It’s been a huge focus of mine to talk a lot about putting our time and energy into worrying only about things that are in our control. Things like your effort, attitude, preparation, and what kind of teammate you are, are just a few.
One other area that I think is vital to success is your body language.
While that may seem like an inconsequential facet to a team, or the outcome of a game, I think it’s a huge factor for a team.
If you have poor body language, (hanging your head, sulking on the bench, sitting by yourself on the bench away from your teammates…) what kind of message is that sending to your teammates and your coaches?
From a coaches perspective, I can tell you that this is one thing that drives me crazy. If you’re upset about your ice time and you choose to sit and sulk on the bench, do you really think that is going to want to make a coach put you back on the ice?
You’re not engaged and involved in the game, but rather, your mind is thinking about how things aren’t going the way YOU think they should.
The reality is that no player is ever going to fully agree with every decision a coach makes. Every player from time to time thinks they deserve more ice time, or thinks they should be used in different situations. I know it because I felt the same way as a player.
But, how you conduct yourself during those times tells a huge story about your character and commitment to your teammates.
Are you going to be a great teammate, or a distraction?
If you’re sulking on the bench, you’re not helping your teammates, but instead, only distracting them.
Think back to a time when you had a teammate sulking on the bench. What’s the first thing everyone does? They turn to their line mates and say “what’s wrong with so and so….?”
This is pulling your teammates focus away from the game. So it’s a double whammy for hurting your team. You aren’t focused and neither are your teammates.
So how do you not fall into this trap?
You suck up your pride and put your teammates first.
It’s one of the best lessons that I’ve learned in my life from hockey. Learn to put your teams needs first. I’m not going to tell you that it’s easy but I will tell you it’s worth it.
I can also tell you from a coaches perspective that I’m way more likely to give a chance to a player that’s positive, upbeat, and genuinely supporting his teammates over a guy that’s sulking in the corner.
Have the mindset of earning everything and stop expecting things to be give to you. Understand that everything is not always going to go your way, but a bad attitude is never going to help make things better.
Whether you’re in the lineup, or not, find a way to make a positive impact. Having a great attitude and body language is great place to start.