In sports, the team that finishes on top is not always determined by the most talent but by the team that plays like a team. Teams that play as a single-unit are more likely to overachieve and reach what seemed to be impossible. In order for a team to become a team, each member must take the responsibility to do his/her part to be a good teammate. This article will offer seven tips on how to be a good teammate.
“One man can be a crucial ingredient on a team, but one man cannot make a team”
– Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
*This article is intended for teams 13 years and older*
1) Respect And Trust
You don’t have to necessarily like your teammates to be a part of a successful team, what is important is that you respect each other. It is often said that respect must be earned, so if you want to be respected then you must show respect to everyone around you; your teammates, coaches, team officials, game officials, parents and fans. After all, you get what you give!
Another way to earn respect is to be a trustful teammate. You must be trusted to work hard, execute your assignments, be disciplined, be reliable and do all the things your coaches ask you to do.
Respect and trust are the foundations of being a good teammate and they start with you.
Good communication is based on honesty. You must be honest with yourself, your teammates and tell the truth to everyone, including yourself.
There are times when you have to hold each other accountable. If a player is not working hard, not executing the plays or being undisciplined then you must be honest and call him out. This is a hard thing to do, but it must be done constructively without blaming and figure pointing. If there is trust and respect between you, everyone will listen!
Communicating is not just about you doing all the talking, good communication requires you to be a good listener! Listening to your teammates is a form of respect. Someone else’s ideas or tips may help you if you take the time to listen. By not listening, or by just waiting for your turn to speak back, you will never know.
If a teammate is holding you accountable, then listen and don’t be defensive and stubborn. This is a difficult thing to learn (it is as much a skill as running or catching!). As you learn what they are trying to tell you, you will learn that you also need to be as held accountable if the team is to perform. Putting your differences aside with two way constructive communication goes a long way for you to be a winning team.
Help each other be right! If a teammate does something good then make sure you are positive and you tell them about it. There is no room for negativity with all the ups and downs that happen in sport.
There will be times during the season when things will not go right for your team, we call these the “dog days”. This is where you have to stick together, fight for each other’s success and offer each other positive support.
There are also times when support is needed off the ice or playing field. Helping unload the team bus, cleaning the dressing rooms or offering a teammate a ride are amongst the many things you can do.
No player is too big of a superstar to support teammates by doing the little extras away from the game. Remember – you are nothing without your teammates!
4) Solving Challenges And Mistakes
Start by changing your perspective when the going gets tough.
There is no such thing as a “problem”, there are only challenges! There is no team in the world that goes through a season without challenges.
Don’t dwell on the past and keep rehashing the issues.
Be a “solution-oriented” teammate. Put your challenges out in the open and find a solution to the issue.
This is not a time for you or your teammates to blame others and point fingers. When you point your finger at someone, three fingers are pointed back to you.
Remember to keep your challenges within your team dressing room, there is no need to share your issues with people on the outside. Mistakes in sports are common so if you and your teammates are not making mistakes, then it’s likely you are not trying or working hard enough.
The best athletes in the world make mistakes, learn from them and forget about them fast. Stay in the present moment and be ready for your next play.
5) Be Committed
To be a good teammate you must be selflessly committed to the goals of the team, and be prepared to do anything you can possibly do to reach these goals. You are open to sharing ideas and are flexible to change and compromise for the betterment of the team.
You are prepared to be an active participant and are always asking yourself, “What can I do to help my teammates and my team to be successful?”
6) Improve Your Physical, Mental Skills & Knowledge of the Game
Your contribution to the game is important for your team to be successful. Know and learn what your role on the team is. Do what you do best and find a way to improve it. Then find what you need to work on and work twice as hard! Take the time to work extra on your individual skills and fitness levels away from the team.
Go to practice sessions on your own, attend skills camps, go to the gym, practice in your driveway. You can improve your mental and physical skills by reading books, watching tutorial videos (like the ones on Sportgo) and talking to players and coaches. You will be a better contributor if you understand your role and get better at your skills.
7) Life Outside Sports
Life is not just about the sport we play. Show interest in your teammates outside your sport.
What are their hobbies? What movies do they like? How many brothers and sisters do they have? What are they taking in school?
Find out more about them and do things together away from the game. It is amazing how this will help you bond when it comes to game-time!
Being a good teammate is not only applicable to sport but in all of life. We are members of teams at school, work, with our families, with our partners, really no matter where we are, we are in situations where we need to be good teammates.
Results in sport are up and down, you will always win and lose games. Focusing on the process is the key to success. Be consistent in the process of being a good teammate, it will bring you and your team a long way! Be an enthusiastic teammate as more successful the team is the more successful you will be!