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Former Olympian: Failure Is Not Failure If You Learn From It

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Erica McClain was the #1 ranked triple jumper in the US from 2008-2010 and competed on Team USA at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. In January, 2015 she founded PATHworks (@PATHworksInc), a youth development company that merges sports participation and academic learning for middle school students through a sports-inspired curriculum.

Here, McClain shares what is most unique to a sports environment-- the platform that sports provide for failure. Unlike school or other environments where it may be possible to always be successful, there are always moments in sports when you don't win. Valuable learning moments are more accessible in a sports situation than any other. However, it is crucial that coaches and athletes work together to view these 'failures' as positive teachable moments so they can learn most effectively.

McClain urges coaches to frame difficult moments as teachable moments rather than maintain a harsh, negative demeanor. Similarly, she believes athletes need to gain the maturity to see it as a chance to grow and improve. Both coaches and athletes need to remember that failure is not failure if you learn from it.