WINTALITY 102: ThrowYourselfUnderTheBusItis

[Wintality] – win-tal-i-ty – noun; The act of mentally lifting your teammates up when they are down. “Her wintality just wouldn’t let me give up.”

When learning the mental side of this game, one of the easiest ways to explain something new is to explain what it isn’t. More often than not, the opposite is what 99% of the world is accustomed to seeing, so drawing on that knowledge helps. So here goes … Wintality is the total opposite of  the “look.” Not the negative talk, self inflicted “look” that I discussed in Wintality: 101. I’m talking about the “look” from one player to another that says “You just cost us our entire future.” The look that then translates into 5 more errors in the same inning, and hurt feelings that sometimes last a lifetime.

Wintality is a pat on the back, words of encouragement that render “I’ve seen you field a million of those in practice I know there’s nobody out here that works harder than you. I’ve never seen you miss 2 in a row so it’s all good you got this next one. Instead of a look with lasers, it’s the look that says “We practice together. We play together. And by golly even when we make errors we are going to stick together.”

In its rarest form wintality is one of the most contagious diseases on earth, yet also one of the rarest. I’m talking about wintality which manifests itself through ThrowYourselfUnderTheBusItis. (You may need to read that a few times.) This game is played on a field, and what happens on the diamond should stay on the diamond. But often times the on the field “look” translates into throwing someone “under the bus” as soon as the team leaves the field. Yet nobody can figure out why the team can’t win the tough games.

ThrowYourselfUnderTheBusItis is the strand of wintality that steps up and takes ownership of the problems and takes the eyes, stares and yapping off of the other player. Instead of “I’m sick of her not getting to those” it’s “I lost my focus and missed my location. I need to step up MY game. Hey before next game make me throw like a million outside curve balls in a row” Instead of “I’m so sick of her attitude. If she doesn’t want to play ball why doesn’t she just quit already?” Wintality involves “She’s my teammate. I know she loves this game, I wonder what I can do this week to reach out to her and find out what is going on off the field that she might be bringing onto the field.” It’s an attitude of “Hey driver, my teammate is injured right now (mentally), you want to run that bus over someone, then run it over me.”

Wintality like that requires a major commitment up front. It takes the belief that your teammates are worth that kind of effort. It takes the understanding that while you had no choice in choosing your teammates, you do have a choice in how you treat them. It takes the realization that in the long term their one physical/mental error meant nothing, but your response could carry through the rest of the entire season and set the tone for a lifetime.

Whether you are a player, a parent or a coach be honest with yourself. Do you give the “look.” Do you pile onto the bus when others are driving it?” Do you drive the bus? It’s not easy, that’s why it’s so rare, but what can you do today or this week to start spreading wintality?

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