One of the things that I think is essential to an off-season is taking a detailed look back. And part of that look is studying your mistakes and your failures. By the way, this is the same approach I take after a Final Four season or a Conference Championship campaign when it might be human nature to sit back, rest and past yourself on the back. The reminder is always good is the enemy of great. The primary way to grow is by studying failure. Bob Knight has said "To win a game, you must first understand what goes into losing."
Mistakes and failures are some of our greatest teachers if we indeed take the time to learn from them. Elbert Hubbard said, "A failure is a man who blundered, but is not able to cash in on the experience."
The players and coaches who lose out are the ones who don't examine their shortcomings or utilize excuses as the reason for their setbacks.
In his book, "Failing Forward," John Maxwell shares a story he got from working artists David Bayles and Ted Orland as a parable on the benefit of failure:
The ceramics teacher announced on opening day that he was dividing the class into two groups. All those on the left side of the studio, he said, would be graded solely on the quantity of work they produced, all those on the right solely on its quality. His procedure was simple: on the final day of class he would bring in his bathroom scales and weigh the work of the "quantity" group: fifty pounds of pots rated an "A," forty pounds a "B," and so on. Those being graded on "quality," however, needed to produce only one pot -- albeit a perfect one -- to get an "A." Well, come grading time and a curious fact emerged: the works of the highest quality were all produced by the group being graded for quantity. It seems that while the "quantity" group was busily churning out piles or work -- and learning from their mistakes -- the "quality" group had sat theorizing about perfection, and in the end had little more to show for their efforts than grandiose theories and a pile of dead clay."
A great story from Maxwell's book. To get...to gain...one must do. It is in the action, the process, that we move closer towards our ideal.