It’s On You To Turn Bad Attitudes Into Good Ones

NSR prospect. Austin Anderson, is well known for his hustle and leadership.

It happens every summer.  As a college prospect, you prepare for the tournaments, meets and matches which can mean getting a scholarship offer from college coaches.  Then, in the dugouts, on the bench or on the sidelines, a teammate starts to complain about the heat, bemoan being there, and acting the part, too. 

A teammate who doesn’t care is the albatross of a college prospect.  But, there are ways to cope, even to change the situation so that your future doesn’t rest with the behavior of someone who is not nearly as invested in the contest’s outcome as you are.  Consider these options:

  1. Get it out in the open.  Some athletes have a bad attitude because they know they can.  They don’t understand how their negative-leaning behavior can impact you and the team.  Sometimes a simple, honest conversation is all it takes.  Take the person aside.  Make it a private talk, not one that everyone else on the team can hear.  This approach will deliver the message without causing the other person embarrassment.  Ask the person to try their best to do their best while on the field, court or track.  Tell the person how much the team needs them to be mentally tough and into the team’s efforts to succeed. 
  2. Go to the coach.  Coaches can sometimes be looking at the details so much that they overlook how one athlete is bringing the other down emotionally and mentally.  Talk to the coach about the person.  Ask for his or her help, even if it is the coach’s favorite or child.  It’s something every team leader at some point has to do.  If you are team leader, take the step forward and ask the coach to address the problem.
  3. Encourage the person.  A bad attitude can be the result of feeling left out or not appreciated.  If you think that is the case, praise the person more often, whether they are doing something right or make a mistake.  By seeing that their performance matters to you, and others, it’s entirely possible that they might give a far better effort.
  4. Be the example.  Hustle and a good attitude are contagious.  Don’t allow one person’s negative outlook affect how you perform.  Hustle more than anyone else.  Cheer louder.  Be the team leader and others will follow, but in going this route, you are pledging to be consistent in your approach.  So, mentally put yourself into high gear before every contest.
  5. Practice hard.  Lazy practice often leads directly to lazy play.  Work hard in practice and encourage your teammates to do the same.   By being at your best in practice, you are sending a clear message that anything less is unacceptable. 
  6. Talk about hustle.  An effective way to get your teammates locked-in mentally is to make hustle a word you emphasize not just in practice and in the contest, but when you are away from the game, too.  Hustling may come naturally to you, but others may have to be coaxed into it.  By consistently making “hustle” a part of what you do and what you believe in, others will eventually come around or embarrass themselves when they don’t. 

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