Effort, Teamwork, and Leadership

The three main things needed to maximize a team's performance are effort, teamwork and leadership.

Let me start with effort. For a team to play its best, every player needs to give their best effort. In other words, in order for a team to reach peak performance, each player must reach peak performance, and this starts with effort. 
One thing that prevents a team from giving their best effort is social-loafing, which is when athletes give less effort because they think their teammates will pick up the slack. To play your best as a team, you can't let social-loafing happen. You can't rely on your teammates to carry most of the load. Every player must give their absolute best effort in order to maximize the team's performance. Everyone should be motivated to do their part to make this happen.

But it is not enough just to have each player give their best effort. You can't just work hard individually. You also have to work hard TOGETHER! Everyone's effort needs to be pointed in the same direction. And to do this, you need teamwork and leadership!

I'll begin with teamwork. While teamwork and leadership are similar, teamwork is more about being an unselfish teammate and follower, and putting the team first. In order for a team to work well together, everyone needs to set down their ego and do what's best for the team. They need to communicate, share the ball, root for each other, and not complain about playing time.

Lastly, leadership is needed for a team to play its best. A part of leadership is not just caring about your own performance. You also need to care about how your teammates perform. Too many times athletes will think, "I'm doing my job as best as I can. It's not my fault if my teammate doesn't do his job. It won't be my fault if we lose." To be a good leader, you can't think this way. You have to care more about team success than your ego, which means you need to go beyond your normal responsibilities and be an unselfish teammate and a good leader. Even though being a good teammate and a leader don't always show up in your personal box score, they are still very important for team success, so you should greatly care about them. If your teammate is struggling, don't think to yourself, "Oh well. It's not my responsibility to help him." You need to take more ownership of your team's performance and be a better leader! Do what's best for your team and help LEAD your teammates. Encourage, support, motivate, and instruct your teammates when needed!

If every player gives their best effort, plays as a team, and fulfills their role as leaders, then a team will be greater than the sum of its parts and will maximize their performance as a team, and therefore will maximize their chances of winning the game!
Obviously there's much more that goes into a team's performance (such as strategy and dealing with pressure), but the main three things are effort, teamwork, and leadership. If a team focuses on these three things, they'll be likely to also do the many other little things that lead to winning as well. So always remember, effort + teamwork + leadership = peak team performance!

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