It is easy to see how early season losses can be demoralizing or, perhaps, help re-orient a team; however, on the surface, it is more difficult to see how winning can derail or stop momentum and distract a team as well.
My experience is that many elite athletes and teams have as much or more difficulty bouncing back from a win as they do bouncing back from a defeat. Both wins and losses are risky in that they each require athletes to refocus equally after a game or any competition, regardless of the outcome.
Some athletes are more likely to understand that they can learn more from a loss than any win than others. Too often, complacency can occur when players feel post-game satisfaction but do not feel motivated to seek to improve on a win. A defeat is often able to get our attention much more effectively than winning is able to do. However, it is important to learn from success as well as failure.
Emotional resilience (which I have written about a great deal in recent blog posts) is typically associated with the adversity of defeat. For mental conditioning to be optimally effective, we must consider true emotional resilience to also include how to deal with success. How to sustain focus in the wake or success is more difficult that we typically think. Complacency after a win is as commonplace as demoralization after a loss.
Next time you feel the exhilaration of success; celebrate, enjoy, relax, and then, get back to work, analyze, debrief, learn and focus on the next challenge.