Saturday, October 01, 2011

Good/Bad Teammate

I am a bandwagon fan. Having grown up in Iowa - with zero professional teams - I had no loyalties except for the Hawkeyes. I quickly found myself rooting for the Bulls, Cowboys, Yankees and Red Wings. When I moved to Wisconsin -- I found myself rooting for the Packers, Brett Favre and even the Brewers. Now that I've landed in Massachusetts -- it's all Patriots, Red Sox and Bruins. Tom Brady is cool enough, but not as good as "Touchdown Packers!"

This brings me to collapse of the Boston Red Sox last Wednesday.

"When things go bad your true colors show and I was bothered by what was showing," Francona said. "It's my responsibility to fix it."

Francona time and again over the last few days has talked about his inability to reach the players when the season was slipping away from the team.

"Don't forget, a month ago this team was on pace to win 100 games," Francona said. "When things started to go, I wanted desperately for our guys to care about each other on the field. I wasn't seeing that as much as I wanted to. I tried to help make that better, the coaches also, it just wasn't ever comfortable. You've heard me talk all the time about going in one direction and getting through challenges and meeting them together, but I just didn't think we were doing that. That's my responsibility to get them to do that and it wasn't happening to my satisfaction."

When reading this article, one line struck me in particular -- I wanted desperately for our guys to care about each other on the field.

I've been coaching a small technical school (WPI) for the past two seasons. Having played at Wisconsin and on some solid club teams -- being a good teammate was almost second nature. Yelling from the sidelines, rushing the field, picking your teammates up -- it was all part of the process of winning. It was second nature.

However, I'm dealing with freshman who have never played competitive sports and have never had to deal with the team aspect. When things are going sour, I see a bunch of players by our sideline, not paying attention, not picking up their teammates. They weren't there for each other. This affect seems to compound when the other team goes on a run. Once we are down -- we cannot pick ourselves back up. I find it ruthlessly frustrating. I try to lead by example - stalking the sideline and yelling my support.
When I ask the players why they don't contribute, the reply is, "I don't know what to say."
Something as simple as yelling their name works the majority of the time..