Every year I hear someone mention the need to show "loyalty" to the team by looking after players
who have been with the program for "X" number of years or who have been at every optional workout. That brings up an
important question: Who am I supposed to be loyal to?
On the one hand, a player who has been with the team, working hard at practices, summer workouts,
and after-school conditioning certainly seems to be more of a "team-player" than those who blow it off for one reason or another.
On the other hand, showing loyalty to an individual can be in direct opposition to showing loyalty to the team. Something
players and parents often lose sight of is the concept of "team first". No matter who the individual is, how good they
are, or how dedicated they are, if I put the one ahead of the team, then I have failed the team.
So what does that mean? It means returning players having to fight for a spot on the
team. It means returning starters having to compete for their place as a starter. It means putting together the
best "team", which is not necessarily the best individuals. Players who are not coachable, players or parents who aren't
a positive for the program, or players who won't buy into the team concept are a cancer that can destroy a team, regardless
of their individual talent.
Players and parents, as we rapidly approach the next high school season, ask yourselves this:
am I what is best for the TEAM?