Winning is only ever the icing on the cake or a crumb of consolation. 

Consider these two questions and think what message they might send to the player or team you’re asking. 

“Did you win?” 

“What went well?” 

The first question might send the message that winning is the main reason for competing.

The second sends the message that playing well is the main reason for competing.

We derive most enjoyment from playing well. When we learn what playing well looks like we are on the path to improvement. So we train and develop as players to put ourselves in a better position to play well and thereby enhance our chances of enjoying the experience of competing.

Furthermore, experience shows us that we can play poorly and win. This experience can often feel hollow. We don’t tend to feel the same when we have played well and lost.

The main reason for competing is that it offers the opportunity to play well, perhaps even your best, which is an exciting prospect. The ultimate experience is therefore to have played your best and been rewarded with a win.

So as amateurs, winning may be considered as a crumb of consolation when we win having played poorly and the icing on the cake when we have played well. Either way, winning should only ever be a relatively small part of why we compete.