In sports, the overall goal is often to win. But in order for there to be a winner, there must also be a loser—that’s just the nature of the game. At some point in their career, all athletes have suffered a hard loss; what sets good athletes apart from great athletes is how they deal with a loss. Are they sore losers? Or are they able to take a negative and turn it into a positive?

we believe the best way to deal with a loss is to learn from it and use it as motivation to improve for the next matchup with these tips.

  • Get back in the gym or on the field: As cliche as it sounds, practice does make perfect. The sooner you get back on the field and back to work, the faster you’ll improve.
  • Fine-tune your skills: Work with your coaches both individually and as a team to figure out what everyone’s strength and weaknesses are.
  • Watch game film: Looking back at past games gives you the opportunity to see where and how mistakes were made and how to avoid them in the future.
  • Change your mindset: Don’t focus on the negative. Losing shouldn’t affect your confidence; instead, it should motivate you to improve your game.
  • Remember that it’s OK to lose: At the end of the day, having fun and playing well is what truly matters, so don’t let losing take the fun out of playing.
  • Move on: Dwelling on a loss can impact your next game, so make sure to leave the past in the past and focus instead on the future.

Bouncing back from a loss is only half the battle. The second–and most important–thing to do is realize that losing can make you a better athlete, not to mention a better person. Below are a few positives that all athletes can take away after a hard loss:

  • Better emotional strength: Overcoming a sports loss can help young athletes cope with other adversities in their lives by allowing them to put difficult situations into perspective.
  • Sense of leadership: Overcoming adversity helps mold and create strong leaders that others will look up to, both on and off the field.
  • Clearer strengths and weaknesses: Losing helps push athletes to find their own weaknesses and strengths, and allows them to apply this knowledge to other areas of life.
  • Strong foundation for greatness: Losing can help athletes realize what they are passionate about and how much effort they are willing to put into that passion.

Next time you’re faced with a tough loss, just remember that it is only a game. Losing doesn’t define you. What defines you is what you do next.