Lou Holtz once said, “You’re never as good as everyone tells you when you win, and you’re never as bad as they say when you lose.” Somewhere in between the truth lies.

I believe that the “a wins a win” mentality (although usually mentioned to to lift a wrestler’s spirit) is perhaps the most harmful phrase for a wrestler’s growth mindset and development.

Below are 5 reasons why the “a wins a win” mentality is hurting your performance:

1. If a win is a win then a loss is a loss. Ever wrestle a really good match but still lose? All losses are NOT equal. Neither are all wins.

2. Wrestler’s with this mentality tend to get more nervous and tense. Nearly all of our wrestlers have reported feeling more loose and relaxed when focusing on factors within their control (effort and attitude). An outcome centered approach shifts the focus from the moment to the future. Focusing on your effort and attitude will keep you in the present moment, which is infinitely more beneficial.

3. When you win you often fail to learn important lessons (technically, tactically, mentally, etc) that you may have otherwise learned. When you place your focus on your effort & attitude instead of wins and losses, wrestlers tend to learn lessons from EACH match rather than just losses.

4. Complacency with a win prevents optimal performance. Wrestler’s who focus only on winning have little incentive to blow an opponent away. I have seen it too often where a dominant wrestler shuts it down in the second or third period because they have a big enough lead to win the match. I encourage wrestlers to reframe their idea of success: From winning to competing each match with an all out effort and positive attitude despite circumstances. That is how you will get the most out of yourself.

5. Wrestlers will not seek better competition. If too much emphasis is placed on winning the incentive to wrestle, nonetheless go after better competition is minimal. Wrestlers looking to preserve their records or seeds infrequently seek the best challenge possible. I want my athletes to forget about their records, their seeds, and to go after the challenge every chance they get. Win lose or draw this will prepare them better for the future.

I can go on and on. Let’s stop saying and most importantly stop believing that a win is a win.

Wrestlers who are able to look beyond wins and losses, and towards growth and improvement WILL become tomorrow’s champions.