Win as a team, lose as a team?

Growing up, I head this a lot playing sports.  I’ve head it a lot as an adult.  I’ve heard it at different jobs, and different sports my kids are involved in.

But I catch myself wondering… is it true?

When you win, is it because of a team effort?  Sure.  You won’t win many games without teamwork.  And if  you do, they weren’t quality wins.

But does it take the whole team to win?  Will you still win if one person refuses to put forth the needed effort?  Sure, it can happen.  But is it still a team win?  If you have a team of 11 players, but only 8 are really trying, is it considered a team win?

What about losses?  Is it really a team loss if you have most of the team doing their absolute best, and a few putting in little to no effort?  Is it fair for those that put forth their best effort?

How much responsibility to we put on a few players?  Is it fair they should have to make up for the lack of effort of the others?  Is it OK to berate those that refuse to try and tell the others it’s OK they can’t do it all?

If the entire team puts forth their best effort, does their absolute best, and leaves it all on the field or court, that’s all we can ask of them.  Sometimes, it’s just not enough.  The other team was just more talented.  In those instances, as long as they all knew they did all they could, they need to know to hold their heads up high.

But when players are holding others back due to the lack of effort, it is indeed an issue.  An issue that needs rectified.  Either the player needs to find their motivation and take initiative, or they need to be cut from the roster.

It bothers me when people think not trying is ok.  That tagging along for the ride and riding the coattails of others’ hard work is acceptable.  It’s not.

And when it’s not, we cannot blame anyone but the player.  It is no one’s job to motivate them but themselves.  A coach can only do so much.  If a player isn’t going to put forth the work, then just as in life, they need to accept the outcome.  And they need to accept it alone, and not subject everyone to share the brunt of that failure.

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