How To Be a Successful Teammate

MyKenna Sharp-Hadl, Features Editor

“I’ll do whatever it takes to win games, whether it’s sitting on a bench waving a towel, handing a cup of water to a teammate, or hitting the game-winning shot.”  — Kobe Bryant.

This quotation is so important; what is a good teammate and how do you become one? Bryant’s words should answer that question for most athletes. A good teammates is someone who is willing to do whatever it takes for his or her team to win a game. I can relate. There have been several times when I found myself standing up against the fence rooting on my fellow Allen Community College softball teammates. This is just one of my many important roles that I have on this team.

Role number one: This role is the most important of them all. We must put aside our own selfish needs and be the better person. We must root our teammates on, whether we are sitting on the sideline or playing on the field. Communication is key in almost every sport that we may come across. What good would I do my team by sitting on the bench just “watching the game?” If you are not playing on the field or one of the starting five on the court, your number one goal is to cheer — non-stop. Sit at the front of the bench or stand against the fence and be the loudest player in the dugout. Your voice echoing throughout the gym is more important than you may think. Do not just yell to be yelling; make your words be known and let your excitement energize others. When the starting pitcher strikes out the number four hitter, become excited. Let your teamm    ates know that you are excited for their success.

Role number two: While in practice, push your teammates to be better. Your success during practice will result in their success as well. As a softball player, I have four other outfielders that could do the same job as me at any given point in time. Practice is the time to push your teammates to be better, and, by doing so, you will find that you also are becoming better at your position. You must first want your own success; then you must strive to make your competitors better.

A real-life example here at Allen is our starting second basemen and our backup second baseman. Our starting second basemen has started every game of the season. She is a hardworking player and a team captain. Our backup second baseman is also a hardworking player; however, she has yet to see any real playing time. Some athletes in that position would have given up or moved on to a new position. But our backup second baseman is determined to make our starter better and to better herself. The backup second baseman pushes the starter every day when it comes to being in the batting lineup. Without the backup second baseman’s determination and hard work, our starting second basemen would not be as good as she is now.

Selflessness and hard work are what lead a team to victory. As athletes we must never give up on ourselves, and we must use practice as a way to improve not only ourselves but, more importantly, our team.

Role number three: When your time comes in which you are given the opportunity to shine, make something happen. Often players are put into pressure situations. For example, earlier in the season I was told to grab a helmet and hit for one of my teammates. We were playing against one of the top teams in our conference, and we were down by two. One might understand why I would be slightly nervous. I went up to bat and managed to get on base. I later got a hit that scored a run. I could have very easily choked under the pressure and ruined my chances of playing again; however, I did not. Instead, I took an opportunity to do something good and I made it my success. From that game forward, I continued to see more and more playing time. This role is important because, while you may seem defeated at times, when the opportunity presents itself we must take hold of the ball and dunk it.

Role number four: Take initiative. Never be afraid to ask questions. If you are not understanding something then there is a great chance that another one of your teammates is not understanding the same thing. Asking questions not only benefits you but also your teammates. The idea of asking questions provides critical thinking for both the athletes and the coaches. There is no such thing as a stupid question.

Role number five: Respect everyone. We must have respect for ourselves, our teammates, coaches, officials, and program as a whole. Respect is just a part of the game. Every game that you are a part of, respect should be the backbone. Respect should first start within yourself. Respect your body. As an athlete, injuries are a very common thing. When you are hurting, take the time to be treated. Secondly you must respect your teammates; show the kind of respect that you wish also to have. Respect the opinions and actions of your fellow teammates. You must also respect the coaching staff. After all, they are your coaches for a reason. They all tend to know best. If you can respect yourself, your teammates, and coaches then you can easily respect the program itself. Showing that respect makes being a good teammate easy. When you show respect, others will in turn show respect for you. Use respect to your advantage. You get what you give.

Role number six: Learn to have fun, on and off of the court. When are you having the most fun, when you are losing or when you are winning? Sometimes the answer is both. However, there is a certain satisfaction that comes along with winning. Since the beginning of time, humans have enjoyed winning. The idea of winning is embedded into our heads, and with winning comes satisfaction. Winning, however, does not just mean that your score is higher than your competitor’s. There is much more that comes along with winning. Examples include making a great play, shooting a career high basket, hitting a home run, exhibiting sportsmanship, and many more. Winning is not always so black and white. Sometimes just improving from the game before is winning. When you are having fun, you are winning.

When we learn to incorporate the previous six roles into how we are as athletes and put aside our own selfish needs and learn to become selfless, that is when we will be a successful teammate.