Winning not the only measure of success?

Pitching is tough, winning is not easy and there are no prizes for coming second. The frequent feedback from a client, not wanting to hurt any feelings, is the message that it was a very close call. Little consolation when you guess all the losers, however poor, were told the same thing. It is easy when the wins escape you to start thinking ‘failure’.


This is when it is time to take in the philosophy of John Wooden, legendary basketball coach at UCLA, ranked by many as the greatest coach of all time, across all sports. In a delightful, inspirational TED talk given three years ago when he was ninety nine years old, he emphasized that winning is more than scoring.

His ideology is is well summed up in his often quoted definition of success: “Success is the peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to become the best that you are capable of becoming.”

How does this apply to pitching? For most participants the pitch is an occasional activity and not their core skill, the area where they will strive to ‘become the best they are capable of becoming’. The pitch loss, often for reasons outside your control,  is too quickly buried together with any valuable learnings. Any pitch, won or lost, is an opportunity to gain the success of reaching your personal pitching best.

This does call for study and preparation outside of the pitch. Another Wooden quote: “Confidence comes from being prepared”. As you close in on your best, winning will become more of a habit.

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