It has also been said that we root for the underdog because we see ourselves in them. We identify with the underdog, whatever our station in life, we see ourselves as battling against the odds to reach our goals. Seeing an underdog triumph reminds us that we also can make it. Not only that, but the underdog also embodies the values we associate with ourselves; passion, grit, and determination
The importance of understanding is not limited to individual team members, it also extends to subgroups. A lot of times when people think of building trust and cohesiveness in diverse teams, the common standpoint is that subgroups are detrimental to team culture and cohesiveness. The belief is that “fault lines,” or divisions based on race, gender, income, age, religion, and so on give rise to conflict and distrust among players in different subgroups.
While it is the coaches and the people around them that set the parameters of what their desired culture is and can look like, it is the players that drive it. It is the team’s leadership group that pushes it forward. Culture cannot be drilled or hammered into players, they take ownership of it. And for this to happen it takes trust.
Sometimes looking at head-to-head statistics or success in the leagues or tournaments that teams or athletes participate paints a false picture of a rivalry. One team might have more wins or more success, and looking formidable on paper, however, that does not take away intensity or the motivation to outdo from the rivalry.
Technical perfection wins the prodigy adoration, but if the prodigy does not eventually go beyond this, and develops a real-world application of those technical abilities, they will sink into oblivion. After all, technical soundness is not enough. Players with unsound techniques go on to make it big if they manage to adapt their styles to match situations. Sound technique needs to be coupled with creativity, that is the only way that it can be adaptable to differing conditions.
Every now and then people without previous playing experience are made to feel as if their opinions hold little value by former players because the former professionals are “experts”. Not only that, but it is often difficult for a person without previous playing experience to break into commentary, and if they do, they are often not accorded the respect they deserve. It is even much more difficult for people without previous playing experience or with limited playing experience to be respected as coaches.
Once told of the stereotype, the athletes will be consumed by the idea, and an intense drive to discredit the stereotype that they invest, unnecessarily, more brainpower in attempting to debunk the stereotype and forget to simply focus on what they are good at.
One of the most common situations where self-consciousness is likely to take hold is when an athlete faces established stars or players whom they admire. Immediately, they are caught between awe, admiration of their opposition and the impostor syndrome. They are starstruck and drowned with doubts on whether they are good enough to face this pedigree of opposition.
Succeeding generations will always outdo their predecessors, breaking the records they put in place. Their milestones, which at one time defined greatness, are reduced to minimum requirements for one to be considered a worthy athlete in the sport. This is because succeeding generations have the luxury of learning from their predecessors, have increasingly more access to resources and tools that help them improve and bolster performance. Not only that, but they also get more access to information on competitors and are then able to plan accordingly before encounters. The equipment also improves. All this works to improve the level of competition.
“When you get home, watch the videotape. Watch it before you go to sleep and when you wake up.” That is what Bob Bowman used to tell the teenage Michael Phelps each day after practice. Even before races, Bowman would tell Phelps, “Get the videotape ready.” The tape that the World Swimming and Diving Hall