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Team Beats Talent When Talent Isn’t a Team

I don’t just love playing pickleball. I also love the teamwork lessons you learn on the pickleball court.

Today I was playing with a guy who wasn’t a great teammate. In fact, I think he was the worst teammate I’ve ever played with.

He was talented. So talented he wanted to hit every ball including the ones that I was supposed to hit.

When I made a great shot he acted like it was the first time I’ve ever hit a shot like that. And when I missed a shot he tried to tell me what to do. I told him I know what to do. He asked if I had won yet. I said you haven’t won either. :)

He was trying to win all by himself and because he was trying to do too much and pressed too much he missed a ton of shots.

I could feel him draining my energy and quickly realized I was not only battling the opposing team but also battling him. Thankfully all the teaching I’ve done on mental toughness has made me mentally tough.

He had no idea what I did for a living so after another loss I finally had enough and said to him, “It’s fine if you want to hit the middle shots with your forehand instead of my backhand but I know what makes a great team and this isn’t it. Let me hit my shots and you hit yours. We can’t win if you don’t trust your teammate.”

We played much better together the next game and won!

The lessons were clear.

You can have a lot of talent but a superstar will never beat a better team.

Team beats talent when talent isn’t a team.

You can’t win all by yourself. You win with your teammates.

You win when you trust and empower your teammates, believe in them and lift them up.

And while you may have a lot of talent no one will want to work with you and be your teammate if you are a jerk. I found out after our games that this guy does the same thing to all his teammates and no one likes playing with him.

If I do play with him again, I decided I’m bringing him a copy of The Power of a Positive Team :)

And last but not least, if you have the talent of a superstar also choose to be a super teammate and make everyone who works and plays with you better!

– Jon