I don’t like to use this blog as a way to bash people, but more of a way to teach lessons to athletes and coaches in the emotional and mental game of sport. However, I do think that when it is clear that an athlete just flat out does not give a damn, that we also learn lessons from this to make sure that we are teaching our teams not to have the same attitude or outlook as them.
That is why today I am writing this article on why it is vital that your athletes not be like Chicago Bears Quarterback Jay Cutler. They need to care. Cutler sadly, has put on a Master’s Degree Course on what it is like to not give a damn about being talented, working hard, or being a good teammate. If athletes are going to be role models [and like it or not, they are] then their effort is something that people should be telling their kids about. Hence, no parent should ever tell their son or daughter to play or present themselves like Cutler.
His effort is non-existent at best. His attitude is flippant, not just negative. His ability to be a teammate is nowhere to be found. It is a shame that someone with that much talent, does so little with so much. So, having said all of this, let’s get into 3 specific reasons why you, your athletes, and your children should never be like Jay Cutler:
Whether it is a pick-up basketball game, a U-10 soccer game, or a College Baseball Tournament, you at least, at an absolute minimum, want your team to care. If they care, they will put in an effort. Pat Summit used to say that the one thing you can control is your effort. If your team does not try, then they should go find something that they really enjoy and do that. Cutlers continuous and routine ability to not care about how hard he throws, the accuracy of his attempts, or winning in general is nothing that you would want passed on to your team. I guarantee you that if you have a team that puts in a good effort, that is at or close to the best of their ability, then win, lose, or draw, you can walk away at peace with yourself knowing that they did they best they could. Remember, just like we spoke about a few weeks ago – it is not what you do, but how you do it that matters.
How He Presents Himself
When was the last time you saw Cutler in a press conference, either before or after the game, exude confidence or the attitude of someone who gives a damn? Don’t worry, I’ll wait…can’t think of one yet? Because it doesn't happen. How you communicate is not just how you talk, it is your body language. I tell people I work with all the time to walk into a room, on the mound, onto a course, with the body language of a winner. Shoulders back, head up, proud of who you are. This is the opposite of Jay Cutler. Cutler walks into press conferences at a nearly comatose pace, with his head down, upset that he has to even breathe the same air as the press core. Is it because he doesn’t like the media? Probably. But at the same time, when you get paid as much money as he does, he should at least respect himself and his team in a way that shows he is proud to be a Chicago Bear – one of the most respected organizations in all of sports [well, that was until Cutler showed up]. The next time you meet with your team, tell them to present themselves with pride and with confidence. Even if they are not confident, you don’t have to show it. You just need to act like it. Then you are half-way there.
His Ability to Be a Good Teammate
There are two different types of teammates – those who want to lead by example, and those who want to be vocal. Cutler is neither. He has publicly blamed teammates. His teammates have got in his face after bad decisions and he does not seem to care. That is unacceptable. As coaches, I think that you would be OK with either type of teammate. But someone who is not either of those things is nothing but a problem. Part of the lessons you learn from athletics is how to work well with others. You learn to encourage, challenge, and engage with people on a deep level. When was the last time we saw Cutler do any of the 3 things that was just mentioned? I can’t remember either. Even if an athlete has zero talent, the least that they could do is be a good teammate. That’s something that we can always remember and it will not just teach that person valuable lessons beyond sport, but will make your team better.
You may have just read this and concluded that I hate Jay Cutler. I don’t. My family’s roots are in Chicago. I am a Chicago Bears fan. I don’t hate Cutler. I do think however that he can do better. And if he does not want to put in the effort, communicate, or be a good teammate, then I hope that the Bears do the right thing for the organization and their fans. Whatever they think that is. And as far as your team goes, remember – don’t have your athletes be like Jay Cutler.
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