x m

Learning From Failure

It's OK to fail
Posted by Nick Grantham

We want to be…and sometimes think that we are…perfect coaches! But what if we are so busy convincing ourselves and others that we are amazing and never struggle, that we miss the importance of being bang average at someting, failing and then working hard to get better?

Expert Panel member, Darren Roberts is a regular contributor to Dirt Mountainbike Magazine and we wanted to share some key learning points from a great article he wrote about failure (read the full article here).

Creating an environment where it’s OK to fail is entirely counterintuitive to high performance cultures and systems, it’s avoided at all costs because it’s, well, failure. This creates a bit of a problem for me, because if we aren’t continually failing then how are we learning and progressing? From the physical, emotional, to the technical – if we’re not pushing boundaries and failing at the limit of our capacities, we’re not learning are we?

Failure should become a key and fundamental foundation on what all learning progresses from.

Environments, processes and systems that not only encourage failure, but should have the robustness and education so the athlete can get the most from it. It’s an entirely positive and empowering experience for the athlete – a treasure trove of information, if managed correctly by all parties and everyone is part of the learning process.

By embracing failure and everything it has to offer, rather than running from it, you develop tools, resilience and strategies which all contribute towards making the athlete comfortable with being uncomfortable across the whole spectrum of their performance. It’s a key step in accountability, always asking the difficult questions and focusing on the how and why, not just the what.

The only real “failure” is something you don’t learn from, and repeat the same problem again. Like me being told to stop for milk on way home, and maintaining my 100% record in not doing that…

When students attend the PFCA workshops they spend a significant proportion of the course working through pratical peer review sessions, where their practical skills and knowledge are put to the test. These are opportunities to fail…it’s never a comfortable experience but the tutors work hard to create an environment where the students can ‘fail safely’. There’s always constructive feedback and it’s during these sessions and within the feedback that the students really ‘learn by doing’…yes they may fail in certain aspects…but they come back as better coaches.


Where to find us



The Basement

202-208 Kensal Road


W10 5BN

Get in touch


Call us on

020 3489 5428


Write to us


Copyright © 2018. The Professional Fitness Coaching Academy. All Rights Reserved.