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Dunigan: The characteristics every winning player possesses

Matt Dunigan
8/28/2013 3:06:04 PM
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With Labour Day approaching, we are quickly nearing the halfway point of the 2013 season.

Tony D'Archi, one of our producers on the CFL on TSN Panel Show put together a segment Saturday Night that saw the panel hand out Mid-Season Awards. That segment, coupled with the turmoil, adversity and/or disarray we have seen in Montreal, Winnipeg and Edmonton this year got me thinking more about a subject I have been kicking around for a while now.

It's a simple one: are you a player??

Players are the guys that, day in and day out, squeeze every ounce of ability out of themselves.

Players learn from and correct their mistakes.

Players are first in and last out!

Players don't punch a clock, they turn it back, praying for more time in the day so they can gain that edge on their opponent and get better that day!

Players are not part of the problem; they are part of the solution.

Players play to their strengths and work diligently on their weaknesses.

Players do the right thing, which often times, is not always the easy thing!

Players cover all the details and never go into a game ill prepared.

Players don't cave and change when faced with adversity. They rise and shine in adverse conditions and they are typically at their best in these times.

Players are not front runners that draw attention to themselves in good times, they deflect praise and attention to their teammates, because they know they aren't alone out there and that football is the ultimate team game.

Players are the ones that are leading the next day after a tough loss when others can't seem to find it within themselves to muster up the energy to do so.

Players ask questions, always looking to improve.

Players are good listeners, which in turn helps them to be quick learners.

Players are accountable for their actions and don't point fingers and lay blame.

Players consistently make good choices.

Players are positive and therefore are people you absolutely, positively want to be around!

Players are confident, not cocky in their abilities. Why? Because they have put in the work and have left nothing to chance.

Players have thick skin and don't let doubt in.

Players expect success, embrace success, act like they've seen it before and will again.

Players are relentless; they fall, get back up, and try again.

Players persevere through injury and come back stronger!

Players make plays that are difference makers and game changers.

Players make the routine play look easy and make the tough play look routine.

Players are giving, unselfish, and look to pay it forward.

Players are not perfect but constantly push for perfection.

Players play the game of football, not the game of being a football player.

Players earn respect by being about it, not talking about it.

Those are the characteristics that make up quality football players. Combine all those traits on a regular basis and you will create character and develop a positive attitude conducive for winning.

When teams are struggling you will often hear players say, "We all have to look ourselves in the mirror and see if we are doing everything we can to be successful."

Having been there before myself, and understanding the mental hardships that go into overcoming adversity – no matter the situation – going back to the basics is always important.

Eliminating all distractions from the equation, both mentally and physically, is essential. It's much like an offensive or defensive coordinator that deals with a struggling attack by eliminating and pairing down their respective playbooks and getting back to basic fundamentals. This cleans the slate, so to speak, and allows players to think less and play faster, both mentally and physically.

So when a team is looking to turn things around, searching for that right formula that seems ever so elusive, the best way I know how is to check your "Hole Card." Are you, to a man, handling your business? Are you practicing and executing the aspects of being a PLAYER?

You would be surprised at how many people on a given team are not: players who are being selfish, not truthful to themselves, and are not committing 100% to a winning attitude and environment.

Tuesday I played in the 2013 Canadian Football Hall of Fame Golf Tournament and I can guarantee that every fellow Hall of Famer there understood exactly what it takes to be a PLAYER!

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