Article: Fear of Failure

Discussion in 'Development, Skills & Advice' started by redumpire, Jul 30, 2008.

  1. redumpire

    redumpire FHF All Time Great
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    You know how Keely keeps posting links to those enlightening articles from erudite officiating magazines that she reads? Well, here's another article for you. It's about overcoming the fear of failure. But it's not from an officiating magazine.

    It's by Conan O'Brien. It's his Commencement (i.e. Graduation Day, for non-American readers) speech to the Havard Class of 2000. It's bloody funny and I wanted to bring it to your attention. It does have some semi-serious things to say about not being afraid to fail, so it does have (rather spurious) links to umpire development - honestly, it does - but I've mainly posted it because it's very, very funny.

    If a mod wants to move it somewhere else on the Forum then... yah, boo, sucks!!
     
  2. keely

    keely FHF Legend

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    Terrific post, red.

    My favorite part is this:

    Interestingly enough, I wrote on my blog about JK Rowling's address, also to Harvard, in June of this year. The title I put on her address is "The Importance of Being An Epic Failure." The exerpt I enjoyed the most:

    I believe in this philosophy whole-heartedly. My biggest failures as an umpire spurred me to finally take the plunge and get myself out of Canada. I have no doubt whatsoever in my mind that I'm an exponentially better umpire than I was before and regardless of whether that gets recognized by the powers that be or not, I have been doing everything that I possibly can and it's worked.

    That in and of itself is the biggest reward.
     
  3. braxer001

    braxer001 FHF Legend

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    I loved that JKR speech :)
     
  4. justin-old

    justin-old FHF Legend

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    So did I, braxer :yes:

    redumpire...PM sent.
     
  5. Gilly

    Gilly FHF Legend

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    The important thing to remember is that, even if you don't Know what erudite means, there are alternative ways to success - using numbers perhaps!

    Ohhh - the simple pleasures of trapping your own pedant - sorry Red, I just couldn't resist.

    See you and Keely on the circuit this year I hope.
     
  6. Grumpy

    Grumpy FHF Legend

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    Fear of Failure

    I think most players, coaches and parents fear failure for their teams or children.
    I have coached many levels and relatively successfully on occassion.
    When i get my final squad plus reserves no matter if international, regional or club at school level.
    I sit the players down and explain what i know is required to be successful. The fitness, the dedication the tactics the time the sacrifice, the time and the pain.
    I need honesty and commitment to the group, all the normal things.

    But what i finish with this, if you do all of this i cannot ensure success, we will do well and compete.
    But i pick the team, i choose the tactics i make the substitutions SO WHEN WE LOOSE ITS MY FAULT, not the players, not the manager, not the umpires it is my fault.

    I am not afraid to loose to be successful and i have found that players when removed of the burden of being having to perform ,do perform.
    If players in their younger years have the burden removed and are convinced they will not suffer if the teams loose will perform to the highest of their ability. This will carry on into their senior years over a period of time i have coached at school level many players but i think it is over 60 players that have gone on to play senior international hockey.
    That is what is required, not winning but players playing to their best level consistantly and having fear removed.
    So coaches have to be prepared to loose and loose often to bring a team forward and to take the flak and spare the players.
    Thats what i do and i have found it works.
    I do not take all the credit, the players, their parents and all their other coaches have helped of that i know but i tink me sayhing it is my fault has really helped, i have spoken to many players and parents and they have confirmed this.
    If this total is wrong i will amend it.
     
  7. keely

    keely FHF Legend

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    It's interesting because you say that you remove the fear for your players by taking the fall on their behalf. I think what the speeches red and I refer to, and what I have personally gone through, is completely the opposite - it's not shuffling off the failure to someone else but completely embracing it as an essential part of the learning and growing process.

    I wonder how your players would react if they themselves had to take responsibility for their failures instead of having you to fall back on?
     
  8. Grumpy

    Grumpy FHF Legend

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    As ever i should have added more.

    The players have to answer to themselves, to the group and to me for failure to develop and to progress, in private(that is post match and ar training).
    Progress is playing to the maximum potential but this does not guarentee winning so my view of success is different but as long as the players believe and i can support them, they gain a greater understanding of what real meaning of success is.

