Mizzou Football’s Law of the Playmaker

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Winning teams have players who make things happen.

If a team isn’t intentionally fighting to move up, then it inevitably slides down. Playmakers are what we call get-it-done­-and-then-some people. Intensity is what every playmaker brings to the table. The playmaker has fun stirring up the team, making things happen and doing whatever it takes consistently. The team becomes expectant, confidant, elevated and, ultimately, produces amazing results.

When the clock is running down and the game is on the line, there are really only three kinds of people on a team.

–       People who don’t want the ball: As a result, they don’t want the responsibility of carrying the team to victory.

–       People who want the ball and shouldn’t get it: People who can’t carry the team to victory. Often, these players’ egos are greater than their talent. Such people can be dangerous to a team.

–       People who want the ball and should get it: They are able to push, pull or carry the team to new levels when the going gets tough.

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So how do you find playmakers for your current team?

Look for players who are:

1.    Intuitive: Playmakers sense things that others don’t sense. They might smell an opportunity that others don’t. They might be able to make an intuitive leap that turns a disadvantage into an advantage.

2.    Communicative: Playmakers say things that other team members don’t say in order to get the team moving. They usually know the difference between when a teammate needs a boost—and when he needs a boot.

3.    Passionate: Sometimes, the passion explodes as a controlled fury to achieve goals. Other times, it manifests itself as contagious enthusiasm.

4.    Talented: You can’t take the team to the next level when you haven’t mastered the skills it takes to succeed on a personal level. It just doesn’t happen.

5.    Creative: They are constantly looking for fresh, innovative ways to do things.

6.    Initiating: Not only are they creative in their thinking, but they also are disciplined in their actions. They delight in making things happen. So they initiate.

7.    Responsible: “If it’s to be, it’s up to me.” They take responsibility for making it happen.

8.    Generous: They have a willingness to give of themselves in order to carry something through. They are prepared to use everything they have to better the team.

9.    Influential: Team members will follow a playmaker when they won’t respond to anyone else. In the case of a highly talented team member who is not especially gifted in leadership, he might be an effective playmaker in his area of expertise.