How To Help Your Athletes Become Championship Teammates

To be a great athlete today means more than having talent on the competition surface. Coaches want players with character and work ethic. They want players who are coachable. They want athletes who are championship teammates, not just top performers. In fact many organizations will take a great teammate who is less skilled versus top talents who are all about themselves.

A Model Teammate

When it comes to being a great teammate there’s one player I’ll never forget. Her name is Amanda. On her college tennis team, she wasn’t the most talented or experienced, but she was a tremendous teammate.

Amanda brought a contagious energy to every workout, practice, and competition. She had an infectious smile and encouraged her teammates.

She’d cheer people on – even in practice. She knew her role on the team and never complained about it. She simply showed up every day and worked her butt off to get better.

When teammates stepped out of line, behaving in ways counter to the team standards, she was the first to call them out.

She offered a ride to anyone who needed it. She put in extra work after practice.

She was a solid competitor, but it was her role as a teammate that may have made her the most valuable player on the team.

Most coaches would love to have a team of Amandas.

10 Qualities of Championship Teammates

In today’s sport landscape athletes are often in it for themselves – to get noticed, secure a scholarship, or even get a shot at the pros.

However, teams and organizations are looking for talented athletes who are ALSO championship teammates.

For athletes to be successful in sport (and life), they’ll need to develop these 10 of qualities of championship teammates.

Championship teammates…

1. Demonstrate a team 1st, not me 1st attitude.

Being selfless is critical to being a committed member of a team. A championship teammate puts the team’s ultimate success ahead of personal stats, position, and playing time. Even the decisions made off the playing surface reflect a team first attitude.

2. Own their role.

Championship teammates understand that every role on a team is important. Owning your role means knowing it, accepting it, and executing it to the best of your ability. Great teammates take pride in whatever their role is on the team.

3. Lead by example on and off the playing surface.

Adhering to the team’s standards of behavior is just one way championship teammates demonstrate their commitment. They work hard on the competition surface and in the classroom. They have integrity and treat others with respect at all times.

4. Consistently perform to their potential.

Continuous improvement and consistent performance are signs of a championship teammate. Regardless of position, he or she puts forth the required focus and effort to maximize his or her abilities and contribute to the team.

5. Hold themselves and their teammates accountable.

Championship teammates hold themselves to high standards, adhering to the values and standards the team has set. They also hold their teammates to these standards, not shying away from providing feedback and correction to enforce team standards of performance and behavior.

6. Push their teammates to get better.

As iron sharpens iron, a championship teammate seeks to sharpen the rest of the team. Through competition, encouragement, and tactful criticism he or she is always looking to challenge teammates to up their games.

7. Celebrate the success of teammates.

Whether on the scoreboard or in the stat sheets, championship teammates are eager to celebrate the successes of their fellow team members. This selfless enthusiasm propels them to want the best for their teammates (even if it costs them playing time, notoriety, or position) because it is best for the team.

8. Bring positive energy everyday.

A positive attitude is infectious. Championship teammates fuel their teams with optimism, passion, and enthusiasm. Regardless of how grueling the workout or grim the circumstances, championship teammates keep an open mind and focus on the possibilities for what the team can accomplish and they spread the spread energy.

9. Have their teammate’s backs.

The most successful teams have strong connections and relationships. Championship teammates care about others on the team and are there for them through the highs and lows. They don’t bash their teammates or gossip about them behind their backs. They stick up for the teammates and are willing to lend a helping hand whenever a teammate needs it.

10. Find ways to serve their teammates.

Championship teammates are continuously looking for ways to serve their teammates. In true “Golden Rule” fashion they’ll be the first to do the little things like clean up the locker room, pass out Gatorade, or pack up equipment. It isn’t about them, it’s about the team.

Free Download

To help you share the 10 Qualities of Championship Teammates with your team I created this PDF poster for you. Click the button to download.

Cultivate Championship Teammates

There is more to being an athlete than just being a peak performer on the playing surface. Coaches want leaders in the locker room, athletes who are selfless and push their team to reach its potential.

Share these 10 qualities with your team. Talk about how each quality contributes to the team’s culture, cohesion, and success. By cultivating championship teammates, you’ll improve your team’s performance and set your players up for success in both sports and life.

Question: Why do you think athletes today struggle to be good teammates? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below, or on Facebook or Twitter.



Please note: I encourage reader discussion, however, I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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