There’s a German proverb that sticks with me in seasons when I’m coaching youth sports and when I’m not: “You will become clever through your mistakes.”
The season has begun. At this point, I am not stressed out. After all, I am coaching eight and nine-year-olds. Playing sports is supposed to be fun. Games give us the chance to learn and find success. When emotions are high and mistakes are made, learning opportunities can get lost. In youth soccer, mistakes will be made when youngsters are learning the game. And, often, a mistake ends up becoming a goal for the other team. If you make enough mistakes, you end up losing.
I set expectations with parents and players that, at this age, the primary objective of this season is to learn. Yes, this will involve mistakes. It will involve losing. It will involves opposing parents, players, and coaches celebrating at your expense. I start with players at seven years old and coach them until they are 12. At seven, we lose more than we win. At 12 years old, I typically have players among the best in the state. All those learning opportunities make them better players and also better people.
Whatever field you are in, embrace your mistakes. You will grow. See the opportunities to learn. You will become successful in the long run.