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Prepare to Win: Every player's role
Announcers on TV crack me up, especially those who played the sport they are announcing. What really gets me is most don’t get it.
Let me explain it this way: Just recently, while watching a Los Angeles Clippers game, announcer Mike Smith vehemently declared that a certain player’s role coming off the bench was to be a defensive stopper. It’s the same old tiresome jargon that never equated to winning and never will.
It’s bigger than that. In the world of winning, the only role any player has is to win, period. It doesn’t matter if the player starts, comes off of the bench, is a star or helps carry equipment bags. The only thing that matters is that they fulfill the role of winner whenever called upon. At Bigger Faster Stronger, the athletes don’t just train. We prepare them to win, whether they’re in the game most of the time or for just a few minutes. We ask them, “What is your role on the team?” They answer, “To win.” Make sense?
The perfect example comes from last year’s MLB playoffs. Tim Lincecum of the San Francisco Giants is a two-time winner of the Cy Young Award. Unfortunately, as the Giants began their playoff run, he was asked to become a relief pitcher for the first time in his career. Lincecum, who had already helped the Giants win a World Series in 2010, had a horrible year and ended up with a losing record.
However, he’s Tim Lincecum. The first thing some people thought was that he was going to blow his stack and refuse to do anything short of being the Giants’ No. 1 starter. But being the winner that he is, Lincecum handled the situation as winners do.
When asked about his new role, Lincecum responded in legendary winning form. He said that his role was to win and that it did not matter if he started, relieved or, are you ready for this, if he sat on the bench. Now, who does that? Oh, winners like Lincecum do that. As the playoffs ended with the Giants winning another championship, Lincecum’s winning performances, in whatever role, were vital to the final outcome of another Giants’ pennant.
Lincecum was seen by millions of viewers starting, relieving and cheering from the bench. It didn’t matter. His only intention was to fulfill whatever role it took to help his team win. Had Lincecum not been a winner, he probably would have been a negative influence on those around him.
What do winners do (WDWD)? Winners prepare themselves to win and nothing else. They realize their role is not to rebound, set screens, lay down bunts or play the libero position in volleyball. They realize that at all times and in all situations, what position they play or what task they’re assigned is secondary to providing winning performances for their teams. Winners are in the weight room when others aren’t, even if they’re not starters. Winners stay after games to work on certain skills, whether they’re the team’s star player or not. Winners just get it. They know that their only job is to win by who they are and what they do.
Athletes, listen and repeat after me. “My role is to win; whenever and however.” Listen to what Hall of Fame pitcher Bruce Sutter said when asked his role. Sutter, a dominant relief pitcher and world champion, like Lincecum said that his role was not to be a relief pitcher, but to win when called upon. Your job is to prepare yourself to win, so that when you’re called on it’s not a problem to overcome, but an automatic behavior which shows who you really are.
As for the announcers you listen to on the tube, be careful. Most of them just repeat the same old stuff they heard throughout their lives which his has little to do with winning.
George Mangum, M.A., is a WIN psychologist and the founder of Bigger Faster Stronger-High Desert, where athletes at all levels are prepared to win physically, emotionally and mentally. George can be contacted at (760) 403-3449 or on Facebook at Bigger Faster Stronger-High Desert.