As of this writing, the Cubs are two games out of 1st place, and that's certainly newsworthy because "Cubs" and "1st Place" was not something we expected to be discussing this year.
So, as you might expect, even at 10-7, baseball fans are paying attention to the Cubs, with a special focus on their incredible manager Joe Maddon.
After a win a few nights ago, here is what he had to say about the team:
"The liveliness in the dugout is a lot of fun to witness right now," Maddon said. "I'm so process-oriented. If you're playing the game properly and well, good things will happen."
While I will write an entire blog on what being "process-oriented" means, I'd like to focus on his first sentence today.
"Liveliness in the dugout" refers to how much fun the guys on his team are having cheering for each other and it's very telling that Maddon is recognizing this fact as a key component to the team's strong early start.
Simply put, all teams (from Little League to the Pros) play better when teammates are supporting each other, cheering for each other, and creating a "home field" atmosphere in the dugout.
I've been championing "cheering from the dugout" for years at my camps and leagues - and not just as a way to make sure the players on the bench are paying attention - but because the team will play better when everyone is enthusiastically rooting for each other.
In the NFL last season, only 4 teams won more games on the road than at home.
In the NHL last season, only 6 teams won more games on the road than at home.
In the MLB last season, only 6 teams won more games on the road than at home.
In the NBA last season, only ONE team won more games on the road than at home.
Simply put, teams at all levels win more often when people are rooting FOR them instead of AGAINST them.
It's way easier to have fun, be relaxed, and play well when 50k people are rooting for you rather than booing you.
Even the worst teams in all 4 leagues won more games at home than on the road, and by a wide margin too.
So in youth sports, by encouraging our players to loudly and passionately root for their teammates from dugout or bench, we can make every game feel like a home game and not only will the players have more fun, they'll play better too.
The teams that cheer the loudest for their teammates and that are the most excited during the game are usually the teams that win the most often...even at the highest levels of the game.
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