Within every company and softball team there are 3 very different types of people or players; A’s, B’s and C’s. Each of these groups has their role and each role is important to the group’s ultimate success.
Learn how to identify each group and how to make sure they work FOR, instead of against you!
A softball team is nothing more than a miniature workforce working to accomplish softball wins, just like the work force at General Mills is working to make Wheaties, or Dell’s workforce is making computers. Sure, Dell and GM have a ton more workers than your softball team does, but you might be surprised to find all workers have some important things in common.
Know Your ABC’s – There are basically three different types of players (or workers) in life; A, B and C players. While this example is taken from the business world, it definitely applies to softball teams and makes a ton of sense to me.
Let’s take a quick look at the characteristics of each of these and how to distinguish A’s from B’s from C’s:
“A” Players – “A” players are just that – A grade. They’re independent, hard working, driven, and self-motivated. A’s are competitive and want to be the best at everything they do. A’s typically look out more for themselves since they’re so driven by their own performance. Your Challenge with “A” Players – you have to keep challenging them or they get bored. A’s also get frustrated at other’s lack of performance so you also need to help them learn patience for their teammates. A players might get bored with your team, so they might start looking to play on another team. You cannot give them the same tasks day after day at practice since these don’t challenge them. Does this sound familiar? Doesn’t this sound like exactly what Dan Coyle talked about when he said players must “stretch” themselves in order to improve and A players will in fact stretch you in order to continually keep them challenged. (So You Want to Be GREAT).
“B” Players – “B” players are your average players. They do their job and they do it well. B players do everything you ask of them and want to improve, but not too much. They never want to be the star. 80% of your team will be B players but since they do their jobs they only take about 20% of your time. B players are good at whatever they like doing and tend to avoid things they don’t like. B players look out for the team. B’s work hard but might not have the physical gifts the A’s do, or the over-the-top motivation to excel. Your Challenge with “B” Players – B players do well with praise, so you’ve got to make conscious efforts to praise their efforts and results since this is what helps their performance level. This might not be your style but good coaches adapt their style to get the best out of their players.
“C” Players – “C” players are often slackers. They do as little as possible to get by and aren’t motivated to change their role on the team. C players have no aspirations to take away anyone’s starting position and are content with doing the same thing over and over and over. C players won’t go above and beyond. C players are perfectly happy with an inning here and there, where an A player would be very unhappy with that. C players are not that talented and could be a B player but they don’t want to work that hard. C Players are team players but they aren’t going to volunteer to stay late and work more. C’s often miss practice for reasons other than injury and do just enough to stay on the team. C players are often on the team for social reasons, or for the travel or to be with their friends. Getting to the next level is not a part of a C’s mentality. They typically aren’t playing to be an all-state player. Your Challenge with “C” Players – C players you will have to keep an eye on them to get them to produce. They will usually be role players so give them a role that’s comfortable for them, make sure they understand their role, and if so they can be good and valuable team members.
What Does This All Mean? – Most of your team will be B’s, with a few C’s and A’s mixed in. Since A’s & C’s are much harder to manage or keep motivated, you’ll spend the majority of your time with the A’s and C’s, and very little with the B’s. And since praise matters to the B’s you’ve got to make a concerted effort to say each player’s name every day, or pat them on the back to let your B players know you’re glad they’re there.
While A players are the most motivated and competitive players, it would seem like we’d all want nothing but A Players on our team. But to quote Lee Corso – “Not So Fast My Friend!” With a team of only A Players you won’t have any team unity and you’ll be constantly challenged. You also won’t have any role players, and since somebody has to be on the bench a team full of A players means A’s are on the bench – which will create nothing but team dissension and spell doom for your season. (note -C’s are much happier on the bench ). While you’ll want the A player up in the bottom of the 7th with the season on the line, or in the circle pitching with 0 outs and the bases loaded, they are just like every other group – they have their role within the team. Remember, it takes all 3 groups for a successful team and team effort!
For more help with team bonding and team chemistry, check out the Coach’s Guide to Creating Team Chemistry: Tips on Coaching Female Athletes, and eClinic 021: Team Culture – The Key to Your Team’s Success.