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Life Lessons

Making Players Feel Valued

The Atlanta Braves and the New York Mets made a trade yesterday.

I mention this not to talk baseball, but because trades always remind me of something my late, great boss, Hall of Fame baseball writer Milt Richman, used to say about trades.

He said that whenever the team informs a player that he has been traded, the first question he asks is, “Who did you get for me?”

In other words, “For whom was I traded?”

The player wants to know what kind of market value he had. The better the player for whom he was traded, the more value the player can see in himself.

This should serve as a lesson to all coaches. Of course, in high school and college we don’t make trades, but the players still want to know that they have a value. And anything we can do to make them feel valued can only help everyone involved.

“The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated,” said William James, a pioneering American psychologist.

A good coach will make everyone on the team — from the top star to the last player on the bench — feel appreciated.

In pro sports, trades do have a way of revealing value. Years ago there was a big-league baseball executive whose reputation as a wheeler-dealer earned him the nickname “Trader” Frank Lane. He once traded a player for a box of cigars.

But, Lane was quick to point out, “They were VERY good cigars.”


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