win at losing

How to Teach Our Kids to Win at Losing with Sam Weinman

On today’s episode of The Good Dad Project, Sam Weinman tells us how to talk to our kids about failure and how to win at losing by using defeat as fertile ground for growth.

Sam Weinman

SAM WEINMAN is the digital editor of Golf Digest. Prior to that, he was a senior writer for The Journal News in Westchester County, New York, where he was honored with multiple national writing awards for his coverage of the PGA Tour and the National Hockey League. His work has also appeared in USA Today, Golf World, Yahoo! Sports, ESPN the Magazine, and Sports Illustrated. A graduate of the University of New Hampshire, he lives with his wife and two sons in Rye, New York, where he coaches multiple youth sports teams.

Win at Losing

Win at Losing is an engaging, inspiring exploration of the surprising value of setbacks—and how we can use them to succeed. Sam Weinman wrote this book with his kids in mind. He has two boys aged 9 and 11, and watched them struggle with losing. It was a theme he found himself revisiting with them whenever they experienced disappointment in school, sports, or friends. Sam knew that there was an upside to losing and he wanted to impress that concept on his boys with tangible examples. He set out to meet people who lost and benefitted from it, and this became the foundation for win at Losing.

Sam Weinman says he was always drawn to the losing athletes more than the winners and highlights examples of people who experienced epic failure, but persevered through it and became better people as a result.

Talking to Kids About Losing

Winning Isn’t Everything – To some degree we all live vicariously through our children and we sometimes enjoy their victories as much as they do. It’s human nature to celebrate success. Because of this, when our kids lose and there is no praise or celebration, it conveys a message that they aren’t worth as much. Don’t focus on the outcomes. Praise the effort. You may not even want to attend all your kids’ events so your children will know that their value is not derived from how they perform in school or sports.

Encourage Them to Try Their Best – It’s important for kids to learn to process disappointment in a way that’s not just self-pity and feeling worthless. As dads, we must learn how to effectively have conversations with our kids so they know that it’s okay to fail and that there is huge value in giving their best.

But Use “Try Your Best” Lightly – We need our kids to understand that life is about results. They will always be accountable to a grade or score. Just saying they did their best is not enough. There is effort, and there’s real effort. There must be exertion there, and the older ours kids get, the more they will be able to tell deep down inside whether they gave it their all or not.

Don’t Push Too Hard – We want to push encourage kids to succeed, and we should be critical about them not giving their full effort, but there is a fine line to be aware of. If we push too much, we can burn them out and turn them off. Sam says he checks in with his sons and asks them if he’s too hard on them. One his sons is receptive to being pushed and tells him it’s okay, while his other son takes too much pushing as criticism. Each child is different.

Remember This Above All – In a lifetime with your child, sports will likely be a small part of your relationship. Make sure you’re not damaging the overall bond you have with your child by pushing them to hard.

Sam Weinman’s Dad Wisdom

As dads, we need to resist the urge to try to solve all our kids’ problems. When we give into this urge, we are taking away their ability to solve problems on their own. They need the skills to work through challenges and the only way they learn this by making mistakes.


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Sam Weinman’s Links





Golf Digest

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praise effort and not results

Why Dads Should Praise Effort and Not Results

In episode 99 of The Good Dad Project, Larry Yatch from SEALed Mindset told us about the importance of instilling a growth mindset in our children. I think, like me, a lot of dads listening to that show experienced some major revelations about how we’ve been praising and encouraging our children. In this week’s Thursday Throwdown, I share my personal experience with my nine-year-old son and how I might have negatively impacted his attitude toward wrestling by praising him for the results instead of his effort.

Referenced Episode: Secrets of the Navy SEAL Mindset: Courage, Confidence, Perseverance and Resilience

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overcoming adversity

How Overcoming Adversity Can Make You a Better Dad with Nick Dinardo

Nick Dinardo draws on adversity to inform and inspire his life as a podcaster, personal performance coach, author, and dad.

