In this post I want to talk about the idea of playing to your strengths. Think about playing cards for a moment, when you are dealt a hand of cards you have your high cards and your low cards. And if you are playing to win, as most people are you rely on your high cards and make a strategy to use them to your advantage so that you have the best chance to win. Life and sports is no different.

We are all dealt a certain set of cards for life. We can at times trade in some of our cards, but ultimately we will always have our high cards and our low cards, and in order for us to win or succeed we must rely on our high cards and strategize around them in order to get what we want. However, all too often in life, people are focused on their low cards, and let those low cards defeat them before they even have a chance to really compete.

Our society is focused on finding our weaknesses and doing something about them. While it is important to know what we are not good at and work on it, it is even more important to know what our strengths are and work to develop them to their highest potential so that we have the greatest chance to succeed. The greatest athletes us their strengths to set themselves apart from the rest. No athletes is great at every aspect of their sport. Even a well rounded athlete will have skills that are less developed than the rest, and if they relied on them over their strengths they would not be the athlete they are.

So think about what are your strengths? What sets you apart from the crowd? For me, my strengths as a hockey player were my hands (stick handling), my vision of the ice and my work ethic. My skating was okay, and so was my shot. I worked extremely hard on both those aspects of my game, to improve them and did, but I also relied and catered my game to my hands and vision of the ice. Even to this day, when I play hockey, I am known for my ability to undress the goalie to score a goal and my vision of the ice and the passes I am able to make because of it.

Focusing on your strengths is also important for the unity of a team and the success of a team. Each member of a team was put on the team for a reason. Not everyone has the same strengths, nor would you want that. So if you try and be a different player than the one who was picked for the team you may end up hurting your playing time but also the success of the team. Read this article by a colleague of mine to find out more about the team aspect of playing to your strengths.