There are a number of attributes that athletes are applauded for on the big stage, but none may be more intangibly valuable than being a good teammate. Last week we discussed the different types of leaders on every team, and how each of them fills a specific role or carries a certain responsibility. Beyond those responsibilities, each and every type of leader—and every member of a team, for that matter—has the ability to be a good teammate.
Being a good teammate can be easy, but we should still promote the trait to our athletes
The NBA season kicked off last week, and an excellent example of being a good teammate went viral after the Los Angeles Lakers played the Portland Trailblazers on Friday. Russell Westbrook, the Lakers’ point guard, has gotten off to a rough start to the season. He has struggled as a shooter and has been hounded by fans and the press for it. He was answering questions at his locker post-game when his teammate Juan Toscano-Anderson stepped up and had his back.
Personal struggles and slumps get the best of everybody eventually, and when they do, it can make an athlete feel completely alone. A gesture as simple as Toscano-Anderson’s in that brief moment can go a long way for a player in Westbrook’s position. What this moment offers as a learning lesson is just how easy it is to be a good teammate.
The positivity and innate benefit that comes from being a good teammate exist through all levels of sports and competition. Help your athlete to understand what it means to be a good teammate, reinforce them when you notice they are being one, and encourage them to pick up their teammates when they are down. This will help them earn the respect of their peers, and build the foundation needed to be a good partner and friend, even after their playing days are over.