Practising what we preach

As a Champion on the Champions in Schools programme, I have had a fantastic opportunity to help young people in schools across Scotland to understand and accept that failing is a natural part of life and often occurs on the road to success. 

I sometimes have to remind myself of these messages, especially in a recent experience… My hockey club team, Milne Craig Clydesdale Western, suffered a heavy defeat in the league just a few months ago, which all but guaranteed that we wouldn’t be crowned league champions this season. 

At the time we were devastated, embarrassed and stunned. Against the high quality opposition that we faced, the phrase ‘you win some, you lose some’ is always apt but a 7-1 defeat felt like beyond a joke.

In the aftermath of this defeat, my experience as a Champion with CiS came to the fore. I knew that the most important factor wasn’t the failure itself but how we reacted to it and how quickly we were able to bounce back as a team. We had to learn from our mistakes both individually and as a team in order to improve.

Last weekend, we faced the same team again, this time in the Scottish Cup Final. In the past our team may have been frozen with a fear of losing given the previous result. It is testament to the girls that this didn’t happen. We had used the previous shocking defeat to inspire our improvement and worked hard to gain a much better understanding of each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Our hard work to overcome our failure paid off. We played an excellent match, winning 4-3 and being crowned Scottish Cup Champions 2015.

We already measure and evaluate the success of the CiS programme through feedback from the pupils involved and their teachers and parents. We don’t often consider the positive impact on the Champions themselves. In telling young people about success and failure; I was better equipped to help myself and my team recover after such a disappointing result. We are better prepared to deal with setbacks and more willing to search each mistake for a learning opportunity.

Those who know me are all too aware of my love of a good cliché. With another weekend of tough fixtures ahead, I will be reminding my team that we are ‘only as good as our last game’ and that we must continue to put in 100% effort in our pursuit of success!


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