Good Teams Start with Good Teammates

By Enio Sacilotto, Assistant Coach of the Victoria Royals & President of International Hockey Camps

"One man can be a crucial ingredient on a team, but one man cannot make a team" - Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

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 like teams are more likely to over achieve and reach the impossible. In order for a team to be 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 you to be a good teammate.

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 on being a good teammate and they start with you.

2) Communication

Good communication is based on honesty. You must be honest with yourself, your teammates and tell the truth. 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, if you do not listen, you will never know! If a teammate is holding you accountable, then listen and don’t be defensive and stubborn as you need to be held accountable as well. Putting your differences aside with two way constructive communication goes a long way for you to be a winning team.

3) Support

Help each other be right! If a teammate does something good then make sure you are positive and you tell him about it. There is no room for negativity with all the ups and downs that hapen 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 off the ice. After all you are nothing without your teammates!

4) Solving Challenges And Mistakes

There is no such thing as a “problems”, 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. After all 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, if you and your teammates are not making mistakes you are not trying and 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 on the ice is important for your team to be successful. Know and learn what your role on the team is. Take the time to work extra on your individual skills and fitness levels away from the team. Go to stick and puck sessions, attend skills camps, go to the gym, practise in your drive way. You can improve your mental and physical skills by reading books, watching Youtube videos 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 rink! It is amazing how this will help you bond at the arena!

Being a good teammate is not only applicable in 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!

"Ask not what your teammates can do for you. Ask what you can do for your teammates." - Magic Johnson 


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