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Know Your Role and Shut Your Mouth

We’ve heard the story before – a team who is better on paper loses to a team who is a better team. Why is that? There are many reasons but I think it all comes down to respect.

No matter who the captains are, no matter who runs your team, you have to respect them.

So much of a game can be determined by which team adjusts first or adjusts at the right time. A good captain/leader will make that judgement call at the right time. The team who wins is the team who listens to that captain and commits to that change in the play in order to be successful.

How does a good team accomplish this? It’s done by the players on the team knowing their roles, respecting their captain and as the title implies, shutting their mouth.

I won’t disagree that a good team will also welcome input from the players but in a game, when even the slightest adjustment can determine a win or a loss, the team has to trust the captain.

When the players on a team focus on their role and their position and they let the captain worry about making the adjustment – that’s when a team will see success.

The time for players to speak up is after the game, when there can be open discussion and when you can figure out what was done right and what was done wrong.

During the game is not the time to figure that out. Why? Because it takes away from the focus of the team and that indecision and discussion can ultimately lead to a team losing.

The captains can have that discussion but they have to trust each other to come to an agreement quickly and with the knowledge of what will be best for the team based on the individual skills of the players, based on what the team has worked on at practice, and based on what other adjustments have already been made in that game.

The best team is the one who works together and I believe that is done when the captains lead and the players play.

What is your approach to making adjustments in a game?

5 thoughts on “Know Your Role and Shut Your Mouth”

  1. I disagree about waiting until the end of the game to comment on the team’s game plan. For example, last year we were playing against a team that was younger and taller than our team and they kept on hucking up the sideline to their taller receivers. We called a time out and the captains suggested that we defend our receivers deep and force them towards that handlers. Not terrible advice, but a non-captain suggested also switching the force from flick to straight up force because it is easier to stop the huck. By switching the force, we shut down the huck and steamrolled them the rest of the game.

    Good leadership involves listening to subordinates and acting from there – in game or not. Speaking up or disagreeing with a captain during halftime or a time out doesn’t have to remove focus on the game. It can simply be constructive criticism, and if the captain(s) have been on the field for a period of time, a sideline player may have a better perspective on what both teams are doing.

    1. @MPhelps I do agree that there are circumstances where it’s important for a player to speak up. I do think that good captains/leaders do ask for input from a team but my point is that is you have too many “cooks in the kitchen” then during a game, when it counts, everyone needs to be on the same page.This post made a lot of generalizations but it was meant to get people thinking/talking about how a team who performs better will beat a team who is better on paper. It was meant to get discussion going so I thank you for your comment. You make some great points!

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