He Shoots… He Misses!

When you read this title, what goes through your mind? Does it invoke a negative connotation?

Does it stir some negative emotion or memory of a time when you faltered at a critical moment in a competition, whether it be missing a landing, striking out, dropping the ball, missing a shot, losing a game, dropping in the rankings, being beaten by a team with a losing record, having the ball stolen, getting knocked out, crashing, false starting, falling down, making a big mistake or finishing with a slower time?

Yeah, it sucks to miss, lose or fall short of your objective but it certainly is not negative! You are probably thinking, “What the hell is this guy talking about?”

Well, let me throw some statistics your way to prove my point:

  • Missing 5 out of every ten shots in basketball gives you the same shooting percentage as basketball legend Michael Jordan.

  • Making 7 outs out of 10 at-bats gets you nominated to the baseball Hall of Fame.

  • Throwing 36 incomplete passes out of 100 attempts puts you on the same plane as New England Patriot quarterback Tom Brady.

  • Not scoring a goal 270 times out of 300 shots, consistency places you among the NHL leaders in shooting percentage.

Each of these “misses” provides an athlete with some kind of corrective feedback. Think of it in terms of a GPS… after a wrong turn, roadblock, closed street or heavy traffic, your GPS will recalculate or provide an alternative route that can help you get back on track or give you a better route to your final destination. Your GPS would be of no help if it blurted out, “You idiot. You missed the turn. You suck at driving” or “Oh no, roadblock! You are shit out of luck. Just go back home, sit on the couch and cram a bag of chips into your mouth.” Any of these negative statements would make you feel inadequate or cause you to give up on your trip.

Each miss for a basketball player allows them to re-adjust their release point for the next shot. A lost set in tennis affords the player to adjust their match strategy that is a more effective plan of attack for that particular opponent. A red card in soccer can help a player learn to manage their emotions better in future games. A slump for a baseball player can provide corrective hitting mechanics to their batting average in the future. An interception in football can become feedback for a quarterback to scan the field more effectively and hit receivers in stride.

Ultimately, misses can be one of two things depending upon your perspective:

You can interpret a miss as lack of ability and a low ceiling of potential... Or you can see misses as a part of the game and feedback to lift your game to the next level.

The truth of the matter is that athletes learn more from misses than successful attempts. That is worth repeating… YOU CAN LEARN MORE FROM YOUR MISTAKES THAN FROM YOUR SUCCESSES!!!

Consider those misses as a valuable education that you don’t have to pay for and, every time you learn from that feedback, you graduate to the next level.

With that being said, you will never overcome every single pitfall that comes your way, in other words, you will miss again and again… But just remember that you are in good company with such greats as Tom Brady, Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky and Mike Trout!