Monday, 22 Jul 2024

What To Do If Your Child Isn’t a Team Player

Youth sports provide an excellent opportunity to teach athletes about teamwork. However, it can be challenging when your own child doesn’t seem to grasp the concept of being a team player. It’s important not to view this as a shortcoming or something they are doing wrong. Instead, we can turn it into a positive lesson about leadership and the significance of working together. Just as we improve our sports skills, there are steps we can take to enhance our child’s ability to be a team player.

Explain the Bigger Picture

While athletes may hear about the importance of teamwork, it’s crucial to explain why it matters. Team sports offer plenty of analogies that make teaching teamwork easier, such as sacrificing for the team, working together to create opportunities, and passing to open teammates instead of taking long shots. Take the time to explain to your child, with the coach’s assistance if necessary, that each team member has a specific role. When everyone focuses on their role, the team’s chances of winning increase. If possible, watch collegiate or professional sports with your child and point out instances of role-focused teamwork.

Teach Emotional Intelligence

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Every youth athlete has likely experienced being on a team that doesn’t click and struggles to win games. The attitudes of athletes, coaches, and parents set the tone for such seasons. It’s crucial to emphasize the importance of teammates supporting each other during tough times. After a tough loss, explain that losing happens to everyone but encourage your child to reflect on how it feels when the team starts blaming each other compared to when they stay supportive. It may sound cliché, but big defeats present an opportunity to develop resilient teamwork that will contribute to a winning team.

Reframe the Goal

In our sports culture that values individual highlights, it’s natural for youth athletes to dream of being the star and the leader. However, there’s usually only room for one player to take on this role in most sports. If your child feels left out, reframe the situation by explaining that if they focus on making their teammates, including the star player, look good, it will benefit both the team and themselves. At a young age, players with this counterintuitive mindset stand out among their peers.

Help Them Understand It’s Not the End

For competitive youth athletes with aspirations of playing at higher levels, being part of a poor high school or select team can feel like a setback. Sometimes, they may try to carry the entire team on their back, damaging both the team’s chemistry and their own reputation among scouts. Remind your child that their individual skills will shine through regardless of the team’s performance. Being on a below-average team is an opportunity to showcase not only their talents but also their ability to work within a team. Coaches are less interested if it’s clear that an athlete is focused on themselves rather than the team. Being a great teammate on a struggling team indicates the potential to excel on a better one.

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About Alpinetgheep

Alpinetgheep is committed to providing valuable resources for youth athletes. Our mission is to change the culture of youth sports by equipping young athletes with the life skills and core values necessary for lasting success on and off the field. We believe in the power of teamwork and leadership, and we strive to help athletes reach their full potential.