Buying In?

Submitted by biakabutuka ex… on April 17th, 2009 at 2:34 PM

I hear this term so much but I don't really understand it. Taken at face value it means they believe in the system now but they didn't before. What does belief have to do with football (or basketball) success?

Is it rather just a charged way of saying that they have mastered the playbook while the people who departed (or had a bad season last year) didn't? To me, any outright failures from last year should be due to the team's unfamiliarity with the plays and schemes. As in, if there were an exam on the gameplan they would get a C (or a D, or an F). This makes more sense to me than saying it was caused by a lack of faith.

I'd chalk up the term "buying in" to journalistic rhetoric, but players use the term all the time. Does anyone know what "buying in" to a system actually entails?



April 17th, 2009 at 2:41 PM ^

on the practice field, in the weight room, in the video room, and on the field on Saturdays. If your heart is not in it then that will show up in your play. And it can go as far as to divide a locker room and infect a team.

However, I do agree that it is one of the most overplayed phrases the last couple of years. There were definitely players that "did not buy in" last year. And most of them are not on the team any more.

But does "buying in" mean guaranteed success? Of course not, there a myriad of other issues like you identified.

So while I think it is overplayed, I definitely think it matters on some scale.

Hoken's Heroes

April 17th, 2009 at 2:44 PM ^

Doing what you are told with a smile and all your effort and not questioning why you are asked to do what the coaches tell you.

In my line of business, buying in means doing what you are told unless you enjoy getting your head bashed in. Rich Rod isn't that harsh.


April 17th, 2009 at 2:45 PM ^

I think the "buying in" we here about has more to do with their work ethic and overall commitment to the team. Someone who didn't buy in would Carson Butler, someone who did would be John Ferrara. I think someone who doesn't respect the coaching staff or his teamates would really be a cancer in the locker room.

biakabutuka ex…

April 17th, 2009 at 3:12 PM ^

Thanks for the input, everyone.

To me, it seems like you would be giving your all or something close, regardless of your affinity to the coaching staff. No one wants to look like a chump with 100,000 spectators watching live and millions more abroad.* But I don't know, I didn't play organized sports at that high a level.

On the other hand, I can see how one could coast or give just enough effort in practice not to get yelled at, which would affect your play no matter how hard you try in the game. And saying you weren't buying in is just about the nicest way to put that kind of behavior. It doesn't even really sound that negative.

* Unless you're a mental case like Randy Moss.


April 17th, 2009 at 5:13 PM ^

Buying in is about really believing in what the coach is trying to accomplish with his system - "buying what he's selling." When you change coaches, and especially when the new coach institutes some significant changes, it's normal for some players (especially upperclassmen) to not really buy in. They may put on a happy face in front of the coaches, but then in the locker room, grumble "WTF is Coach doing?" It's tough to build a cohesive team in those circumstances.


April 17th, 2009 at 3:25 PM ^

The greatest example of "buying in" that I have ever seen is the 2004 Stanley Cup Champions: the Tampa Bay Lightning. The players all bought into John Torterella's system, they all played with desperation every shift, at least ten of them had career years, they had a hot goalie, and won the cup with a roster that shouldn't have finished over .500.

When they became full of themselves and started strutting like champions the next year, things were never the same, and they have been a .500 team ever since. It has been quite entertaining to hear fans ask, "What is wrong with the Lightning?"

They are asking the wrong question. All along they should have been asking, "What was right with the Lightning in 2004?"

I know this is OT, but my point is to never underestimate the power of a team fully buying into the coaching staff.