Are you a team player?
If you are unsure of the answer, ask yourself, “Do I place more emphasis on my team’s record or my batting average?”
“Am I more concerned about my role on the team and playing time or how I can contribute to the team’s overall success?”
The distinction may sound minor. You may think, “Doesn’t improving my batting average help the team win? Hitting homeruns and hitting for a higher average contribute to the team’s success to a point.
You are not contributing to the team’s success if you have a bad attitude because you are not a starter… if you are trying to hit homeruns at the expense of moving a runner into scoring position…
If you talk negatively about the team manager because you are not playing your preferred position… if you are solely concerned about your hitting statistics and not your fielding.
Being a team player means putting the team’s needs first.
A varsity high school sophomore who responded to our Softball and Baseball Mental Toughness Survey sent the following question:
“I play third base for my high school team. When I played JV, I led the team in batting average. Now I’m stuck behind a senior with a lower batting average than me. How can I contribute if I’m on the bench?”
Top players want to play, display their skills, and contribute to the team. After all, a competitive mindset is an asset to you and your teammates.
You should push yourself and other players to improve performance. That is how a team gets better.
However, you must strike a balance between your personal goals and the team’s goals. The key is not to be divisive in the process.
To ensure you have a positive aspect on the team, ask yourself, “Is what I am doing today improving or detracting from the team’s overall performance?”
Even MLB players need to check their egos at the door and sacrifice for the good of the team.
Minnesota Twins third baseman Royce Lewis made his MLB debut. Lewis played in 12 games for the Twins in the 2022 MLB season and batted .300.
Unfortunately, Lewis’ season was cut short due to an ACL injury. In 2023, Lewis batted .309 with 15 homers in 239 regular-season plate appearances.
As the Twins approached the playoffs, Lewis hurt his hamstring, and his status for the AL wild-card series against the Toronto Blue Jays was up in the air.
Throughout the season, Lewis has been committed to being a team player…
LEWIS: “I just want to be a part of the team… I would love to do anything at this point. Just based on feel, I think DH would be great. That would be a big step. I’d love to be out there, but I also don’t want to be a hindrance to this team at all. If I’m a cheerleader, that’d be great. If I’m hitting homers, that’d also be great.”
The greatest contribution to your team can only be made by being a team player.
Being a team player is a 3-step process:
- Understanding your role in the moment.
- Perform your role to the best of your abilities.
- Work to develop your abilities to increase your future contribution to the team.
When you are a team player, not only does the team benefit, but you also reap the benefits by fostering your abilities and growing your game.
Clarify your role with the coach. Ask what you can do to improve your contribution to the team, such as what physical, technical, leadership, and mental skills you need to develop.
When you understand your role and what skills you need to develop for the future, you can create a plan to improve your game and add value to the team.
Related Sports Psychology Articles
- Developing The Hustle Mindset for Baseball
- When Emotion and Intelligence Work Hand in Hand
- Perform Confidently Late in the Game
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