The Paradox of Winning & Losing

It’s definitely counter-intuitive that your probability of winning (in sports and in life) actually increases by focusing less on the win, but it’s true…

“We’re not going to talk about what we’re going to accomplish, we’re going to talk about how we’re going to do it.” Nick Saban, American Football Coach

Let me explain with a recent study that Mr. Tan Mian Ou (Raffles Institution’s Rugby Master) and I presented at the Asia Pacific Physical Education Conference (APPEC). We shared with teachers and coaches about how the 2017 Raffles Institution (RI) ‘B’ Division Rugby team managed to find success by NOT focusing on winning.


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The Background Story…

Continue reading “The Paradox of Winning & Losing”

Putting It into Context…

The boys are much more serious about learning and applying mental skills after a couple of competitive games – they are paying attention and asking questions to clarify instead of just “pretending” to be learning.

Mental Prep for Monday's Game vs ACSB
Mental Prep for Monday’s Game vs ACSb

As a psychology coach, I have gotten quite used to this especially with the younger C-Division athletes. These fellas struggle to understand the relevance of mental skills since they can’t really associated the material with a concrete and authentic context, i.e., they often have little or no prior experience of having to perform under pressure.

Contextual Teaching and Learning (CTL) is a concept that reflects a common sense notion that learners learn better when they are taught knowledge within the context of actual experience, rather than abstractly. As much as I try to incorporate CLT strategies into my coaching such as getting the players to focus on process goals under simulated conditions, it seems that nothing beats “real life” experience!

I reckon this is true even outside the context of sport. My former student was sharing investment advice with me last week, and I probably wouldn’t be able to make sense of the advice if I did not have the relevant experience in biz and investments.

“Learning only occurs when the learner wants to learn, is ready to learn, and has a reason to learn…”

Furthermore, I am sure all of us have experienced some sort of screw ups at work or even in relationships, and it was only on hindsight that we realize that all the trouble could have been avoided if we had heeded or remembered a particular someone’s well-meaning advice, which at that point in time seemed irrelevant and/or unnecessary!

I guess it’s human to err, and to err is probably the best way for humans to learn!

Coach Hansen