Nick Dinardo is an entrepreneur, a consultant, and a public speaker who focuses on resilience, personal growth, and education. Nick is the author of bestselling book The Game of Adversity: 8 Practices to Turn Life’s Toughest Moments into Your Greatest Opportunities. He is also the host of The Sweet Adversity Podcast and has interviewed hundreds of experts on overcoming adversity, dealing with trauma and stress, and the critical role it plays in our cognitive development.

Nick has dealt with adversity his entire life. At the age of seven, his family went from the American dream to a foreclosed home, divorce, and mental illness. He spent a year sleeping on the floor in a one room apartment where his family shared a kitchen with seventeen other families.

Nick had a great dad, but was angry at his father for not understanding his mom and her mental illness. He still hoped and dreamed his parents would fall in love again, but that never happened. They moved from place to place until his mom got her life back together. During this disruptive time, Nick turned to sports for role models of those who went through hard times and still became great, successful people.

Sports is a microcosm of life

Nick Dinardo’s book, The Game of Adversity, uses sports as a Trojan horse to explore the psychological aspects of adversity and how high performers focus on process, not outcome. Coaches like John Wooden and Bill Belichick implemented this idea in their methods. Wooden made his players adhere to a very strict routine and told them not to think about basketball outside of practice. Belichick didn’t care about the score so much as he did about the team and their cognitive skill development. If the players prepared through the process, the win would come without consciously focusing on the goal.

Focusing on goals can make us unhappy

Goals are anti-presence because you’re focused on the end instead of what’s going on right in front of you. You can’t enjoy the moment because you’re always looking to the future, but you can establish a new norm for yourself and stop waiting till you reach any of your goals to be happy.

We have a choice

Men have evolved to be very results-focused, and we feel like a failure when we don’t achieve our goals. This creates stress and our response effects our cortisol levels, which effects our sleep and the function of our bodies. It triggers a chain reaction that goes all the way into how we treat people and how we approach our day.

Fighting our natural instincts to relentlessly push for our goals is tough, but when faced with a stressful situation, we can actually train ourselves how to respond in a positive proactive way instead of a negative reactive way.

Kids overcoming adversity

Nick says what’s important for kids to overcome extreme adversity is a positive relationship with one adult. Despite the hardship his family went through when he was young, he had a solid social circle of caring adults that acted as a foundation of strength.

Dad wisdom after a childhood of adversity

Nick Dinardo is the new dad of a 5-month-old boy. When Nick thinks about the things his father did for him, one thing stands out. It comes down to love. He remembers his dad always gave him hugs in kisses, even in front of his friends. His dad always told him he loved him multiple times a day. Nick says not to worry about the parenting books and the latest trends. When it comes to being a good dad, all things fall into place from love.


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Check out this free resource on: CONNECTION WITH YOUR SPOUSE

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Connect with Nick Dinardo

FREE gift for GDP listeners! Click here for your Adversity Toolbox.

Website –

Amazon – The Game of Adversity: 8 Practices To Turn Life’s Toughest Moments Into Your Greatest Opportunities

The Sweet Adversity Podcast






It’s Not All About The Win!

“WIN!!  You have to WIN!!”  How many times do we shout this from the stands in a little league game?

The coach forcefully grabs the player by the face mask, an inch away from the player’s face. Coach’s screams are audible to the fans in the bleachers as his beet-red face looks as if it’s about to explode. The player, defenselessly taking the punishment cannot really hear the coach as his ears are ringing from the sheer volume of the yells. No, this is not pro or even college ball, it’s pee-wee football. If your child plays sports, you’ve undoubtedly witnessed coaches or parents who go to any length to ensure their child gets the win. Even if the tactics aren’t exactly child-friendly or nurturing, the adults are so invested in getting the win, they have little regard for how their child gets it.

What Are They Playing For?

It may seem obvious that a child should play a sport because they like it. However, there are times when parents have their kids play a sport because “I played soccer, so of course my kid’s going to play”, or “I never had a chance to be quarterback. I want my child to at least have that opportunity.” Is it more about our satisfaction or because our child truly has an interest in that endeavor? Sure the sport may build their confidence and camaraderie, but maybe it’s not their dream, but yours.

