Weíve all heard and used the phrase,
ďItís not whether you win or lose, itís how you play the game.Ē
In my years of coaching and being around children, or for that matter adults who participate in competitive hockey, Iíve never come across a person who actually believes the above statement. Why? Because whether we choose to acknowledge it or not, winning is important.
Life itself is about winning. You have to win to be successful. Passing a test in school is a win, failing it would be a loss. Trying out for a REP team and making it is a win, not making it is a loss. When you get older, getting the job or promotion you wanted is a victory, not getting it would be a defeat. In order to be successful in life, you have to win.
The same basic principle holds true for our hockey team to a certain extent. Winning is not everything, but it is certainly a primary goal each and every game, and to our players, it is very important and we should accept and acknowledge it. Iíve never met a player or coach who considers themselves successful when they are losing all the time. Losing is never fun, and never will be fun.
Our goals are to teach our players some of the skills they require in order to play the game, and we would like to see them grow and develop as individuals as a result of their experience this year. We also would like to think that each and every one of them would look back at this year as a memorable and enjoyable experience.
These goals are made that much more achievable when we are winning. I think itís safe to say that if we were losing every game, our players would not be having very much fun and would not be enjoying the experience as much as they have.
I just thought it was important for everyone to understand, especially our players, that itís OK to think that winning is important, because it is. Itís certainly not the single most important part, but letís also not kid ourselves. We will never take a ďwin at costsĒ approach, but will always try to give them every opportunity to win.
So, ďIt is to a degree, whether you win or lose, and itís how you play the game.Ē We must always remember to be gracious in both victory and defeat. Whether we win or lose, always respect your opponents, and by your conduct be respected by them. How you win and lose is also very important.