Rahunga: Failure is feedback

My last two rugby seasons I have been lucky enough to be a part of a side that has managed to go all the way. In 2015, we lost one of our qualifying matches and just scraped into the semi finals; it was a blessing. It hardened us, and 3 weeks later in our final, our unity, desire and resolve meant we were the successful team holding up the trophy spraying bubbly everywhere.

Two days after this victory, Alex and I had packed up our possessions and made the move via road from Christchurch to the Waikato to start my new job on the Wednesday (the day after we arrived to our new home). I joined the Huatapu Rugby Club and got stuck into 7s. As a side we did pretty well. In our first tournament we made it through to the cup competition, we won our second outing, but were humbled in the club competition. Unfortunately that was the end of the 7s season and we weren’t able to improve move on from this.

2016 was an extremely successful year for us as a Club. Our Premier side making the Semi-finals, and I lead our Development side to first in the round robin and victory in the Finals. Once again the bubbles were sprayed all over the changing sheds and victory was celebrated.

As you can read in in my blog on goal setting, this October I had hip surgery to remedy an ongoing hip issue. Ever since I have been having many valuable learnings and failing over and over.

Being on crutches is both embarrassing and frustrating; they constantly fall over when you rest them against things, you always knock things and people, its near impossible to carry anything and every time you want to go somewhere or do something it is a major logistical undertaking. You feel pretty bloody useless, not to mention the constant reminder from people that “I’m too young to have hip surgery”.

Because I am incapacitated from running for 6 months I thought it would be a great opportunity to share my 7s knowledge and began coaching for St Peters and Hautapu. The first failure was trying to motivate players to work hard, give it their all and want to compete in the tough game of 7s. Despite positive and rewarding trainings I have lost players when it comes to tournaments in both teams on multiple circumstances. Next is playing the game itself. Unfortunately for my young and undersized St Peters side we were humbled in the two pool games we had at their tournament, and for Hautapu we have only been able to muster one game victory so far this season.

Reading this you’d think that all this failure from two years of success would get a man down or stir on depression? But far from it, the pride these athletes instil as they go out their and give it their best is immense. When players and the team start to pick up on what you are trying to coach, improve in their technique or game sense, and as the boys did, score some amazing tries you realise that failure is not the end of the world and massive lessons can come from it.

With each failure it allows you to reflect on how you communicated, on how you and the team prepared,  how the combinations were selected, did you supply the person with the tools and you can become a better coach. Like wise the players adjust, improve and sometimes succeed. It also raises determination, desire and commitment of you and the team.

The Rugby Round Up

The same with my crutches I have become quite resourceful and figured out alternative ways of carrying things and moving around, as well as having a bit of fun balancing on them tying to nail an L-Sit.

I’m a firm believer that sport mirrors life, it teaches you commitment, collaboration, dedication and how to deal with success and most importantly failure. It also helps to reinforce why I do things; I want to improve lives, my own, my team mates, my supporters, my family and loved ones, my patients, my colleagues and my employers, and most of all those who I meet and interact with.

When you fail you realise that what you did wasn’t for the goal, but was being a part of something, it was the lessons you learnt, the skills you developed and enjoyment you shared.

If you want a really good article on failure, check out this great piece by Scotty Stevenson.

I would love to hear some of your experiences of when things haven’t quite come to fruition, I know I have many!


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