My two sons play Badminton, four years now. They are fourteen and eleven. I remember vividly the first year, boldly they entered the championships. They got beaten, with big numbers, very big numbers. No chance, whatsoever.
There were 2 possible reactions; 1) hmm..I want to try soccer or 2) I want to train more.
They chose the second one, they began training a lot more. Entered the badminton school where they got in contact with likeminded kids and passionate, skilled trainers.
So, the next year, another championship. The nice thing about youth championships is that you keep on battling the same guys, every year - they are the same age-class. So, we had a baseline from the first year. The second year, same guys, and they still got beaten. But the numbers were not that high.
And you know what? My sons noticed that....."I did not win, but I am closing in, I am improving myself! Let's keep on training." My sons are both (14 and 11) playing in the highest youth league (Under-19) now and the coming championships will be thrilling. The rate of improvement is staggering. And you know what my eldest son said to me last week when we were driving with the team to our next game in the competition?
"I so hope I get to play a good guy and we can make it three sets (the whole nine yards..), I want to be in the field as long as I can and play my best. I don't care what the result is."
And you know what? I believed him, he was not just saying that to cover his ass. He lost his single (21-19, 19-21, 19-21) and he was smiling.....
It is a life lesson he gave to me at that very moment. It is not about winning, it is about improving oneself. I am still privileged that both of my sons allow me to coach them and I belief wholeheartedly that a coach should not aim for the kill/win, he is to be focused on the progress and improving self consciousness. That is something my son has teached me.
My son (and me) learned something which I think is a bit lost in society; it is not about winning, profit or maximizing shareholder value (!). Those are consequences (very nice consequences btw), just play the game, do your job, give it your best, try to attain an ever-increasing deeper understanding of the field you work in. The result? That is just a consequence.