Winning is definitely an incredible feeling, and it’s great reward for hard work and effort. Losing, on the other hand, doesn’t usually feel quite as good. That doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing, though. As a matter of fact, losing is incredibly important to the growth of any athlete.

Why Fencers Need to Experience Loss

Yes, you read that right. Losing isn’t the end of the world; not even close. The experiences you have when in sports, even your failures, tend to bleed into other areas of your life. That’s not to say that if you fail at a sporting endeavour you’ll fail at other things. What we really mean is that you’ll take the lessons learned and apply them throughout your other experiences.

Losing teaches us to:

  • Develop resilience. Resilience allows us to adapt in difficult situations, whether we’re feeling sidetracked by criticism, an injury, or any other uncontrollable factor in life. We learn to “never give up” and carry that attitude through all of life’s trials.
  • Succeed. Losing feels pretty uncomfortable, but it teaches us how to press on and do better. It gives us space to assess our weaknesses and faults, reevaluate our choices, and figure out a new path.
  • Propell ourselves forward. Sometimes we get too comfortable in our routine. Losing — whether once or many times in a row — pushes us to push ourselves to new levels of dedication and training, forcing us to make ourselves better at our craft.
  • Accept ourselves. None of us are perfect. There will always be someone out there better than we are. The only person you can truly compete with is yourself.
  • Adjust our attitudes. A positive attitude is a must, even in the face of a loss. We all experience setbacks, but what we do in response to them is a choice based on our attitude towards the future.
  • Pivot. Sometimes losing teaches us to change paths or directions. Maybe you’re a great fencer but not a great coach. Sometimes we need to lose in order to confidently make the decision to try something else.

At the end of the day, losing is a form of winning. It all comes down to what you learn from the experience. Loss will force you to guide yourself towards improvements in your own training and make difficult decisions about your future. You’ll do it all with a new sense of perseverance, grit and determination, though. We’re sure of that!