Win Values

When a child does play a sport, it’s the experience of playing that is most crucial to their development, not the win. We’ve heard time and again on the GDP that failure is one of the best gifts we can give our kids. When they always win, they don’t have a chance to fully grow, limiting their chance for success in the future. On the other hand, teaching a child to develop in all facets of the sport, including sportsmanship and winning and losing gracefully sets the tone for a healthy child and a brighter future for them.


==>NEW!!<== Grab a copy of The Dad’s Edge AUDIOBOOK on iTunes or Audible


Check out our Dad Edge Group on Facebook Request Entry Here

We have new Dad Edge T-Shirts!  Grab one HERE

Check out a free chapter from: THE DAD’S EDGE on UNLIMITED PATIENCE HERE

Check out this free resource on: CONNECTION WITH YOUR SPOUSE

Check out this free resource on:  CONNECTION WITH YOUR KIDS


sports performance anxiety

4 Fundamental Strategies to Alleviate Sports Performance Anxiety – GDP014

“4 Fundamental Strategies to Alleviate Sports Performance Anxiety in Our Kids” Episode Overview:

Larry Hagner and Shawn Stevenson talk about 4 fundamental strategies to help our kids get the most out of sporting events. At times, it can be challenging as parents to know exactly how to help bring the best out in our child when they are competing. Shawn and Larry not only offer four strategies to help Dads, but also share some of their own stories and experiences.

Key Take-Aways

  • Focus on progress and not necessarily the results

  • Be extremely mindful of your words when giving feedback about sports performance

  • When it comes to sports performance expectations, don’t set the bar too high

  • Ways to talk to our kids after a sporting event

Progress vs. Results

At times, we can be so focused on the ultimate result of winning vs. the level of improvement. When it comes to sports performance anxiety, we can help alleviate stress by giving our kids techniques to improve it.

For example, instead of telling our kids to “hit the baseball”, we can help them work on their stance or the speed of their swing. Giving kids these small steps for improvement will vastly improve their enjoyment of competing in sports. After all, it’s not whether our kids win or lose. The main objective is to ensure our kids enjoy themselves and learn to improve.

Be Mindful of Your Word Choice When Giving Feedback

Kids hang on every word we say when it comes to critical feedback. Some of the word choices we use sound extremely positive and supportive from our point of view. However, they can have the opposite effect on our kids. As a result, our word choice and feedback can actually increase sports performance anxiety.

For example, the statement “Let’s make sure we go 3 for 3 today!” can sound uplifting to us. However, for some kids, this can create a great deal of pressure and anxiety. Keep in mind, pressure and anxiety at a young age can be the opposite of fun.

Setting the Bar Too High

Youth athletics is meant to be fun and competitive. For the most part, there is a very small percentage of kids who will go on to the professional level. It’s so easy to fall into the trap of expecting our kids to perform at the top level each and every time. Just like us, they will have bad days. Even the best youth athletes (and professionals, for that matter) have bad performances from time to time. The main focus of each and every event is simply to ensure your little athlete tried their very best and enjoyed themselves.

Conversation in the Car Ride Home Will Be Forever Remembered

For the past two years, I have had the privilege of hosting “Dad Workshops” to help other dads be their best. I have had several conversations with other dads who talk about memories of “the dreaded ride home after a game.” In other words, if the performance was not ideal, the conversation was not a good one. Moreover, the conversation would forever become a memory that was less than optimal.

The car ride home is a perfect opportunity to mention all the positive things you noticed about the game regardless if the performance was good or bad. Asking questions like:

  • What was your favorite part of the game?

  • What position did you enjoy playing the most?

  • What part was the most fun?

Questions like these bring our kids into a positive conversation about the highlights of the game. Ultimately, it will help alleviate sports performance anxiety and bring the fun back into sports performance.

Free Resources:

Check out a free chapter from: THE DAD’S EDGE on UNLIMITED PATIENCE HERE

Check out this free resource on: CONNECTION WITH YOUR SPOUSE

Check out this free resource on:  CONNECTION WITH YOUR KIDS


Books Mentioned In This Episode

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