Few positions in sports demand more leadership than quarterback. Quarterbacks must understand not only their own assignments but also those of their teammates. On each play, the quarterback must communicate with the coaching staff, call the play and make sure his teammates are lined up properly. On top of all this responsibility, the quarterback must be the one to motivate his team when things get tough.
We often think of a motivator as the "rah-rah" type. However, a quarterback can inspire his teammates to give their best and improve their athletic skills in several different ways.
You won’t be able to master the art of motivation in one day or even one year. But if you start applying the following techniques—in the order they’re described—you’ll eventually become a much better quarterback, teammate, peer, and friend.
When a quarterback is the first person to arrive at practice and the last to leave, his teammates will take notice. When the quarterback schedules work outside of practice, teammates tend to follow. This is called “leading by example.” When you demonstrate a first-class work ethic, you earn respect, the first key in motivating teammates.
If communication is 90 percent body language, it's crucial for leaders to always remain positive. Your body language extends to both practice and games. When the defense allows a touchdown, it’s tempting to slump your shoulders and put your head down. Unfortunately, if you’re the quarterback, your teammates will respond the same way. Instead, when your team starts to get down, take the opportunity to stand tall, high-five teammates and maintain a look of confidence. Your teammates will feed off your positivity. By developing positive body language, you will create a winning attitude, the second key to motivating teammates.
Once you have earned the respect of your teammates and demonstrated a winning attitude, you can start making a huge difference by motivating through communication. One common mistake is to provide feedback only after mistakes. Fight the temptation to correct your teammates after mistakes, and concentrate on recognizing good work. Show faith in your teammates through positive reinforcement, the third key to motivating teammates.
Even if you’re not a highly vocal leader, you can become a great motivator by following these three steps. Believe in yourself and your teammates, and you’ll take your team far.