Everyone wants to win, and nobody wants to lose. It may seem like the same concept both ways but really, it is quite different. Playing with the attitude of wanting to win is a whole other game than playing with the attitude of not wanting to lose or being scared of loss.
The sheer desire to win has proven itself over and over again on the playing field of every sport that it gives a huge advantage for whoever expresses it more. Playing with just the desire to win, just wanting it more gives a player or team a certain aura that can be seen from a spectator’s point of view, and the opponent’s. They play without fear, they do their own thing and set their own tempo. The confidence is pouring out of their ears as they try new things or really difficult but rewarding moves or actions or plays. They celebrate hard instead of acting like it is an everyday thing to win or score. The desire to win is one of the main reasons an underdog team can upset the big guns.
Playing while not wanting to lose or scared to lose is detrimental and WILL always end up terribly. In sports, playing like this leads to playing it safe, and being dull. It is like someone took the fight out of the team or player. They play with very low intensity, and only do what they know how to do best. While sports are dynamic and require change, just doing one or two things to reach a score or stay in the lead can never work out well. These people tense up most of the time and can’t even do their main actions or plays. Plus, once their opponents get in the lead or disrupt their mental state, they lose it mentally and it just all snowballs downhill from there. Playing not to lose will almost always, from my experience playing and watching, result in loss.
My personal experience comes fro, 2016 fencing u20 World Championships in France. I felt like I can perform very well and make a good result. I put an expectation on myself when in hind sight, I should have fenced with no expectation or pressure. I got in pool rounds and I froze. I was static, and I couldn’t think about anything else except for not losing. There were fencers in my pool I beat badly before in previous tournaments. Other fencers I thought to myself have no chance in beating me when I fence normally. Unfortunately, I lost all but one bout and was eliminated before the direct elimination rounds even started. It is definitely something I will never forget, but it is also a lesson well learned. The next day in the team events, I fenced the best out of my team and scored the most amount of points while letting up the least. I led my team while I was the one who performed the worst individually.
In the round of 16 in the Champion’s league, Barcelona and PSG were playing and Barca, being heavy favorites to win virtually everything, traveled away to Paris. The Parisians, knowing the full extent of Barca’s strength, played their hearts out with nothing to lose. They won 4-0 at home. A score that in most cases seals the deal going forth into the second game at at the other stadium. When it came time to play the second game in Barcelona territory, everything changed. Barca played the game with no pressure, having being already down 4 goals. Paris saw the light at the end of the tunnel and tried playing it safe. Barcelona thrashed them 6-1 to advance with an aggregate score of 6-5 over the two games. The greatest comeback in European football (soccer) history. Just a week later, in league play, Barcelona did the same thing PSG did against them, but against a weaker Spanish team and lost 2-1.
Everybody is capable of winning, no matter what people say the odds or, or who’s a stronger player or team. The desire to win is just as important as those technical skills. It is what allows the upsets to happen, and is the main trait in consistent teams and players that look to the first place spot. I hope this post changes your perspective on sports a little and maybe helps you find closure to the money you lost betting on the Falcons to win the Superbowl after the second half.
Thanks for reading,