Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Part 11 of 12
10. Develop a sense of urgency
One understandable and natural byproduct of a successful sports team such as the current era Phillies is to get lulled into a false sense of security.
Simply put, because the Phils have been able to finish each of the last few seasons with a rush that captured them the division crown, players can come to expect that the same will happen again.
At one level, this can instill a sense of calm and over-arching self-assuredness that will get the team through rough spots and high pressure situations.
But, it can also cross a fine line into a lack of urgency— or even complacency. It can be very dangerous to believe that everything will fall into place once again and all work out in the end.
In 2007, a strong closing finish by the Phillies along with a Mets collapse turned a 7 1/2 deficit into a division title in 17 games. Expecting a similar occurence moves toward the probability of catching lightning in a bottle twice.
The following year, although to a lesser magnitude, the Phils once again surged past the Mets in September. Last season, a strong stretch run provided a comfortable lead that proved enough to hold off the late surging Marlins and Braves.
An improved Braves team and healthy Mets club seem to have raised the bar for 2010, especially since easy wins against the Nationals will not be so readily available to boost the Phillies cause.
Confidence and a bit of swagger is good, but adding in a sense of urgency to grab the pole position and keep rivals chasing would be even better.