Trust, Commitment, and Connection

Without trust and commitment it's easy to destroy connection.

To build strong teams and be strong individuals we must build high level trust by living up to our commitments. However, I think the bigger goal is building deepening connections: people are wired to connect.

On the field, teammates (and coaches) need to have each others’ backs. We don’t need to be best buddies with everyone on a team or coaching staff, but we need to have clear vision of our common goals. These shared goals connect us together, and anything that gets in the way causes tension or trouble.

If you’re like me, there are times I get an email or text saying, “hey, can we talk?” Over my years of coaching I’ve had my share of notes like this where I know someone is going to unload. Most often it happens with unrealistic parents. In the absence of details it’s easy to start a story running in the mind that says, ‘Oh no, did I do something wrong; is there something I could have done better; did I disappoint someone or let someone down?” I hate connections unraveling.

Recently I had a message like this from a high school player, asking if he and his dad could talk with me that evening. During our conference call the dad reminded me I once told them, “until I can prove to you that I know what I’m talking about, you have no reason to trust me.” I was getting more nervous as he spoke. You can feel the relief when he indicated their trust in me is deeper than ever — and because of that they were calling to seek my advice and wisdom.

The previous weekend the young man attended a showcase event organized by a MLB associate scout. Afterwards the organizer approached him with an offer to play on a summer scout team, indicating he sees a future in higher level baseball. They wanted advice because he’s already made a commitment to another summer program (and the scout team was significantly cheaper than the club team). I’m not a fan of breaking commitments for I think we’re known for our word. However, there are times we need to back up and re-evaluate.

I suggested he call people in both organizations and lay things out. Questions I suggested he ask both parties: “If I back out on a commitment I’ve made, how do you end up viewing me? Are you going to think less of me, and do I damage my relationship with you?” Asking questions like this opens lines of communication. It’s better to make informed decisions with everything on the table. The ultimate goal is building connections instead of destroying them.

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