How to get better at dealing with loses

Last year I was a freshman and was fortunate enough to have been chosen as the driver for the team. I quickly became immersed into frc and would spend my spare time scrolling through chief delphi and watching match videos to try to become the best that I could be. At competition I would pay attention to things that I did wrong, but sometimes I would even obsess over little things that sometimes weren’t in my control. I thought that I could have just played better so that the thing that was not in my control could have been avoided and therefore we would have not lost that match. After loses I would become attached to things that I did wrong to the point that I wasn’t making any progress towards getting better. I have also noticed this this year and I want to change this habit so that I can continue improving and getting better as a driver and as a team member that people might look up to. If anyone has any advice for getting over a loss please comment so that I or anyone else that does this can improve. Thank you!

Everyone loses… its what you learn from the loss that counts

Past the top 8 teams, wins/losses don’t matter at all , Scouts don’t look at ranks, its what your team does as to whether you get continued play.

So look at: Engineering–driving–scouting–strategy–rules–programming and see where the failure was and correct it…I can assure you its there. Iterate and appreciate the failures. Chances to improve.


As a driver myself, let me tell you a story from this season (don’t worry, it’s a happy ending).

So it was our second event, and it was either make or break for our run to DCMP. We got selected to be on the #6 alliance in quarterfinals, and came up with a solid strategy during the alliance meeting. So off to the quarterfinals we went, against the eventual finalist #3 seed.

We lost the first match because of technical issues. It was not a pretty sight. Our pit crew was on it immediatey, and fixed the robot for our next match (turns out, we had to replace a spark, but they took care of it :slight_smile:)

Ok, so here’s where the “bad” part comes in.

So it’s our second quarterfinal match, and it’s either win and force a tiebreaker or lose and go home. It’s the moment that every driver gets amped up for (including me), and I wanted to make my team proud.

So, we placed our hatch in sandstorm on the cargo ship and immediately went over to play defense on the other alliance. Things were going great, and we slowed down the #3 alliance as much as we could. Little did I know, however, that while coming back to our side to climb, I had knocked off two hatch panels from the opposite side of the other alliance’s cargo ship, where I couldn’t see from driver station 3. Two fouls right on the spot, and 6 pts added to the other alliance’s score.

The final score was 64-63, in favor of alliance #3. My mistake had not only cost the alliance the game, but had also essentially locked us out of the district championship. I was extremely frustrated with myself for allowing such a seemingly careless mistake to happen, knowing that I had read the rules extensively, and had 2 years of drive team experience under my belt…

What I found that really helped me a lot was not focusing on the past, but focusing on what I could have done better so that I don’t repeat the same mistakes later. In particular, just going to the stands after a tough match when you get the chance really makes a difference. Just chilling with friends and talking acts as a significant stress reliever. More often than not, your team will still rally behind the drive team, even after a loss. Your mentors can help too. Sometimes, just a little enocouragement from your peers or coaches can go a long way, and it surely did for me.

Hope that helped out! :slight_smile:


There is an old saying; History will repeat itself, unless you learn from it.

History is the last match, it is the last event. It is last year.

If someone doesn’t learn from events (mistakes) they will continue to repeat the same process or event.

You can’t change history, it already happened. You can learn from it. Learn what not to do. Learn a new technique. Learn a new process. Learn how to learn.

Repeating the same process and expecting a different result is not an engineering process.


Try not to over-invest in the outcome of a match. Matches are a means to an end. As you’ve pointed out, there will always be things not in your control - this is magnified greatly during a match.

As a team, figure out what your goals for the season are. Agree to stick to those goals by writing them down. No one person can change those goals. As you contribute to your team, understand that your success is defined by success for the team and not of your individual contributions. This allows you two things:

  1. Room for error - you aren’t alone in making mistakes; also, you will likely have help in correcting/avoiding them
  2. You can grow into a leadership role, where you teach underclassmen your former role and move on to positions with more influence.

One thing I’ve noticed as the coach as you will not see all your mistakes (be it driving, strategy, etc) from the field. It is important to analyze your teams on the field performance from a spectator point of view.

For example, in 2017 in eliminations at state championships we were playing defense in between the gear station and the airship, slowing down their cycles. In the match, it felt like we played heavy defense and significantly slowed them down, but at the end they somehow managed to still earn all four rotors. This was largely in part due to 5854 avoiding us completely by going around the airship, significantly decreasing their cycle time. I wouldn’t realize this until watching the videos later. Had I known this earlier, it could had helped shape the second quarter final and any future matches.

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We video each match, download it to a computer in the pit after each match. The team watches it before the next match on the TV.

That allows feedback on every match, positive, neutral and negative. It can show robot issues and driver issues, and positive items to reinforce performance.

This has been one of the most productive actions we have initiated related to the drive team.


The trick is just to accept that the loss was a loss. Don’t keep thinking about how great the whole competition would’ve gone if you played perfect; that’s never going to happen. Identifying what you did wrong and coming up with practices to make sure it never happens again is good. But once you’ve done that, you need to put the match behind you; think about the next match, not the previous one.

As long as you’re not making the same mistakes, you just need to keep moving on. I get that can be hard between competitions, especially between seasons; I’m still kicking myself a little over a split-second mental/communication error that kept us out of finals last Sunday. But I’ve gone over what happened with our driver and know it won’t happen at DCMP, and when I remember that it’s easier to let it go. If you’re constantly improving, that’s all your team can ask for.

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