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The Impact of Making Teammates Better




When players take an active role in shaping the environment and dynamics of their team, their attitude and actions set the tone. By cognitively prioritizing collective goals over personal achievements, players can improve a team's communication, cohesion, and motivation.


Teamwork Equals Success

Research shows that teams with players who help each other out are the ones that really shine. According to a study by Harvard Business School Professor J. Richard Hackman (2002), when athletes focus on team goals instead of just their own, everyone wins. It’s not just about scoring points yourself; it’s about helping your teammates score too. This effort makes the whole team better and boosts everyone’s performance.


Building Stronger Bonds

Creating a culture where everyone is working to make each other better builds strong bonds within the team. When players are invested in each other’s progress, in addition to their own, they feel more responsible for the group’s success. This mutual support means that when challenges come up, the team can tackle them together with resilience and determination. Plus, achieving goals as a team feels way more rewarding.


  1. Prioritize Team Goals: Focus on what the team needs to achieve. Personal recognition can feel great, but team victories are even better. Work with your coaches and teammates to establish common goals and values. When everyone is on the same page about what you’re working towards, it creates a unified sense of purpose.

  2. Unite: Establishing team traditions can help build a sense of identity and unity. Whether it’s a pre-game ritual, team meals or study hall, or celebrating milestones together, these traditions can create lasting memories and a stronger sense of belonging.

  3. Enhance Communication: Talk to your teammates. Clear and open communication can make all the difference. Be open and honest. Encourage discussions about goals, strategies, and any issues that arise. Make sure everyone feels heard and valued.

  4. Support Each Other: Be there for your teammates both on and off the ice. Offer encouragement, celebrate their successes, and help each other through challenges. A supportive environment fosters trust and camaraderie, which are essential for a strong team culture. When everyone feels supported in working toward team goals, the team progressively gets stronger.


Why Teammates Matter

Think about the best teams in sports history. Whether it’s lacrosse, basketball, or any other sport, the most successful teams are the ones where players look out for each other. When you help a teammate score, you're not just giving them points; you're building trust and showing that you care about the team's success. This can lead to better chemistry on and off the ice, making practices more effective and the competition of games more enjoyable. Everyone has something to contribute.


The Ripple Effect of Teamwork

Your efforts to help your teammates can create a ripple effect. Say, one player starts setting up really great scoring opportunities, others are likely to follow. With the right team culture, that could transform the entire team’s dynamic, encouraging everyone more willing to pass the puck, set screens, or make that extra effort in defense. Before you know it, your team has a solid game plan where everyone’s in sync, leading to more wins and a lot more fun.


Handling Challenges Together

Every team faces challenges—injuries, tough opponents, or even just a bad game. But when you’ve built a culture of support within your organization, these challenges become easier to handle. Instead of one person shouldering all the pressure, the whole team steps up. This shared responsibility builds resiliency -- you’ll be able to bounce back from setbacks quicker and learn from mistakes together as a unit.


Celebrating Success as a Team

By investing in your teammates, you’re not just making them better players—you’re also improving your own game. So next the time you’re on the ice or in the gym, remember, a supportive and selfless attitude can go a long way. It might lead you and your team to greater heights than ever imagined.


There’s nothing quite like the feeling of celebrating a hard-fought win with your teammates. When you’ve worked together, supported each other, and shared the load, the victory feels even sweeter. It’s not just about the final score but about the journey you took together to get there.


-K




Source: Hackman, J.R. (2002) Leading Teams: Setting the stage for Great Performances - The Five keys to successful teams. Harvard Business School Working Knowledge. Leading Teams: Setting the Stage for Great Performances - The Five Keys to Successful Teams. Available using this link.


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