Mindset Monday: Tryout Edition

Mindset Monday: Tryout Edition

What makes a great player: The Difference Between Good and Great

Hustle Families, 

With the first day of tryouts approaching this Saturday, it seems fitting for today’s Mindset Monday to define what being a great leader, teammate, and player means to us. Many of these topics and ideas will be revisited in depth on future Mondays. We hope that our players can take some of this writing off the page and onto the field this weekend! 

What makes a great player: The Difference Between Good and Great

As coaches, it is incredibly important for us to define what each behavior, attitude, or standard looks like to players before we can hold them accountable for it. Clarity of purpose is a key aspect to understanding something’s importance, and if we don’t define the “why”, we cannot expect players to act it out. Additionally, many attitudes and behaviors we want to instill in players are skills. To master a skill set, we must practice those skills on a consistent basis. Here are some of the skills and attitudes that I think take players from being good or average, to GREAT.

Hustle: Hustle is who we are and what we do. It is obvious that hard work is an important aspect of life, and all players should work hard at practice, tryouts, games, etc. But what do hustle and hard work truly mean? Personally, I think working hard and hustling is easy. It is easy to give effort, and inn my opinion, giving effort isn’t enough to be great. Working and hustling relentlessly is what we expect from all great players. “Hustling in” could mean jogging in to a player. To us, “hustling in” means being first, and sprinting in! Significant effort is good. Relentless effort is GREAT! 

We don’t rise to the moment, we fall back to the level of our training and preparation!

Grit: While Hustle is great, it is not enough to be a great player. Great players are gritty. Angela Duckworth, a famous psychologist and New York Times Best Selling Author, defines grit as “a combination of passion and perseverance for a singularly important goal” This is a great definition. The only thing I would add is that grit is also competitiveness. Let’s relate grit to a 1v1 ground ball. Gritty players have the passion, perseverance, and competitiveness to disregard any potential for physical contact, and run through the ground ball. Players who aren’t gritty will look to their left and right, slow down, and reach sideways for the ground ball. Making the right play can also be “gritty”. Giving up a good shot for a great one is a gritty play. We like to tell our players, “Gritty not pretty!”

Growth mindset: Great players have growth mindsets. Average players have fixed mindsets. People with fixed mindsets believe that intelligence and skill is static. They avoid challenges, give up easily, ignore coaching and feedback, and feel threatened by the success of their teammates.  People who have growth mindsets believe that failure is fuel to grow. They embrace challenges, and believe that adversity is the building block to their success. They welcome the success of others and believe in the value of strong teammates. 

Character: The best players do things the right way. They do the right thing, especially when it’s hard. Character means resisting impulsive tendencies, and to think before you act. Great players talk to people, not about them. They recognize that “well done is better than well said.” Great players lead with their heart. 

No BCE: No blaming, complaining, or excuses! We constantly see the following from players (there are countless examples):

  1. Players who blame their playing time, team placement, performance, or the outcome on others. Understand the value of competition, take ownership, and do the work!
  2. Players who complain about the situation, whether it be the score, the weather, another player, etc. Complaining spreads negative energy, and all energy is contagious.  Spread positive energy instead!
  3. Players who make excuses for their behavior, their performance, and the outcome. Players who make excuses will never be great. Great players own their mistakes and performance. 

Selfless: Great players are selfless. The have a “we not me” mentality and always put their teammates before themselves. When someone else’s number is called, they are happy for them. Selfless players own their role, and execute that role to the best of their ability. Selfless players are not only the best players, they are the best teammates!

Commitment: Good players show up, great players are committed. Commitment means always meeting or exceeding the standard. Committed players know that on time is late, and the minimum is failing. Great players are committed to their goals, their team, and the process. 

Motivation vs. volition: Good players are motivated, great players have volition. Motivation is the desire or willingness to do something, volition is the absolute commitment and the willingness to sacrifice whatever it takes to accomplish the mission. Great players don’t just want something, they take it! 

S.M.A.R.T. Goals: Great players set goals . S.M.A.R.T. goals are specific, measurable, achievable, and timely. Good players accept falling short, great players never take no for an answer. Great players use goals to give them purpose, inspire them, and to achieve greatness. 

Coachable: Great players are coachable. They know that criticism, accountability, and feedback make them stronger. Coachable players know the difference between listening and hearing. When a coach gives them instruction, they execute the instruction to the best of their abilities. Being coachable means asking questions. If you don’t understand something, ask!

Belief: The highest levels of performance come from the deepest levels of belief. Great players believe in themselves, their teammates, and in the process. They know that they will only go as far as their belief, and that their belief is contagious. Some say I can’t, some say I want, players who believe say, “I will.”

To be continued! 

We look forward to seeing everyone at tryouts on Saturday. Hustle is who we are and what we do!


-Coach LaHoda