Winning Ugly: Win When No One Expects You To.

Winning Ugly: Win When No One Expects You To.

Sometimes you win. Occasionally you win easily. But most of the time you win when it’s difficult, challenging and when things go wrong…winning ugly.


Sometimes you win.

Very rarely do you win easily when everything goes the way you planned it to go in training.

Sometimes winning is about winning ugly.

So what is winning ugly?


How may times do you actually go out on the field with all of your best players 100% fit and healthy and in the best form of their lives?


a. Sometimes

b. Often

c. All the time

d. Never.

If you answered d. Never – give yourself a round of applause.

The aim of the game is to win. In a perfect world the “football-fairy” appears and magically transforms your team into a perfect performance powerhouse that seemingly wins with ease.

In the real world, there is no “football-fairy” and you’ve got to win when you’re tired, when you’re fatigued, when you’re not feeling great – you gotta find ways of winning ugly.

Most of the times you win, it’s about winning ugly.

There is a popularly held belief that successful professional teams have found the secret to keeping players injury free and that every time they run on to the field, players are in peak physical and mental condition.

In reality, in all the football codes – especially where collision is involved – never at anytime do you have a fully fit and healthy team in the best form of their careers.

All teams and players have to face the reality of winning under pressure, winning with injury, winning when they are out of form – winning against the odds.

That’s not to say it’s right. That’s not to say we shouldn’t be striving for 100% fit, healthy and in form teams. It’s just a fact of life. Teams and players have to be able to win regardless of pain, fatigue, pressure, fear, form or injury.

So if you accept the premise that all teams are in the same boat – the question is what to do about it?

  • Pain, pressure, fear and fatigue etc are not excuses for poor preparation. Consistently prepare to the limits of your capabilities.
  • Pain, pressure, fear and fatigue are not performance limiting: they are challenges to be overcome through hard work, tenacity, a positive attitude and working as a cohesive team.
  • Belief in yourself – belief in team mates – belief in your preparation: belief is the key factor in overcoming the doubts that often sneak in during tough times.
  • Make training tougher, more challenging and more demanding than any game could be.
  • Thrive in adversity in practice. Embrace difficulty and hardship in training. Prepare to win in tough conditions.

So don’t wait for the Football Fairy to sprinkle magic dust over your heads and make everything warm and wonderful.

Accept that all teams have to learn to win in tough conditions and prepare to deal with them better than your opposition.

Winning easily or winning ugly….it’s still winning.

Wayne Goldsmith

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