The 70-33 final score for the varsity boys basketball game against Yerba Buena on Feb. 5 was an anomaly. The game was one of the high points of a 7-14 losing season, which included in-game struggles such as scoring just one point in the first quarter against Lynbrook.
Team captain senior Peter Dudley sees this losing season as an opportunity to grow, and was impressed after seeing players work by themselves after a loss to improve. Dudley pointed to teammate senior Jaquan “JQ” Barnes practicing free throws after a poor performance at the line one game.
Dudley also credits head coach Larry Loeffler with finding strategies to improve the team.
“If we had trouble handling the ball during the game, Coach starts having us do handling drills trying to handle the pressure so we’re more prepared for the next game,” he said.
The losing season has been a learning experience for everyone on the team, and despite the hardships, Dudley emphasizes the positive effect losing can have when the team is really young.
“I feel like (losing) is more beneficial when we have a younger team like we do this year,” he said. “We have mostly juniors, so using our losing season actually helps in order to teach our younger guys that you don’t like that feeling (of losing) so you obviously want to win next year.”
Research points to the benefits of losing, as shown in a Washington Post story. In the article, sports psychologist Caroline Silby explained why kids sometimes prefer being on a losing team.
“Surveys show that children overwhelmingly indicate that they would prefer to play on a losing team than sit the bench on a winning team,” Silby told the Washington Post. This information shows how much kids, especially at a young age, prioritize playing time over success.
Just like with losing, there are good things that can come from a winning season as well. After getting demoted a division down this year to Division B play, the varsity girls soccer team is having an undefeated season, with a 13-0-2 record. Team captain senior Courtney Martinez said winning so frequently has taught her and her teammates to keep a “0-0” mindset even when winning.
“We’ve tried to keep a mentality where we need to keep thinking that (the opponent) is going to try and win,” she said.“Every game we play needs to have the same high intensity.”
While being demoted has given the soccer team less competition, the winning season has shown, as a result of success, how much team chemistry can improve. The team will try to keep this chemistry as they get close to the CCS playoffs.
“This year, I tried to emphasize that we’ve got to be here for each other on the field and off the field, and so that has helped our confidence levels and we support each other much more than we used to.”
Despite the ups and downs that sports teams go through, they can always have some comfort in knowing that their record resets, and they’ll go into next season with a 0-0 record.