Athletes Who Embrace Their Role on Team
Are you a team player? Do you complain about a lack of playing time?
Successful athletes make sacrifices. Yet, one of the most challenging sacrifices for some athletes is accepting their role on the team.
Player roles can frequently change due to injuries, roster shake-ups, changes in playing style, coach preferences, or a high level of production by a new team member.
Whether you are relegated to a backup role or have your minutes significantly reduced, you can have difficulty adjusting to your new role.
After all, you worked so hard to build your skills and hone your game. You are talented and were a significant contributor to the team in the past. You played a lot better than most of your teammates in practice.
You feel you deserve to start or earned the right to play. You may even question why another player receives more playing time than you. You may think your coach is unfair or has something against you personally.
Not only does a negative attitude hurt your performance, but it also stirs negative energy throughout the team. Negative attitudes hurt the team and worsen your standing in your coach’s eyes.
Anyway, no athlete has ever complained their way to the top. So, what is the resolution?
First, even though your role has changed, there are several ways you can still contribute to the team’s success and simultaneously improve your game.
1. Learn by watching – You can develop your game and better understand strategy by watching others compete.
2. Push your teammates – When you push your limits in training, you push your teammates to become better. This mentality fosters team play and cohesion.
3. Hone your skills – Even though you have less playing time, you can take advantage of the opportunities in practice to develop your skills through focused repetition.
4. Showcase your abilities – Each practice, you have the opportunity to display your skills, work ethic, and positive mindset, possibly resulting in more playing time.
5. Contribute to teamwork – Just as negativity infects a team’s morale, positivity can improve the collective team mindset.
Always keep in mind that a team’s success results from all players pulling in the same direction towards a common goal.
Take, for example, shooting guard Nik Stauskas. Stauskas entered the NBA after being drafted No. 8 overall in the 2014 NBA Draft by the Kings. Stauskas found himself battling for playing minutes and never lived up to his potential as a rookie.
Stauskas bounced around the league playing for eight different teams, which affected his effort and energy. In 2022, Stauskas contemplated retirement. However, after a 10-day successful stint in the NBA ‘G’ League, the Boston Celtics signed Stauskas to a two-year contract.
Stauskas has since decided to accept his role, contribute wherever he can and maintain a positive attitude.
STAUSKAS: “I just have a different appreciation now for being in this [situation], having this opportunity. Trying to make the most of it. If I’m not going to play, I’m going to be the first guy waving the towel, pumping everyone else up. For me, that’s growth because that’s something that I wasn’t willing to do just a couple years ago in my first stint in the league.”
Defining and accepting your role on the team keeps your motivation high. You become a valuable team asset when you approach each practice and game with a positive mentality.
Tip for Taking Advantage of your Role on your Team:
It is easy to complain, but complaining does nothing to improve your circumstances. However, you can contribute to the team success in many ways…
Instead, work on a mindset to help you and your team by compiling a list of how you can contribute to your team’s success as a leader, a challenger, coach-player, or a helper.
Read your list before practice and commit yourself to be a team player.
Related Sports Psychology Articles
- The Mindset to Perform at a Higher Level
- Having Fun While Performing at Your Best
- The Importance of Mental Toughness
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