Characteristics of a Great Teammate #2: Great teammates don't criticize execution.

#2: Great Teammates don't criticize execution.

        Great teammates don't criticize execution.  What I mean here is great teammates don't get on each other for things like not getting a hit or making an error.  One of my all-time favorite comments that crack me up at a baseball game is when I hear someone yell to the pitcher, "Hey! Throw strikes!" as they are struggling to throw them.  For what should be a very clear reason, I have yet to hear a pitcher respond with "Oh thank you for the great advice.  I had been trying to throw balls but will change my objective now."  There is a way to encourage teammates, and that isn't it.  I am also not a fan of players yelling out mechanical help to hitters.  "Get your foot down!" or "Keep your head on the ball," are two staples you may have heard.  The last thing hitters should be focused on is mechanical adjustments mid at-bat.  "Hit it hard right here," "Have a good one," or "See the baseball," are much better choices for encouragement.  They are controllable, task-oriented, and focused on action.

        When I first began brainstorming for this characteristic I wrote, "Great teammates don't criticize performance."  I backed off of this because I do think there are at least a couple of aspects of performance teammates should have the right to criticize:  effort and attitude.  If a teammate does not give full effort, it is well within your right to get on them.  Hopefully, the coaches do so and enable you to do fulfill your responsibility of playing the game.  Attitude is another part of performance that is within the realm of being policed by teammates.  Like effort, it should be handled by coaches if possible.  Many times players with consistently poor attitudes become experts at disguising them.  A, "Yes sir" to the coach may be followed with a sarcastic comment behind the coach's back.  These are the guys who stir up trouble behind the scenes.  If not handled early, one attitude can become four or five VERY QUICKLY.  Criticizing attitude is something great teammates are able to do.  If you're going to do it, however, you better be accountable for your attitude in return.  You can't criticize a teammate for throwing a helmet when he is struggling only to do it yourself a couple weeks later as you struggle.  The key is to expect from others what you expect from yourself.  It's kind of a Golden Rule of being part of a team sport.

Do you have good or bad examples of criticism of teammates?  Like always, I would love to hear them.


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