The past number of months I have worked with many teams helping to get everyone on the same page, working to establish an agreed upon culture and help to identify any issues that could be preventing the team from maximizing individual abilities. As you know there are so many factors that come into play in the development of a great team. Part of it is the attitude of the player and how well they fit into the team concept.

During these sessions, one exercise we do is identifying "get" and "give" players and how the two very different attitudes impact the team and the team's results.

What is a "Get" or "Give" Player?

There is a big difference between a "get" and "give" hockey player and knowing the difference is important to you and could directly impact how far you go in the game in the hockey.

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Let me explain:

Some athletes are primarily focused on what they get for themselves ("what do I get") within the team structure. They generally want to know how they can...

  • Get to score even when they may not be in a position to
  • Get to show up for practice when they want
  • Get to start
  • Get to always be in the line-up
  • Get to play more minutes
  • Get attention as the star of the team
  • Get to give less than their best because they've been on the team awhile
  • Get to do what they want at the expense of teammates
  • Get rewards beyond the team (scholarships, individual rewards)
  • Get to have the trust of others when they don't trust teammates

Now, there are other athletes on the team who have a "what can I give" approach. They are focused on giving to the team and what they get is not the priority...

  • Give their best effort in all practices, training and games
  • Give the team an example of their team values in action every day
  • Give their team a positive attitude no matter what the circumstances
  • Give their team a lift even playing a small amount of minutes
  • Give their team a chance to win no matter what position they play
  • Give other players a chance to get the glory
  • Give the team an example of sacrifice for the better of the group
  • Give the team an example they can follow
  • Give coaches a very coachable attitude

Why You Must Be a "Give" Player

There are many advantages to be a give player. Here are a few reasons why give players have the advantage:

  • Every coach looks for the "what can I give" athlete for their team - coaches look for reasons not to select the "what do I get" athlete
  • It's far more fun to be on a team with "what can I give" athletes - the culture is more honest, more humble and teammates generally trust each other
  • It's a funny thing in life that the more you give - the more you seem to get back - so a player who gives also "gets" in return
  • What is the Result of a "What Can I Give" Culture?

    The best example of a culture of giving in sports is the New Zealand All Blacks - rugby's most successful team in history with an 86% winning percentage. Their "sweep the sheds" culture and attitude not only promote an honest, high performing, family environment - but they also win!

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    After every game the All Blacks players sweep the locker room of every last piece of grass, tape, and mud. No matter if they are playing a friendly match or in the World Cup - they take responsibility for leaving the locker room the way they found it. No one looks after the All Blacks - they look after themselves. They also strive to leave "the shirt" in a better place than they got it when they eventually leave the program. They are not there to "get". They are there to "give".

    Are you a "get" or "give" player? If you are a "get" player, you may consider what it might take for you to become a more "give" player. You may be surprised that a transition to a "give" player may help you "get" exactly what you want.