Ben Karpinski: Why getting back to winning means getting back to basics

Winning isn’t everything, goes the famous old saying. It’s the only thing. But it can only be a thing, as SA’s Super Rugby players have been learning this year, if you go right back to the start and get the basics right.

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By Ben Karpinski

After another disappointing Super Rugby season from a South African perspective, this may be a good time to analyse the subject of winning. It isn’t just about that score we see at the end of the match.

Winning is not a sometime thing, as the American football star, Vince Lombardi, once said. “It’s an all the time thing. You don’t win once in a while, you don’t do things right once in a while, you do them right all the time. Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.”

In rugby, much as in life itself, there is a fine line between winning and losing. No matter how much you put the effort in, you can get into bad habits that hold you back, and sometimes getting out of them seems beyond your capabilities.

Read also: How rugby’s new dawn made me happy to be South African all over again – Ben Karpinski

But how do you well and truly get into the habit of winning, and make losing a thing of the past?

To get us closer to answering this, here’s another pearl of wisdom from Lombard: “Winning isn’t everything. It’s the only thing.”

When winning is the ‘only thing’, everything you do suddenly funnels towards creating success.

So often our basics are just that, basic, but to get into the habit of winning, this will no longer be acceptable. Better basics better prepare you for winning, and once working at a higher level on everything becomes routine the closer you get to the favourable goals.

So you don’t just get to training on time, you get there a little earlier to make sure you are completely prepared for what lies ahead. You don’t see the next match, you see an opportunity to deliver a memorable performance. You never just do what is expected of you, you find ways to push yourself in your work each and every time, knowing that each day is the chance to set a new benchmark.

Read also: Ben Karpinski: What rugby can teach us about getting our game on

To further back this up, here’s another great sports quote, this time from legendary American college basketball coach Bobby Knight: “The key is not the will to win … everybody has that. It’s the will to prepare to win that is important.”

The SA teams in Super Rugby, apart from the Lions, seem to have fallen into a losing routine. Reassessing their basics could be the answer. How are they preparing themselves to get into the habit of winning.

In our everyday lives we can do the same. By getting up early, we can be more productive and fit more into our days. We can get on top of things at work and exercise more to increase our health and fitness.

As an exercise, study how the most successful people and sports teams operate in life. None of them got to where they are today on luck or having a good day here and there. Success became a habit and that is all thanks to all the elements above which they made routine for themselves.

  • Ben is a freelance sports writer, MC and offers sports related content campaigns for brands. He is also the sports guy on Gareth Cliff’s morning show on where he gets the freedom to air his sporting views and ‘insights’.
  • This article first appeared on the Change Exchange, an online platform by BrightRock, provider of the first-ever life insurance that changes as your life changes. The opinions expressed in this piece are the writer’s own and don’t necessarily reflect the views of BrightRock.