Catcher is the most uniquely challenging position on the baseball field. There is no other position on the field that requires the same combination of physical exertion and variety of skills that must be mastered. And, in addition to the great physical challenge of catching, there is the mental side that includes another full set of skills that must be mastered. One of those mental skills is the art of leadership.
The best catchers are always leaders. Leaders come in all different personalities and styles, but the bottom line is that the best catchers are leaders. In order to be a leader, though, the catcher must always be a great teammate. No player that is not a great teammate can be a great leader, or a leader of any kind for that matter.
The best catchers are the best teammates, and in this latest installment of our How to Be a Great Teammate Series we are exploring #18: Be a Loyal Friend.
#18: BE A LOYAL FRIEND
A loyal friend and teammate is more precious than a diamond and more valuable than gold. They are very rare. My hope is that as you read this, you will increase the supply of loyal friends and teammates by deciding to be one today (Gordon, Jon (2015-04-24). The Hard Hat: 21 Ways to Be a Great Teammate (p. 69). Wiley. Kindle Edition).
What is Loyalty?
Loyal is one of those words that we have all heard countless times, but its definition isn’t always clear. For our purposes we will use the following definition:
Loyal: giving or showing firm and constant support or allegiance to a person or institution
Why Does Loyalty Matter?
Loyalty matters because there is no trust without loyalty. In order to trust someone, you must believe that they have your best interest at heart. Giving or showing firm and constant support is a major way that we show another person that we have their best interest at heart.
What does this look like practically on the baseball field?
A loyal teammate is one that always looks out for what is best for his/her teammates, no matter what the circumstances or results.
Have you ever played with or for someone who seemed to like you more when you performed well, but not as much when you performed poorly?
Unfortunately, most of us have experienced that type of teammate and/or coach. That is not loyalty. Loyalty is FIRM and CONSTANT support, regardless of results. Baseball is a game of failure. The best hitters fail 7/10 times, and the best teams in the MLB barely win 60% of their games. Loyal teammates have each other’s back with firm and constant support through the 4/4 days AND the 0/4 days… through the winning streaks AND the losing streaks.
One more quick note – sometimes what is best for your teammates is to hold them accountable and encourage them to increase their effort, focus, or intensity. Holding someone accountable does not mean that you are not supporting them… it means you are loyal enough to do what’s best for them, even when that means (constructively) getting after them!
Be a Loyal Friend
The best catchers are the best teammates, and the best teammates are loyal friends. If you’re reading this as a catcher, take some time to reflect and consider ways that you can display your loyalty to your teammates. You’ll be amazed at the impact it has one them… and you, too!
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