If you were to ask any athlete past, present, or future what their favorite sports memories include, what would they say? Teammates.
It’s bigger than the scoreboard.
Sports are about being a part of something bigger than yourself. Sure, they can bring individual highlights, honors, and praise, but anything special involves teammates. We can’t do it alone.
Long after the games are over scores will be forgotten, stats will be replaced, and trophies will collect dust. However, the memories made last a lifetime.
We tell our own children and the athletes we coach all the time, ‘Be a good teammate.” Well, what does that mean? What does one do to make him or herself a great teammate? What are the traits of the best teammates?
Great teammates are unselfish. Bright lights don’t need spotlights. Being an unselfish teammate allows one to make the right play. They don’t care who gets the credit and know the star of the team, is THE TEAM. These unselfish teammates seek opportunities to praise others.
2. Hard Workers
Great teammates are hard workers. They have high energy and raise the level of every room, gym, or field they enter. These teammates show up every day, no excuses given, and give their very best. It’s in their nature to give maximum effort, and by doing so they force everyone on the team to raise their level of play.
3. Cheer for Everyone
Great teammates root, support, and cheer for everyone on the team. These teammates support everyone on the team including all players, coaches, and managers. They are about the name on the front of the jersey, not the number on the back. It doesn’t matter if it’s the All-State player going D1, or the kid who never plays whose career ends when the season is over; these great teammates are cheering loudly for each person they have the honor of calling a teammate.
4. Don’t Bring Drama
Great teammates don’t bring drama or negativity to the team. Simply put, they don’t allow drama to be a part of the culture. They help create the culture by living out the standards and values which are put on posters. When they come to practice they’re not checking phones, sending snaps, or engaging in gossip. They connect with teammates, lifting others up, and setting the tone for an enthusiastic practice.
5. Compete Every Day
Great teammates compete every day. These teammates don’t take days off. Heck, they don’t take drills off. They compete at everything. Everything is a healthy competition. By having this mindset they help their team stay sharp. Complacency is not allowed to creep into the culture. Players who compete every day push their teammates to become better and in the process take their team to new heights.
6. Don’t Let Talent Interfere with Character
Great teammates don’t let their talent interfere with their character. These players are special because they combine talent with character. They are true leaders. They know that just because they have talent it doesn’t give them permission to coast. They don’t let off the court behavior become an issue. They show up in the classroom the same way they do on the field. They hold themselves to the same standard, if not higher than everyone else.
7. Believe in the Team
Great teammates believe in the team. Instead of pointing fingers and asking what’s wrong? These teammates are saying, ‘C’mon we got this!” When the team is trailing and things aren’t going as planned, these athletes inspire their teammates to fight back and give it their all. When the team is winning and things are going well, they remind their teammates the game’s not over and they can always do better. Great teammates believe in the team’s mission, and want to do whatever is needed to push the team closer to its goals.
8. Embrace their Role
Great teammates embrace their role. These teammates don’t whine, complain, or sulk about playing time. They embrace their role and do it to the best of their ability. Great teammates understand they don’t have to be a “star” but they can “star” in their specific role on a team. Great cultures don’t exist without teammates willing to sacrifice for the greater good of the team. Teams can only win championships when players acknowledge, accept, and excel in their roles. Great teammates do that.
Great cultures don’t exist without great teammates
Great teammates know there is more to leading by example. They are the creators and protectors of special team cultures.
Be sure to share these traits with your athletes to help build the special team culture you’ve always wanted.