Failing First: The Path to Success


Just as in life, in sports more times than not failure comes before success.  The path to success is often a rocky one. Sometimes in order to reach greatness you must first fail. This is often a tough pill to swallow because whenever you do something you expect to complete that task. When failure comes your way, and sooner or later it will, it is how you react to that failure that will lead you to success.

The past couple of weeks my team and I went through a couple of hard losses. Throughout the season we have achieved success and also experienced failure. But when you lose two games in a row and one of them in overtime, that failure takes a toll on you. When you expect to win and come up short it is a difficult feeling to overcome. Losing can change the entire demeanor and confidence level that a team may have. The reality of this failure is that you can learn from the mistakes and bounce back or lose focus and continue failing.

Failing at the first turn can sometimes lead to great things. For example, in 2010 when we lost to Hawaii on the road (our only loss of the season) it put things in to perspective and helped everyone to re-focus and prepare that much harder to finish up the season strong. It is very hard to be perfect, and when you fail, it gives you an opportunity to get better. Failing is just a bump on the road to succeeding.


The Importance of Goal Setting

Goals are a desired result that are set in hopes of achieving. Setting goals are a great way to stay motivated. It is important to sit down every once in a while and set some goals for yourself. It is also important that the goals you set are are measurable, specific, and attainable.
Related to motivation, short-term goals are usually more applicable. Short-term goals help you to stay focused and organized on your path to success.

Measurability- One important factor when deciding upon goals is to ensure that they are in some way measurable. This allows you to track your progress towards reaching that goal. One idea may be to break your goal down into parts to help show how much of the goal you have accomplished.

Specificity- Another part of goal setting is making the goals relevant and specific. If a goal is too broad it wont have very much value and will be more difficult to accomplish. Your goal must be easily understood and have a specific purpose to help you to be successful.

Attainability- A common mistake when setting goals are setting goals that are impossible to reach. If a goal is unlikely to be attained no matter how much effort you put towards it is probably not a very good goal. On the path to success make sure the goals you set are reasonable.

As a student-athlete it is very important for me to set goals. Being a student-athlete is very time consuming and requires a great deal of hard work and dedication. Setting goals for myself are very important and helps me stay on track. Also, every week before a game our coach has us fill out a goal card for the game that week. We set a few goals, then identify some obstacles for each of those goals, and then include a solution for them. There is also a section on the goal card labeled progress, and sometime after the game we discuss them to help us track our progress towards reaching that goal.

How do you use goals to help you stay on track?

Sports: Facilitating Motivation and Leadership

Sports are often viewed as just games and that the skills developed through them are not relevant to you in real life. I strongly disagree with this perception and believe that sports can be a great facilitator of motivation and leadership skills that can benefit you throughout life.

Millions of people across the country use sports to help young children grow and develop their talents. Leadership is no different than any other skill that can be practiced and sports are a great way to learn and practice how to lead and motivate.

It may just be my competitive nature, but to me, sports are just like everything else in life. I am always motivated to go out there and perform at my best. When I begin my career I plan on bringing that same mentality I developed through my athletic career to whatever path I may take. Just like in any company, sports bring people together who are working for a common goal. In life it is making money and in sports it is winning. Yes, there is much more than making money and winning in life but that is almost always the end goal.

Being a collegiate athlete has helped me discover the amount of motivation and leadership it takes to be successful. In my opinion the average person is incapable of going through the grind of being a student-athlete and being successful. It takes a great deal of hard work and dedication and can’t be accomplished unless you have a certain level of motivation. I believe that collegiate athletes have a great advantage in the workplace and that this advantage is due to their participation in sports.

Everyone has different driving factors in their lives but sports have helped me and thousands of others develop leadership skills and helped motivate me to be successful. There are many routes to take in learning how to lead and motivate but being involved in athletics is a unique opportunity to help develop those skills.

Do you think sports are a major contributor to the development of leadership and motivation?

Bouncing Back After Defeat

Leading through turbulent times is often a challenging task.  No, a loss is not the end of the world but initially it feels that way. Especially to a team that believes they are championship caliber. It is important when a team suffers a loss to bounce back right away and move forward. This is achieved by how the leaders of a team react to a loss.

It is important that those leaders set a good example for the rest of the team and stay positive when moving forward. Don’t dwell on the negatives of the loss beforehand but rather learn from those mistakes and use the loss as motivation to never let it happen again. I am a big believer in leading by example and think that a team’s overall demeanor can be determined by the attitudes and body language of its leaders.

Many great leaders are born through failure. It often takes a loss or tragedy to occur for a player to step up and become a leader. The true colors of a leader are often shown when faced with adversity. Adversity gives a leader an opportunity to rise up and take that adversity head on and succeed. And if success is not met, react as a true leader should and stay positive.

I’m not saying it is wrong to be emotional and upset with a loss. It would be wrong not to be upset but don’t let failure consume you, rather  move on from that and rise above it. Turn a negative into a positive and build from that.

What do you think?

Rivalry Week: What More Motivation Do You Need?

Rivalry games are an important part of sports. College football rivalries are often some of the most entertaining and competitive. Rivalries spark players, fans, and communities in an effort to show their superiority over their foe. The state of Nevada is home to one of the biggest rivalry games in the country between the University of Nevada and UNLV (University of Nevada, Las Vegas). The winner of the game is awarded the largest and most expensive rivalry trophy in the country. The Fremont Cannon.

The Fremont Cannon weighs over 500 pounds and cost $10,000 to build. This symbolic trophy is used as bragging rights by the winner of the game for the entire year until it is up for grabs again the next year. Well the time is here again and the trophy will travel down to Las Vegas this weekend to be played for. Nevada has won the last seven years and is looking to make it eight straight. Nevada also leads the all-time series 22-15. Ultimately the cannon is used as a symbol of motivation to help achieve a victory.

Head Coach Chris Ault has some great motivational speeches but after four years I have looked forward to those UNLV speeches the most. He never fails to motivate the team and puts the upmost importance on this game. As game time approaches, Coach Ault continues to motivate by telling stories of the many times he has been a part of this rivalry game. It’s almost time for the Pack to go win a state championship.

Motivation is simple, those without it are eliminated.

What are your predictions on the game this year?

Overtime Thriller

The win today against Wyoming was a struggle but in the end a win is a win. Our quarterback Cody Fajardo went down late in the second quarter and was unable to return to the game. Our backup quarterback Devin Combs had his number called and came up big for us to help win the game. He ended up going 11-19 with 217 yards and two touchdowns. He also had 11 carries for 38 yards.

Dev started out slow but made some great throws when it really mattered. He was also pretty good on his feet running like he was Tim Tebow out there.  The defense really held it down for us in the fourth quarter and gave the offense an opportunity to get us back in the game. With 1:18 left in the game Devin hit Richy Turner for a 44 yard touchdown to tie the game 28-28. The defense stopped Wyoming’s offense again to send the game in to overtime.

We got the ball first on the 25 yard line and on the second play Devin threw a great ball to Aaron Bradley for what would be the game winning touchdown. 35-28. Now it was time for our D to close out the game for us. The D got three big stops and forced Wyoming to 4th and 9. With over 24,000 fans screaming Wyoming was unable to get a first down and the game was over.

Losing that game would have been a huge disappointment especially to a team we should have beaten. Down the road this win could prove to be a pivotal factor in achieving our goal to win the Mountain West Conference title. In the end it was a team win but the defense and Devin Combs deserve the game ball for pulling out a huge victory for us.