Some of our best memories of playing youth sports are our teammates. The friendships built from being part of a team is amazing. But why do coaches care about those connections made on the team?
Coaches care about players being good teammates because it helps the team be more cohesive. When the team bonds, success happens on and off the field. So what does it mean to be a good teammate?
What does it mean to be a good teammate?
Players need to focus on being respectful. A team is composed of many different people with different strengths that help the team win. There will be times when your team may be losing or on a losing streak, this is the prime time to see the character of the team. Being a good teammate whether you win or lose starts with being respectful to your teammates.
Being nice and caring always goes a long way. It earns players respect on and off the field. It is also something that your teammate will remember long after you are done playing. For one of our teams, we have kindness cards. The coach hands them out and it is a note to the player on what they do well. We even have a term for it: What is your superpower? The cards started to create a bond and the players appreciated it. It helped them boost their confidence and that showed in the next game.
Why is working hard important? For players to develop, then need to develop those skills under pressure. This means that the harder you go at your teammate under pressure creates an environment of a high work rate. This in turn helps the players and collective team get better. When you combine this with respect and kindness, you have less players getting upset that someone was really challenging them. The hard work sets the tone.
How can you talk to your players about being a good teammate?
Coaches are a big part of shaping the team culture. This culture helps the team player better and win games. While winning may not be your goal in every game or tournament, having a positive culture that is player led leads to so many benefits.
Set the Tone
Coaches can set the tone by communicating expectations for the team and season.
Make Players Accountable
This is one of the biggest positive culture tennents. It is not easy and must be managed on a regular basis. To ensure you have accountability, you can’t be afraid to make tough decisions about players to set the tone of the team. This could mean benching players.
Create Bonding Time
During practice, create time for players to get together and share a specific topic. It could be, give players things they like about the other. We love these breakout sessions that get players talking about a topic that they normally wouldn’t discuss with others. Players also get to see their teammates with a new lens.
Good luck on being awesome and helping to care about your players.
A Three Part Series on How Coaches think About Making the Top Team, Playing Time and Being a Good Teammate. For more information on iSport360, click here. For other youth sports news, click here.