Everyone on the team has a role whether they like that role or not. These roles are technical roles (your position) as well as supportive roles (captains). Roles can be designated (appointed team captain by coach) or come naturally (becoming the emotional support for the team because you’re naturally awesome at that). As a member of the team, you can have one role or more than one. Regardless of the number of roles you may have or which role you have, it’s important that you fulfill your role(s) to the best of your ability. On the individual level, you need to understand that you are a part of the whole. Your role, however big or small you perceive it, is needed for the team to function.
There is a difference between knowing your role and accepting your role. You may KNOW that you’ve been designated as a leader of the team, but have you ACCEPTED that role? Knowing your role and accepting your role can be the difference between being an effective teammate and being the guy or girl that gets on everybody’s nerves. Once you have accepted your role, your attitude towards the workload and responsibilities of your role changes. You are working hard to fulfill the role because you WANT to, not only because you HAVE to. This frees up your mental space for more focus on getting the job done. This can also create a more positive exchange between you and your coach(es). Think about it, if a coach doesn’t have to remind you ten times in one practice that you’ve run assignment incorrectly, that would make practice and play a lot better on the both of you, yeah?
Ok so you’ve accepted your role, but how can you excel in your role? Make it your responsibility to know everything about and successfully execute that role. Learn what it means be that role. I remember an athlete told me once, “I’m a football player. I don’t just play football” (shout out to you, sir!). That’s grown man talk right there. Take the time to continuously improve in your role. This may take the form of asking your coach more detailed questions about your role, doing work on your own to form a deeper understanding and appreciation of the role. Be THAT guy or girl that has a strong sports knowledge about your role/position. You should be confident in your role which will also give the coach confidence that you are the right and only person to successfully fulfill that role.
Once you’ve excelled at your role, you can have a better understanding of just how your singular role plays into the team’s functioning. This is the whole, “it’s not about YOU” part that coaches talk about. It’s really not about you, but it kind of is about you. On one side, it is about you because every single person on the team is needed to execute as a team. On the other side, it really isn’t about you, personally. Meaning, your ROLE is important, but who is fulfilling that role can change. So, I guess you can say it isn’t about you as an individual, but it is about your contribution as a member of the team. But! You can increase your value on the team by continuously showing that you are the best person available to fulfill that role. The moment you can make that switch from it being about you as a person to being about you as contributing to the team through your role, man look… All kinds of opportunities can pop up with that mindset. So yes, these are some things to think about as you get rolling with your season or even get ready for your upcoming season. Do you know and accept your role on the team? How well are you fulfilling your role? Are you hurting or helping the team? Think about it and go on and prosper, yall!