Team Support – Kickoff to League Season
© 2010 Mike Fieldhammer, BilliardCoach.com
Some players participate in pool leagues all summer, but for many September signals the return to playing weekly with a team. Here is the first article in a series about playing on a team and making the experience a productive, enjoyable, and rewarding pursuit.
Team Support. The sum can be greater than its parts.
My most recent memorable experience is winning the BCAPL National Team tournament in Las Vegas in May. The five man squad sardonically named “Who Needs a Billiard Coach?!” fought through a field of 674 teams to take the top prize of $11,000. The whole event was an exhilarating ride for me, propelled by the support of my team: Brian Haffner, Jared Bailey, Dustin Morris, and Jesse Engel.
Team chemistry is a phrase that is tossed around, but is just one piece of having a successful team. Chemistry implies that there may be many elements blended into a concoction of a cohesive team. Perhaps one of the most important elements is the support of one’s teammates.
Our team was successful in believing in each other and affirming each action our teammates made. Examples of this blind trust are as follows. For example, if Dustin played an unsuccessful combination shot in an effort to continue his run instead of shooting a solo ball in a different pocket, Jesse said, “Good try, you’ll get another shot this game. Your opponent isn’t getting out here.” We never took issue with a shot or a decision made by a teammate. Or if Brian missed a jump shot instead of kicking the ball which would have been my choice, I didn’t say “Why didn’t you kick at it?” Placing a seed of doubt in his head or shaking his confidence could be the beginnings of a skid in his and the team’s performance.
Players on our team tried to sweat other teammates matches whenever possible. Caring enough to watch and root them on is an obvious sign of support. Even during a team match, I could hear Jared’s voice say, “Good shot Fieldhammer!” and it would further my resolve to win that game knowing he was spurring me on. Players on our winning team are selfless. We cared about our own performance only as it related to the team goal of winning matches. Never was heard, “Well, I got mine” when a player came to sit down after winning a game.
At its best, unconditional support for one’s teammates can be a catalyst to launching the team to heights unattainable by the five as individuals. Each of the five players on the team made sacrifices for the sake of the team. The team goal that we all had in mind became a truly satisfying achievement that became much sweeter because we shared it with teammates who gave and received support.
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