I've been asking this question of myself quite a bit lately. Commitment is kind of one of things that you recognize when you see, but to define it is a bit more elusive a proposition. So, of course defining what commitment looks like is what I am about to attempt.
On this fall's team I had two great examples of commitment among the players. As I have thought about these players the last couple of days I was able to come up with some commonalities I believe distinguish them from their teammates in terms of commitment.
1) They were not only present but also punctual. These two players simply did not miss team activities and both were always on time and usually quite early. Being present and punctual seem like such simple common sense things to many of us, but we all also recognize being present and or on time is a very real struggle for others.
2) Attentiveness. We might call this an ability to focus or concentrate. Attentiveness, to me, is the ability to listen and carry out instructions. I loathe having to repeat myself seemingly ad naseum to some players and value greatly those players who are attentive and responsive first time.
3) The questions committed players ask tend to be far different from the questions of others. Attentiveness will lead to this. They seek out nuances in details and ask for clarifications of the process. Their questions are both about improving themselves and improving their team / teammates.
4) Their effort is never questioned. They are the pacesetters for the team. This is true in terms of work ethic, attitude, spirit and enthusiasm. They bring the best effort they have day in and day out.
5) And I have found their commitment is not contained between the lines of the pitch but permeates everything they do. Their lifestyle and habits outside the lines mirror what they do inside the lines. School work, nutrition, rest - the same level of effort they give inside the lines ... it's a product of what they do outside the lines.