I have been fortunate to train over 150 youth and high school teams over the last 3 years, and one of the biggest areas I constantly stress is the importance of being a great teammate. Any player can be a great teammate regardless of skill, experience, or athleticism. If you can do the following 8 things effectively you will put yourself and your team in a great spot to succeed.
1. Great teammates give maximum effort.
They are the first players to arrive at practice and the last players to leave. They are always finding ways to get some extra reps in (ideally on Dr. Dish!). Great teammates don’t take plays off. They lead by example and bring it every single day regardless of how they feel that day.
Player that exhibits maximum effort: Kobe Bryant
2. Great teammates TALK.
They are exceptional communicators. They talk on defense and encourage their teammates from the bench. Even if you don’t perceive yourself to be a vocal individual, intentional communication is necessary in order to elevate the team. Body language is also a form of communication and extremely important. One of the quickest ways to find yourself on the end of the bench is bad body language. Coaches don’t have time, nor will they waste time, dealing with players that have poor body language.
Great communicator: Kevin Garnett
3. Great teammates are tough.
There will be setbacks in careers, games, and practices… do you shut down, start yelling at the team, and quit? Great teammates continue to fight with a positive attitude regardless of what the scoreboard says. Tough players finish plays, they dive on the floor for loose balls, they set great screens and never, ever give in.
Player that exhibits toughness: Jimmy Butler
4. Great teammates bring and give energy.
Are you giving 100 high fives every day during practice? Positive touches are essential in practices and games. The next time Coach is kicking your butt and you feel exhausted, don’t become silent and selfish. Give energy to your teammates by encouraging them verbally or with a simple high five.
Player that brings energy every day: Maya Moore
5. Great teammates master their role.
Great teammates know their role and they don’t try to do things outside of their role. If your job is to rebound, play defense, and set great screens - focus on being the best rebounder, defender and screener you can be. If you do that, it will benefit your team and you might find yourself in the game more often then not.
Great role player: Tony Allen
6. Great teammates are focused and maintain a good attitude.
Players are going to make mistakes, but it’s how they respond that’s important. After a mistake has been made on the court, great teammates do not walk/jog back on defense or pass blame onto someone else (e.g. Coach, teammate, or referee). Great teammates focus on the next play and don’t dwell on their mistakes.
Player with “next play” mentality: Kawhi Leonard
7. Great teammates don’t make excuses.
Great teammates may occasionally miss easy shots, dribble off their foot, commit turnovers, or miss a defensive assignment, but they don’t make excuses. They acknowledge their mistakes, take responsibility, and ensure the mistakes don’t happen again.
Great teammates aren’t concerned with their statistical performance in a game. Great teammates put their team first and do whatever it takes to help them be successful. They are willing to sacrifice individual success for team success. If you score 30 points but your team loses by 10, great teammates don’t praise themselves for how many points they scored. Stay humble in every situation.