tim Crone: Competitors must deal with failure

  • This past Father’s Day weekend was a dream for dads and grandpas who love sports.

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  • This past Father’s Day weekend was a dream for dads and grandpas who love sports.
    The U.S. Open was an event of will. The NBA Finals had Game 5 and no one knew for sure which team would show up for either franchise. The Kansas City Royals won three of four in Tampa Bay, which helped them to continue to rebound from a three-week slump.
    With all these competitive contests occurring in one weekend there was really only time to think about who would win and not enough time to overanalyze the process.
    Baseball and golf are not games of success, but are games of failure. If a hitter gets one hit in three at bats, everyone considers him a great success. If you hit .333 at the end of the season you will be in contention to win a batting title. That equates to having failed .667 of the time. No one in a money-making business would look at that success rate and feel that they did a good job.
    In the game of golf, par for a course is usually 72 and the average golfer shoots between 90 and 100. Pro golfers are referred to as scratch players, which means they usually shoot 72 or par for the course. The point is that a competitor really needs to handle failure in order to experience success. During a golf game the other day I remarked that if I still coached football I would make the quarterbacks play golf with me at least once a week in order for them to learn how to deal with failure – how to concentrate on the next shot instead of worrying about the last bad shot.
    Most athletes would become better at any level if they were able to recognize that negative game events are nothing more than past events. Great athletes and champions are able to handle failure. They are able to learn from it (not dwell on it) in order to improve future performance. A short memory makes a champion mentally tough.
    Pat Riley, Hall of Fame NBA coach, once stated, “In every contest there comes a moment that defines winning from losing. The true warrior understands and seizes that moment by giving an effort so intensive and so intuitive that it could only be called one from the heart.” The truth of this statement is that the champion knows and learns from previous failures, learns from that experience, and moves on.
    The great Jack Nicklaus won more major golf tournaments than anyone in golf history by winning 18 majors. The truth is that he also finished second in 18 majors. He obviously learned from adverse situations during competition.
    You become a great competitor by being your best when your best is most needed. The focus must be on the task in front of you, not what just happened or anything further ahead than the next play. If an athlete loses concentration over a small failure during the course of a contest, they risk losing. Mental toughness is a combination of discipline and will. It is a great life lesson that is often learned through sports.
    Page 2 of 2 - n It was great to watch the Missouri high school all-star football team put it on the Kansas all-star team with a final score of 36-8. Head coach Ryan Schartz, of Fort Osage, and his all-star staff did a superior job of getting the Missouri kids mentally and physically ready to play. Loved it!
    n Since George Brett has taken over as hitting coach, Eric Hosmer looks like a different player at the plate. He is confident and has a purpose at the plate.
    n Man, Phil Mickelson is so close yet so far from a U.S. Open championship. Finishing second six times would have driven Vince Lombardi crazy.
    n My quote of the week is from the master of them all, the great John Wooden: “I always condition with my basketball players. I don’t mean physical condition only. You cannot attain and maintain physical condition unless you are morally and mentally conditioned.” (I hope everyone will think about this statement!)

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