As my 11-year-old daughter Carly wrapped up her final volleyball tournament of the spring on Saturday,  I could tell something was wrong. Her team had a rough day. They only won one match and had just lost in bracket play. As we got to the car she sat down and began to cry. I asked her what was wrong? Through her tears, she said, "Dad, I hate to lose. This was my last tournament of the year and we lost our last match." I then let her in on a little secret. You learn more from losing than you do from winning.

This was Carly's first year playing volleyball for the Marion Magic club team. She loves the sport and practices bumping and setting in our house and outside every chance she gets. Many of the other girls on her team had never played before either. So needless to say they had some growing as a team to do. I'll never forget their first tournament. They were shell shocked in pool play. But by the time bracket play happened, they came together and played well. But the competition was tough. Wins were hard to come by. And when you're a kid, and you practice twice a week and put in the work, you want to see results. Players think that wins are results. But coaches and parents know better.

Ryan Brainard
Ryan Brainard

Sure, wins are nice. But these girls all improved so much over the course of the season. Prior to the beginning of the year, Carly could barely get the ball over the net. Now, she is one of the team's most consistent servers. She learned to use her nearly 5-foot 10-inch frame to block shots at the net. And while she never really 'spiked' a ball hard, she knows that is the next step in taking her game to the next level.

So to my daughter, I say wipe away your tears, but don't forget how losing feels. Let the pain motivate you. Let it make you want to work harder. Losing may hurt now. But you'll know why it was so important when you start to WIN.

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