One of the most difficult duties of a coach is leading his team by example to bounce back after a loss-especially an underachieving performance or a bad loss of any kind. Yet, over the years I’m not sure I’ve ever seen or heard a coach address this topic except for vague references to a 24-Hour rule prohibiting enjoying a win or self-punishment after a loss.
Personally, it was usually much easier for me to respond after a win and get my team re-focused to get ready for the next game. But, I always had trouble shedding the effects of a loss, and no doubt, this behavior at times would contribute to another loss on the heels of the first.
In retrospect, like every other phase of coaching, I could have gotten my teams to bounce back quicker and better prepared for the next game had I been better prepared myself beforehand and not leave it to instinct and chance. If I had to do it over now, I would have a pre-season staff meeting on just the one topic of bouncing back quickly after a loss. In that meeting I would establish the following:
The meeting would start with the premise that the players won’t bounce back quickly and effectively if the coaching staff-especially the head coach doesn’t show the way.
Actually adhere to a 12-Hour rule, which is realistically what teams need to do anyway.
Even though I would expect every coach to totally adhere to the “bounce back quickly” protocol, I would assign one coach to make sure that I was setting the tone myself and not digressing.
In any review of the previous night’s loss, whether in a tape session or not, the comments would be framed by making the necessary corrections with our next game in mind.
Having individual conferences with a few key players to get them “right” and in the proper frame of mind to get back to work in a positive way. Other players will feed off the key players’ examples.
Keeping in mind that everyone is best served by enjoying the process. Players and coaches alike can work hard and get after it and enjoy it at the same time.
Remembering that one loss can lead to another with the wrong frame of mind and that it’s hard enough as it is to compete at high levels without a good perspective.