The Daily Coach shares this insight into handling a losing streak:
When teams are on an extended losing streak, the division from within becomes a significant concern, and all the other daily battles become compounded.
Former NFL Head Coach Bill Parcells would often say, “Losers assemble in small groups, complain about the coaches, other players, and why nothing is going well.” Parcells knew that each day as a head coach, his main function was to handle three phases of his team. He called it the three-fight daily battle.
- Division from within. (Team chemistry, unhappiness regarding roles)
- Competition from your opponents.
- Outside influences. (Agents, media, family)
When teams are on an extended losing streak, the division from within becomes a significant concern, and all the other daily battles become compounded. No one wants to lose. No one wants to accept the blame for losing. And yet, EVERYONE, from other coaches, to players, to executives, has an answer for how to end the streak. As the leader, you must be ahead of the ongoing division; you must be proactive in handling the situation and anticipate the problems. Getting people to “buy-in” when you are winning is easy; convincing them while losing is what separates the good leader from the bad.
Here a few essential steps to help any leader turn the tide of division from within.
1. Don’t personalize any losses. Stay professional and in the moment. We all lose and win together.
2. Maintain the same standards as the first day. Every rule and practice needs to be maintained and honored.
3. Don’t isolate yourself from the team. Be focused on the next opponent.
4. Don’t get consumed with winning the next game; only worry about winning the next practice.
5. There are no shortcuts or tricks to play. Set the example for hard work — don’t allow the loss to affect your effort.
6. Be detailed, be oriented in everything and take accountability for losing. Once you allow details to become ignored by everyone, it becomes hard to re-establish. Do things right all the time.
7. Don’t threaten players or launch verbal insults. Remember you are a teacher, not a screamer. NEVER PLEAD!
8. Don’t blame the media; they are doing their job. Handle them the same way.
9. Understand how to evaluate progress. During a losing streak, making progress in a winning direction is more critical than winning.
10. Simple is always better. Get simple and get good at something.
Losing is never fun. It takes a toll on everyone. As the leader, that toll can wear you down. You must have a plan; you must work hard to keep the team together and believe in your skills to turn this around — one day at a time.