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Learning the Importance of Losing

Congratulations and commiserations to the fantastic, record-breaking England Women’s Team. They may not have won the final, but they have enjoyed huge triumphs in this tournament and reaching the final of the World Cup is in itself a historical achievement.

Losing is an inevitable part of any competitive endeavour, including sports. The England Women’s team has been such an inspiration to children across the country, and in defeat, they can continue to be, possibly even more so with inspiring children to strive for the highest goals and not let setbacks stop them. I loved the We See Them video at the start of the match.


(This photo is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.)


This issue is incredibly timeless as we had A-level results last week and GCSE results due out shortly and with the resetting of grade boundaries, there are a lot of young people feeling disappointed.
With a growing crisis in children and young people’s mental health, it is crucial to teach children how to handle defeat and disappointment healthily. The England women’s team is a team that learns from their mistakes, grows from defeat and doesn’t let it define them. They will be back!



In the meantime, here are some tips to help us all support our children when they don’t quite get the outcome they wanted.

– Encourage children to focus on their effort, improvement, and enjoyment of playing the game rather than just the outcome. This helps them develop a growth mindset and resilience.

– Help children understand that failure is a natural part of growth and that even the most successful athletes have faced setbacks. Share stories of famous athletes who overcame challenges and setbacks to inspire resilience.

– Help children identify and manage their emotions related to losing. Encourage them to express their feelings and find healthy coping methods, such as talking to friends, family, or coaches.

– Reinforce the importance of teamwork, respect for opponents, and good sportsmanship. Teach them that winning and losing are both experiences that can be shared with dignity and respect.

– Help children understand that not every game or competition will result in a victory. Setting realistic expectations can alleviate undue pressure and anxiety.

– Remind children that sports (or exam results) are just one aspect of life, and that their worth is not solely determined by their performance on a particular day.

– Celebrate the progress they make and the skills they develop, regardless of the outcome. This reinforces the idea that growth and learning are ongoing.


By focusing on effort, learning, teamwork, and emotional regulation, we can help children navigate the ups and downs of competition and develop crucial life skills.