COURTSIDE WITH COACH EDMONDS: FAIL is just a First Attempt At Learning

Keith Edmonds is a 32-year veteran of teaching and school administration from Fort Wayne. He coached boys high school basketball as an assistant at Snider High School, North Side High School and was the head boys basketball coach at Elmhurst High School for 12 years, advancing to the Class 3A State championship in 2003.

When you participate in athletics, you must go into each contest having a clear understanding that although you may have practiced constantly, trained tirelessly, and pushed yourself to beyond the point of exhaustion, you may not achieve your desired outcome at the end of the contest.

You have to be able to accept the fact that for that particular day or evening you may have given it your best effort and that still wasn’t enough. Defeat darkened your doorstep and victory eluded you, but does that mean you failed? In my very humble opinion, I say “no, young people, you haven’t failed.”

Let’s look at it another way. Instead of saying that ‘I lost or didn’t win,’ why not break the word FAIL down into the acronym: First Attempt In Learning?

Coaches push their athletes throughout each practice and training sessions to give them the very best opportunity to experience success when it’s time for the arena lights to come on and their talents to be displayed to the admiring masses assembled to watch them play. They work on their strengths and weaknesses to during those times to make sure that their players have a laser like focus when the game begins. Trust me when I say, I get it completely.

The problem that we as coaches and players have is that when we don’t receive our desired outcome for that particular night, we look at ourselves as failures. And then we are not really grasping the fact that while we were training, and sweating, and spending quality time perfecting our craft to get ready to shine on game night, so were our opponents.

We don’t have a crystal ball that will allow us to see into the future as to which games we will win or lose. We just have to trust that our preparation going into each game will give us the slightest edge that we will need to win that night. But in meantime, if we don’t experience the thrill of victory, we should learn from our mistakes, turn them into correctable errors and move forward with the understanding that, more often than not, we did our best on that particular night to experience success competing against our adversary who expects the very same results.

Accept failure not as a defeat, but as motivation to get better. Young people, you have a gift and a responsibility to those that work with you on a daily basis to mold that gift in such a way that your passion for success far exceeds your desire to accept a setback on that particular night.

Why not look at that SET- BACK as a SET-UP to get better? The great Michael Jordan once said “I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that’s why I succeed.”

I say this to all of our coaches and players. Don’t be afraid to fail, just go over your mistakes, correct what you can and remember, instead of looking at the word FAIL as having a negative connotation, why not look at it from the positive viewpoint.


Courtside with Coach Edmonds will appear every Monday during the prep basketball season at Outside the Huddle. These opinions represent those of the writer. No opinions expressed on Outside the Huddle represent those of any of our advertisers. 

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply