Athleticism isn’t every thing. It’s easy to forget that there’s more to a game than just being the best on the field or adding a win to the season. Sometimes the athletes that can change a game isn’t always the most skilled person on the field, but they do little things to change the atmosphere of the game.
Know the Referee
Introducing yourself to the ref on your own time before the game can change how the referee views you and can occasionally influence a close call. A good player treats the referee with respect at all times. While it’s unlikely to see a referee change call, a close call will go toward a player who respects the ref. After a while, you’ll begin to know the referees personally, and while refs won’t call a game because of it, you’ll find mutual respect develop between you. You’ll find the referees more willing to explain calls or reconsider some.
Be a Good Opponent
Everyone has experienced a team or player they hate. Some players develop a reputation for being known as the terrible opponent. You don’t want to be that player because that’s the player teams love to beat on. How you treat your opponent will be the first thing people will remember about you as a competitor. It’ll affect how teams treat you on the field. Being the first person to pick up your opponent or clapping them on the back after a tough play can change how people see you. Competition can bring out the worst of us, and it’s easy to be someone you aren’t. Doing the little things help your opponent remember that while you’re competitive, you aren’t a terrible person. Ultimately, it makes you a better competitor.
Put Your Phone Away
Whether its warm-ups, practice, or game-time, your focus should be on the field not somewhere else. It’s becoming more and more common to see players on the bench sitting with their phones out. You might not be seeing a lot of playing time, but even on the bench, you’re still important to the game. Games can be long and grueling, and your teammates need your encouragement. Watching the game can help teach you the sport. It’s a large reason coaches suit up JV players for the bench on varsity. It teaches them the varsity style of play and pace even if they might see a minute on the field. Coaches notice who is goofing off or pulling their phones out at practice and before a game. Focusing on the game will not only gain the coach’s and your teammates respect, but it could also earn you a few minutes of playing time eventually.