    I always take the blame in public for our failures, but the art of the leader, is to ensure as a group, that the players mature and gain experience, this will ensure that they will take more responsibilty for their successes and failures.

    It is natural progression i am just their to help them grow and mature as hockey players.
    Obviously different players mature at different rates, this is the challange and its the best fun.

    I should have put this in earlier

    I am only one of many who have helped these players develop throughout their hockey careers. I may not have had the most influence or been their best coach but i hope i have helped in a small way along their road to success.
     
  9. redumpire

    redumpire FHF All Time Great
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    Corrected. :sorry:

    Thanks Gilly. I got my 'knows' and my 'hows' in a tangle...
     
  10. contramowly

    contramowly FHF Legend

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    I Love you all when you get philosophical. I love Red and Keely no matter what they say or do...

    My contribution here will go in direction to express different kinds of fear to failure in hockey, as a player, as a coach and refereeing

    As a player my fear to failure was always a matter of sense of ridiculous, I was not scared of loosing the match, but of not being able to show every game I was a "special" player. When I grew up, my killer instinct disappeared, I was really scared of hitting a defender in a shoot on goal, so I moved backwards. Then I experimented fear to be too selfish and I moved backwards, to experiment the fear of being too "clean", and not scare the forwards with my ugly face, and bad manners, and worst breath...

    I even get myself fancy dressed as a goalkeeper, and enjoyed the piracy rules, being a real hog and making forwards fly and taste the flavor of a rusted fence... but then I feared not to stink enough... I even tried playing without having showers the 6 days before the match, but i couldn't get the proper bouquet... my profile was too clean...

    So I hit the bottle and got a wistle and started blowing. There my fear was 1st being considered as a ref by the players, one thing is give a and and take the whistle for the love at the game, and another, very different, is willing to be an umpire... and keep covering the others...

    :sorry:

    So I took the wrong way, following a rule "In case of doubt, let them play", when young people were playing and "No advantage is advantage if you have to run" when old people was playing... And I started to succeed so I got all my partners against me...

    As a coach, my main fear was boring the team at practice. And still is. And it's more than 5 years I'm not coaching anyone and I really feel guilty for so many people did not continue playing, for all those who didn't manage to get the elite and did not feel at ease wit fun,
    with the very stupid politics of most of clubs giving more importance to elite than to social hockey.

    greetings
     
  11. Neo

    Neo Technical Moderator

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    Keely, ...be interested (if you haven't already linked it elsewhere) to hear what that advice was re: positioning that made the difference that you touched on in your blog
     
  12. g9

    g9 FHF Legend

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    I think that sums it up for most of us coaches...we love the game and when we get to the point of coaching it for others, we hope to be factor in the players' overall success down the road...when they look back at their own hockey careers hopefully they will think of a few coaches who helped them grow by freeing them up to make mistakes and take risks; to really put it all together and thrive. For me as a coach, I'd rather a player make a mistake but show me that she is trying to assimilate the things I have taught her and want her to be working on...a GK who misses a ball by a few inches but is finally getting her head and shoulders over consistentl even though she blew the angle...a defender on a play that shows patience in tackling but maybe got beaten on a 2v1 anyway...a forward that followed her shot on goal with everything she had but the goalie still cleared it all. Eventually the tide will turn with hard work and those misses won't be there. Or a mistake will trigger a "plan B" reaction in the kid and they'll improvise to make it work...equally ok!

    I have a defender currently who is so afraid of making mistakes that she ends up being far too timid and a scared little mouse on the field. On those occasions that she does open up and forget about the fear, she does fine....my job as a coach is to encourage that other player in her and let her know that making mistakes is part of the process and doesn't make me or anyone else think less of her, so long as she keeps trying to improve. If fear of failure turns into failure to grow and improve, it has to be eliminated for the good of the team. I am talking about personal fear of failure, but Grumpy I see your POV here from an overall programmatic perspective...it is one I've heard many successful coaches use to take the pressure off their players and unleash them to do greater things.
     
  13. Neo

    Neo Technical Moderator

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    There's fear and there's failure - separating the two may be useful at times.... after all the expected success rate for an official must be a lot closer to 100% than it is for a player - haven't you all seen a game where the team making all the play (and expected to win) can still be beaten by an unexpected turn of events. So a player / team can be successful in the final outcome, but still, technically have performed poorly in the game. If failure means not being to meet expectations, then perhaps we need to ask "whose / what expectations?" Are these the expectations that we place on ourselves, the outcomes that others expect us to meet? Are these expectations objective, or subjective - measurable or interpretive and reasonable?

