“There’s no ‘I’ in team” is a popular phrase used to describe the importance of working together to achieve a goal. Teamwork can be a hard concept for kids to grasp initially, especially for children who are playing on their first youth sports team and aren’t used to having to share the ball.
If kids don’t learn about the importance of teamwork at an early age, then it will be difficult for them to excel on future sports teams. It is just as important to learn how to play with others as it is to work on individual skill development. The teams who focus on embracing the spirit of teamwork always end up having more fun and being more successful.
Here are some tips to help teach your kids to become good team players:
Encouragement and Cheering
Having a positive environment among the team at both practices and games will help set the tone for how everyone works together. The most important part of creating a positive environment is teaching the kids on the team to cheer for each other. Not everyone on the team will make every play or be motivated every minute they’re on the field. Just because a kid doesn’t make the goal, doesn’t mean that their effort shouldn’t be praised. Teaching your child to always encourage their teammates will help everyone gain confidence and work harder as a team.
Not Pointing Fingers
It can be difficult or even scary for kids to take ownership of their mistakes when things go the wrong way, but the earlier they learn how to admit their mistakes the easier it will be for them to continue to do it. It’s important for children to accept that everyone makes mistakes and to learn that blaming other teammates isn’t the best way to handle the situation. You should teach your child to focus on growing from their mistakes, instead of dwelling on their error. Kids should view their mistakes as an opportunity to become even better at their sport. Kids should also learn to not point out the mistakes of their team members. Good teammates always take responsibilities for their own missteps and never criticize others.
One of the hardest lessons for kids to learn when playing a team sport for the first time is how to share the ball. Everyone wants to be the person who scores goals, but for a team to win it’s also necessary to have people who pass the ball and help create the opportunities for the team to score. Teaching your child that every position on the court or field is equally important will help them to remember to share the ball with their teammates.
A child who encourages others, takes responsibility for their own mistakes and always remembers to share the ball will be valued by their teammates, coaches and parents. Learning to be a good teammate will take kids further both on and off the field by creating good habits that will help them to be more confident, make friends and have fun.