There is no “I” in “Team”- tips on how to be the best teammate possible!
Have you always wondered how to motivate your teammates, and encourage them to be their best selves on and off the court? You don’t have to be the best player to be the best teammate. Basketball for Coaches provides 23 qualities that a great teammate should possess. Below are the top 10 qualities I believe to be the most important for our athletes.
1. A great teammate develops real relationships with their teammates.
It is very important for teammates to develop relationships with each other both on and off the court. Strengthening their relationships will transfer into game situations allowing them to be more cohesive on the court. Coaches and parents can help encourage this through planning team activities, BBQs and so on. A player can also do this through initiating practicing outside of the scheduled times. I remember at the start of every season there was always a team dinner so the players could get to know one another and make the new players feel welcome.
2. A great teammate leads by example.
Lead with your actions and not your words. Some ways to lead by example include giving 100% of your effort in all practices and games, being attentive when coaches are giving directions, have a positive and encouraging attitude both on the court and on the bench, be early for practices and games, show that making a mistake is a part of learning and perfecting your skills, and so on. Actions speak louder than words!
3. A great teammate is always working to improve their game.
No basketball player is 100% perfect, therefore always strive to improve your skills. If you hate dribbling with your left hand, don’t avoid doing it, practice and you will only improve over time. A great teammate will always give their maximum effort to improve their game. This effort is infectious and will encourage your teammates to also want to improve.
4. A great teammate always has a positive attitude and displays positive body language.
No matter the score, you should always have a positive attitude since playing basketball is meant to be fun and enjoyable. As soon as one negative comment is made it will quickly affect the demeanour of your teammates. Even if you’re having a bad day all negative thoughts should be left at the gym entrance. Positive body language includes giving high fives, cheering on your team by clapping, and standing up on the bench after a great shot or play. Being positive in every situation will easily rub off on your teammates.
5. A great teammate is supportive.
If a player looks like they are struggling through a new drill or skill and you understand the basic principles, offer words of encouragement to help them. Support all of your teammates during practices and games. Not only does this increase the intensity of both, but it will also strengthen your relationship. Simple encouraging words may change your teammate’s mindset and improve their performance.
6. A great teammate remains positive and supportive while on the bench.
No matter the score, my coaches would always tell my team that we should never be quiet – both on the court and on the bench. We are a team and we need to encourage our fellow teammates while they are playing. Basketball is a team sport, and communicating with one another is very important.
7. A great teammate is willing to provide and accept feedback to/from teammates.
A great teammate will never point the finger on someone else. Again, basketball is a team sport so blame should never be placed on a single person. Be willing to accept feedback from teammates, coaches and parents, and use this to help improve your game. Don’t be afraid to provide your own teammates constructive criticism. Be sure to say it in private, and in a way that won’t discourage them.
8. A great teammate is encouraging and helps new and inexperienced teammates.
They are your teammates, therefore it important for you to care about them and help grow them as players. Offer to help them if they don’t understand a drill, providing words of encouragement can also help. Even suggest practicing with them on your own time.
9. A great teammate respects the game, including everyone involved and the facilities.
Basketball is also a game of respect. Respect your coaches, the officials, your parents, your teammates, your opponents, the court and so on. Without all of these playing basketball games wouldn’t be possible. Respect is a great quality to have in all aspects of your life.
10. Most importantly, a great teammate has fun!
Playing basketball is supposed to be fun! I constantly miss being a kid and being a part of a team, surrounded by others who love to play basketball. Enjoy every game and practice and always make the best of every situation at hand. Always leave the gym with a smile on your face!
All of the above qualities are very important for players to possess and will easily transfer into the workplace as they grow older!
Elizabeth Corey is currently pursuing her Master’s Degree in Sport Management at the University of Ottawa. She is the Domestic Development intern at Canada Basketball, and is the Director of Events for the University of Ottawa Sports Business Club.