Why Successful Teammates Clap For Mistakes

What would make successful teammates CLAP for mistakes?

Aren’t they damaging and destructive?

Well, if repeated without recognition, yes.

But I would argue that how you and your team handle mistakes is the key determining the difference between your organization and your competition.

Sincere and sustained great effort will always result in a few mistakes. A group that is prepared to cope with those mistakes in a positive way will always outperform those who become frustrated from or fearful of the experience of errors.

Let me explain.

Legendary basketball coach John Wooden used to tell his teams that “the team who makes the most mistakes will probably win.”

Like any other experience, mistakes are an opportunity to improve - or to implode.

How you and your teammates handle setbacks or mistakes or adversity is one very significant way to gain an advantage – or suffer a defeat – due to your responses.

The truth is that swimmers don’t drown because they go underwater...

They only drown if they stay there.

So what I have shared with teams over the recent past is a simple and effective response to mistakes or human error that ALWAYS results in better performance.

I ask them to CLAP.

That’s right.

When you or your teammates commit a mistake, the key behavior that will allow you to “bounce beyond” it is an immediate and intentional three claps.

And as you clap three times in succession, teach yourself to remember the following steps to overcoming mistakes mentally and getting back to competing successfully:

Claim it, Learn from it, And Play through it!

Claim it

Start by acknowledging the mistake and admitting responsibility.

Own the behavior, or you will remain a victim who must wait on someone else to change for circumstances to improve! If you point the finger of blame at others, your team will not get any better until they do – but if YOU claim responsibility, you also claim control and power to make things better yourself.

Learn from it

Second, understand what happened so you don’t repeat it.

If you have to lose a point, or a possession, or a sale, don’t lose the lesson the experience offers! Make the necessary adjustments to your training, your behavior, your mental playlist, and your attitude so that you can succeed the next time you are in that situation!

Play through it

Finally, commit to making the next play.

Too often, athletes find themselves letting one bad play affect the next play and become a string of mistakes instead of an isolated event. The next play is the only one you can control – so invest your effort in playing harder rather than pouting!

If we handle mistakes better than our opponents, over time we will be more successful.

To ensure a positive and productive response, work on clapping to yourself and use this method to move beyond adversity.

People who work hard and take risks will invariably make mistakes.

That is not the issue. The issue is whether you will drop your chin, pout, and complain about the past... or focus on the future and make it better because of what you learned!

Everything in life will either make you better or make you bitter...

Our response to mistakes – ours and our teammates’ – is the difference between winning and losing! With three simple claps, you can inspire better behaviors and positive team development.

Instead of looking backward and replaying the mistake over and over in your mind, clap past it and turn it into more productive reminders and encouragements for the next play...

Great teams clap for mistakes.

If your group needs to work together through adversity and improve communication, team building events can act as a fun and impactful catalyst for the changes you desire, and will help you to create a more cohesive culture.

What do you think? Let us know by leaving your comments, suggestions, and questions...


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Jeanette Boyd says:
2/20/2015 at 10:58:33 AM

Wow....this article is by far one of the best things I have ever read regarding sports. I will definitely pass this along to my daughter and her teammates. Love it!


Christy says:
1/5/2014 at 12:16:19 AM

Love it. Will start the second half of our current season implementing this mindset with my girls. The mental game for them is often as much of a battle as the game itself!


Coach schrader says:
12/20/2013 at 5:43:36 AM

Very good idea


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