Baseball bro’s and other things

Hey, we’re all baseball people. I’ve been called a “baseball bro” and admit to using that term when talking about others. While the term itself refers to men, I believe it describes a worldview of action, getting things done, focusing on technical skills, competing, and winning.

That way of thinking is one commonly held by people of all genders, across all sports. It’s what makes for a good athlete or coach!

However, it can also lead to a bit of tunnel vision, an assumption that the physical gameplay itself is not only the main factor in whether the team will succeed but also the only factor.

More than just technical skills

Yet, most of us will admit that psychological and social factors are also present on the field. For example, a pitcher that can manage their emotions and maintain focus when things are not going well will do better than one that can’t. Another example is that a coach who is supportive, focused on development, and is a true leader will produce better results than one that tries to run a small paramilitary unit through insults, aggression, and punishments.

Whether your team will compete and win is determined by more than just the technical skills of the players and coaches. While those must be present, successful sports organizations also understand that all the other psychological and social things have a profound impact. In fact, it is attention to all those other things that set them apart from the competition both on and off the field.

Many years ago, I met with the leadership of the celebrated Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League. At one point they told me they sold more Roughrider-branded merchandise across Canada than all the other CFL teams combined.

They gave me one small example of why they had such broad support. After every away game, they would run an advertisement in the local media of the opposing team thanking them for the game, regardless of which team won. Of course, that is not the only reason they had such a broad following, but it does speak to the attention to those other things that no doubt played an important role.

Support doesn’t come from just winning

Baseball and softball organizations of all sizes need support. Teams need it from players, families, sponsors, volunteers, municipalities, partners, and the media. Players need it from their followers and supporters, coaches, sponsors, recruiters, and others who help them on their way.

And all that support does not come only from winning games. In fact, winning games is not even the major factor. Think about it – you want that support especially when you are not winning games.

Simply put, for sports organizations, a higher level of support means money, access to the best players, fan support at the games, commitment from the players, a positive reputation, and better performance on the field. For players, it means reaching their personal goals and, to mix sports metaphors, having people “in their corner”.

That support comes from supporting the idea of you and your organization, the story you tell, and the way you communicate and connect with all those groups that you need to succeed. Communication is key to success and it has to be intentional – it won’t happen by accident.

This is one of the biggest of “all the other things” that also need focus and attention if you are to compete in a very competitive sports marketplace.

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