The toughest job in coaching or any leadership position is changing the loser mentality. Of all the jobs that a coach/leader has to do, nothing is more draining than changing the loser mentality. Left unchecked, the loser mentality will kill your team – sports team, business team, work team, any team. It’ll rot the guts of your team until the team becomes gutless. Left untreated, the loser mentality will spread like an infectious disease. The loser mentality will contaminate a team, leaving in dead last.

In order to change the loser mentality, you have to first diagnose the symptoms. The list of symptoms includes, but is not limited to, the Big 5:

1. pessimism. Seeing the worst with no out. Seeing hell with no escape.
2. complaining. Incessant whining about existing and non-exiting problems, without trying to solve them.
3. drama junkie. Hooked on trivial, juvenile conflict as a substitute to mask insecurities and ineptitude.
4. laziness. Void of blue-collar work ethic. Fear of getting dirty.
5. high self-interest. A self-absorbed, self-centered, narcissistic with low-interest or zero-interest in team success. Caught up in self-interest only. Concerned only about personal stats, personal glory, personal promotion, personal reward, personal comfort.

The loser mentality causes hell because of unresolved inner hell. The loser mentality only knows how to cause problems and is clueless of how to solve them. The loser mentality doesn’t just happen. Nothing just happens. It’s built. Learned, developed, internalized, rewarded, reinforced. The loser mentality has a synonym – punk.

No amount of genetic talent can save a team from the loser mentality. No opponent is stronger than the loser mentality. The biggest threat to any team, in any field, is the loser mentality. And there’s no bigger cause of wasted potential than the loser mentality. The loser mentality is a garburator of potential. It chews it up and shoves it down the drain.
The loser mentality has become an epidemic. It’s getting stronger and stronger. It’s gone viral. There is no greater coaching/leadership challenge than changing the widespread loser mentality. Trying to change the loser mentality will suck the life out of you. Nothing is more energy draining than trying to cure a team of its collective loser mentality. Nothing drains your battery than trying to change widespread loser mentality. Nothing will empty the tank faster. The reason is the fight – changing the loser mentality takes a fight. A long-drawn out fight that will test every fiber and nerve in your mind and body.

Loser mentality is a force of nurture. It takes a force of nature to fight it. If you’re not up for the fight, the loser mentality will eat you alive. It will tear your guts out. It will gut your team. The loser mentality will not fix itself. It won’t change on its own. It won’t go away without a fight.

Here’s an inside look at trying to build a championship team scratch. It doesn’t matter if it’s a football team or a business team or any other kind of work team, the same rules apply – a winning team is built in one direction…from the ground up. And that starts from the top down – mindset first, down to the body. Practice #1 is done for the Oakville Longhorns 2013 season. Those who showed up showed balls. Those who didn’t passed up an opportunity that can’t be replayed. There’s no instant replay for blown chances. This isn’t baseball. There’s no 3-strike rule. Football, like business, is a high-risk Darwinism that forces the weak to make a choice:

(i)adapt & adept – adapt, get stronger, and become adept; or
(ii)don’t adapt, get weaker, and get cut.

Striking-out is a harsh lesson because it means missing out. Strike-out, miss out. I know the feeling of missing out. Wasted opportunities lead to wasted potential. Wasted opportunity, wasted potential – they’re connected. They go hand in hand. Strike-outs strike the match that lights the inner hell of regret. That’s the beauty of free will – you get to write your own book. It can be a comedy, drama, horror…or you can write a classic. Whatever you choose.

Peace.
Go Longhorns.

Gino Arcaro M.Ed., B.Sc., NCCP Level 3
owner – X Fitness Inc.
head coach – Oakville Longhorns football team
author – Soul of a Lifter