- Stop complaining when something you don’t like happens.
- Don’t blame others
Oh, were you expecting a build-up to those two? Sorry, Holmes.
While self-evident to some, these two points are a great way to build up your own ability to play well and enjoy the game more. Furthermore, managing your own ego (after all, both of these point to that three letter word, don’t they) can make your clubmates and players respect you more than they already do.
There is almost nothing that can “kill the vibe” of a pickup day than someone who carries a grudge – a serious grudge. It’s very possible to suck out any enjoyment people are having because one player feels like another player is purposefully causing harm or mistakes. Truth is, this is almost never the case, and by complaining about it, you’re amplifying the “damage done.” Think of it with this friendly example:
You get into a kerfuffle with another player wherein they wheel dick you. They say they are sorry but you feel (correctly or incorrectly) that they did it on purpose. Instead of letting it go for what it was (a single moment in a single day in your entire bike polo career), you shout at them for the rest of the match, throw your helmet after the game, and bring it up again periodically through the rest of the day.
Essentially, you just made that little moment dominate the day, your team, and your club’s fun. Knock it off.
Instead, think of the moment objectively: did they do it on purpose? If they did, is it something that was done with malice. If so, you’ve got something to address. If not, drop it.
This brings me to the second point (don’t blame others): it’s easy as hell to see where a play goes wrong—and perhaps even easier to see what player is the cause of that failure.
But there is a big difference between knowing what went wrong and who made it go wrong, and blaming.
Listen—as much as we herald this sport for being goofy fun, it’s still a competitive thing. It’s still something that people need to have some know-how to do. Because of that, it’s easy for players to beat themselves up for messing up a play. They don’t need your help doing it.
When a player messes up an otherwise great play, just accept it for what it is: a person making a very human mistake. Emotions are high, especially in a competitive environment, but it’s important to recognize how your assignment of blame can hinder the next several plays involving that player. I’m not even talking about feelings, I’m talking about objective ability of making plays: you blame a player openly for messing up, and they will begin to shut down and doubt themselves. It’s why heckling was invented.
So there they are – two tips you can start right away. See what changes in your game.