    I'm not sure that there are any hard and fast rules for what constitutes an epic fail for an umpire, I suppose it is contained in each story that might be told. Do you measure it by the degree of angst that is generated, for instance? But fear? Fear of risk-taking is not going to assist an official in making decisions on the events in front of them - choices/decisions have to be made - it is like taking a roller coaster ride - you know what is coming, but you do it anyway. Fear as a negative emotion is genetically protective - protects us from danger. If it becomes a conditioned response, it is no longer protective, and negative emotions don't always mix with clear thinking!

    So, what am I trying to say? hmmmmmm. Being an umpire means taking a risk and trusting your judgement and accepting that not every decision may turn out technically correct - but it is far better than losing the plot simply because you didn't get 100% perfect. Phew, what a ramble. I hope this makes sense to someone!
     
  14. g9

    g9 FHF Legend

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    I was just reminded of an incredibly inspiring talk about this topic given by a world-reknowned Carnegie Mellon Professor, Randy Pausch, who just died recently. It is entitled "the Last Lecture" and if you can spare over an hour on Youtube watching it, I think you'll find some very relevant advice on why failure is good....brick walls are not there to keep us out, they are there to see how badly you want to get in is one I remember. Anyway, take some time and watch...
    [youtube=425,350]<object width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/ji5_MqicxSo&hl=en&fs=1"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/ji5_MqicxSo&hl=en&fs=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344"></embed></object>[/youtube]
     
  15. justin-old

    justin-old FHF Legend

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    Yes, g9 , definitely worth the effort & time.
     
  16. braxer001

    braxer001 FHF Legend

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    I'll second that! WOW is really all that comes to mind...

    btw have a rep point for it ;)
     
  17. Feral

    Feral FHF Regular Player

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    The measure of succcess should not just be - Did we win or did we lose? It should be taken in the context of did we learn!
    If the measure of succes = yes to learning, then hopefully we can use that learning to greater effect for the future. :)

    As a coach we should always try and accentuate the positive, but we should also keep an eye on the negative.
    Positive mentaL images work :nerd:
     
  18. Danny

    Danny FHF Regular Player

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    spot on feral :yes:

    losing can be as good as winning as u learn more when you lose therfore you improve!!!
     
  19. foozbear

    foozbear FHF Regular Player

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    reading through all these posts have made me think back a little.

    WE ALL fear something on the pitch. From the goalkeepers fearing a silly mistake that leads to a ball in the net....to the forward that fears not making the play that allows their team to win....to the umpire fearing not making the right decision that causes upsets.

    its the fear of failure that inspires us to NOT fail.

    I am un umpire. I am a player. I am a coach. In all these positions my fear is different. But its only because I fear that I practice those situations. If I can't practice them I watch someone else, if I cant watch I visualise.

    I saw recently a group of u19 boys come from being the whipping horse of the tournament to winning the bronze medal game. They played with more enthusiasm and less fear in the medal game than the entire tournie.

    when you have nothing to lose...you dont fear failure. Maybe this is how we should approach it?
     
  20. justin-old

    justin-old FHF Legend

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    In fact, losing can be even more productive than winning, especially in the example quoted where the team which played 'badly' still won....there is a real danger that such a winning team may feel they have nothing to learn from the game...."Well, we won, didn't we?" :rolleyes:
    (Even the best of coaches can find this mindset difficult to break-through)

    Losing or performing below your expectations can provide strong motivation to learn and improve.... "We don't want that to happen again, do we?" :no:

    On the other hand, I don't think you should take 'fear of failure' on to the field ...... if the coach has done his/ her job well, the team should be confident that they are well-prepared to perform as well as they can (at this time) ....the 'outcome' of the game should not be their main concern, because over-concern about outcomes tends to result in poor concentration/performance.

    If you perform to your 'personal best', the outcome will be what it will be, and is for discussion and analysis later!

    (Nowhere is this more obvious than in the very 'cerebral' game of golf, where one has too much time to consider how you might 'fail' !)
     

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