Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Competitive Perspective

Did you ever beat
more than one kid at a time?
Well, I’m going to beat
five kids at a time.
And then I’m going to beat
their fathers, too.

There may be some gray areas here, so I'll attempt to define the differences we're talking about;

Us vs "them" - the perspective of assuming we are the better team and we have to go out there and mop the floor with our opponent. They are not in our league, they are subhuman, and inferior in every way (even if we aren't physically superior). 'Demonize' the competition, because they are losers in every area, you don't want to associate with these vermin. If we lose, it is because they cheated.

Rivalry - the perspective of playing to be the survivor. Only one team wins and we have to not only ensure that we don't lose, but we have to ensure that the other team doesn't win. Make them hurt and demoralize them so they quit and not even think about competiting with us again. We can talk with our opponents, but when its all said and done, we will have the bragging rights in the district (the trump in smack talking), and we want to make sure they suck. If we lose, it is because our opponent dominated us and we aren't worthy of being champions.

Be the Best - the perspective of welcoming all challengers irregardless of talent, classification, or significance. We just want to play.....and we'll worry about how we go about winning once we play. You'd better be ready to go the full length of the game, because we won't be stopping until the game clock ends (no matter what the score is). If we lose, it is because we just weren't up to the challenge of the day.

Personal Performance - who lines up across from us really doesn't matter. We just have to go out there and play the best on each play....if we add it up, we should win the game and go hang out with our opponent after the game. If we lose, it is may be that our competition was too much for us or we didn't execute well enough.

The maturity of a competitor should naturally progress to the final stage here. As coaches, we should be doing everything in our power to advance the perspectives of our players (mainly in the off-season) to appreciate competition, embrace friction, and learn to harness their abilities to seize opportunity.