Most your sports are team sports and require players to demonstrate good teamwork. The players who make up a teams must understand what teamwork is, in order to really experience and be successful at the sport. Teamwork is hard for most youth athletes to really understand because it is human nature to want to achieve your personal goals. It is becoming harder and harder to get youth athletes to understand the importance of teamwork, as a key attribute in becoming a great athlete.
The main reason youth athletes are not concentrating on becoming team players is because so much emphasis is being put on individual skill or the need to have to score points to contribute to a team’s success. The reality is that when a youth athletes understands and plays the game with teamwork in mind, he or she will develop their individual skill and probably score more points, than if they were focused on scoring. Team players contribute to a team’s success by playing tough defense, rebounding, passing to the open player, encouraging teammates and looking to score when they are open. Great youth athletes reach their individual potential when they understand what teamwork is and try to make the other players on the team better.
There are several examples of players that come to mind to prove the point, that players do not reach their individual potential until they play with teamwork in mind. The best example is Michael Jordan, who was the most talented player and highest scorer throughout his first several years in the NBA. Jordan did not start winning championships until Coach Phil Jackson got him to understand that he must make his teammates better by demonstrating teamwork. Jordan then became the ultimate team player and went on to win 6 championships with the Chicago Bulls.
Another example of great individual basketball players not being able to win a championship until they exhibited teamwork was Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal of the Los Angeles Lakers. Once again it was Coach Phil Jackson who was able to make Kobe and Shaq understand the importance of teamwork as an essential part of success for a basketball team and an individual player. Once they understood and demonstrated teamwork they went on to win 3 straight NBA championships.
Some great examples of teamwork are:
- Helping your teammate off the floor when he or she falls.
- Encouraging your teammates on good and bad plays.
- Cheering and having your head in the game on the bench.
- Making nice passes to your teammates when they are open.
The hardest thing for youth athletes to understand about teamwork is that their individual skill and overall game will improve from demonstrating it. Most youth athletes feel their individual success as a player will suffer or their goals will not be reached, if they are focused on being a team player. This is the farthest thing from the truth. Actually, it is not until a youth athletes understands and plays with teamwork in mind, which will eventually be the reason; he or she reaches their full potential as an athlete.
Sports are one of the greatest things in the world because you get to play with a team. Your teammates depend on you and you should be able to depend on them. Once everyone on the team is doing what is best for each other and not just themselves, not only will you experience the beauty of basketball and maybe win a championship but you will become the best youth athlete you can be.
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