12 Jun Compete
What does it mean to compete?
My definition of what it means to compete is simply “high effort output in pursuit of being the best version of oneself on any given day trying to outmatch an opponent one play after another.”
Does winning or losing indicate one’s compete level?
This is a complex question and for different individuals the answer will be different. Results can indicate a lot or very little. Winning doesn’t necessarily mean that one was competing hard but it could indicate that. Losing doesn’t necessarily mean that one was not competing hard but it could indicate that as well. Enough of the confusion let me clarify.
When trying to assess someone’s compete level it’s not as simple as looking in the wins and losses columns. You have to look at different components like the body language of a player, the energy output, the willingness to sacrifice or make hustle plays, and the response to adversity or failure.
Is the body language of a player indicative of someone who is motivated and ready to go or do they look as though they are feeling sorry for themselves and need a “pick me up” from their teammates and coaches?
Is the player sweating, communicating, breathing heavy, winded, and tired or do they appear to be fresh and visibly conserving energy by not talking or moving around as quickly as they can?
Is the athlete diving on the ground for 50/50 balls, taking charges, saving balls from going out of bounds, sacrificing their body to make plays for the team both offensively AND defensively or are they conserving energy to use it sparingly throughout the game?
Does the athlete respond to failure (a turnover, missed shot, blocked shot, etc.) immediately with high energy and an attempt to correct the mistake or do they drop their head and give up out of frustration and anger?
Using the above questions gives us some key areas to look at when trying to assess someone’s strengths and weaknesses when it comes to competing which will allow us to give more deliberate feedback.
If a player struggles to compete, they should be reminded to worry less about the end result (win/tie/loss or bad game/good game) and narrow their focus to the present moment while playing in the game. Encourage them to enjoy the good times, feel the emotions of the game, roll through the bumps and bruises and have fun exerting energy playing a game they enjoy.
Coaches should highlight players in a group who exert lots of energy while playing and they can be a model for their peers and teammates to look at while playing. Players can learn from coaches as well as other players so it’s important to highlight positive qualities in players that all players should strive to have.