Inside Pitch Magazine, July/August 2022

The Change Up: 21 Ways to be a Good Teammate

by Phil Fox, Illinois High School Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Famer

Louisville #38 high fives a group of smiling teammatesCoaches are always analyzing ways they can make their players better at the skills necessary to compete on the field. An equally important task for us, however, is teaching our players how to be better teammates. Baseball may be a largely individual sport, but it is a team game, and embracing the challenge to be a good teammate and not an individual is a big key for successful teams. Each of our athletes need to know that it’s more important to be a good teammate than a good player, and that “a rising tide lifts all ships.” If you learn how to be a better teammate, you will become a better player. 

Here are 21 ways to be a good teammate:

  1. Sweat More: Hard work is contagious.

  2. Well Done is Better than Well Said: As a team member, one thing you can control is your effort. When you work hard, you will bring out the best in not only yourself, but your teammates as well.

  3. Choose to be Humble and Hungry: When you think you are at your best is when many players stop doing their best.

  4. Pursue Excellence: Each day you must strive to get better than you were yesterday.

  5. Share Positive Contagious Energy: Stay positive and share that energy with your teammates…positive energy goes a long way.

  6. Don’t Complain: Complaining may be merited at times, in life and in baseball. But it only prevents us from focusing on the task at hand.

  7. Do it for Your Team, Not for Applause: Whatever it takes to make the team better, do it. The team always comes first.

  8. Show You are Committed: You can’t just talk about it, you must show how committed you are through what you say and what you do.

  9. Never Take a Play Off: To be a great teammate, you want to be consistent in your attitude, effort, and actions.

  10. Hold Yourself and Your Teammates Accountable: To hold your teammates accountable, you must first hold yourself accountable by being your best every day.

  11. Treat Everyone with Respect and Expect Everyone to do the Same: It’s important to respect and value each person for who they are, not what they do. It’s also important to hold your teammates to a high standard when it comes to how they treat others.

  12. Give All and Take Nothing: Decide to be an energy giver instead of an energy drainer.

  13. Communicate: With improved communication, you develop trust, which develops commitment and ultimately, results.

  14. Connect with Each Other: Use that improved communication to get to know your teammates better.

  15. Become a “Come with Me” Teammate: Include everyone you can to be a part of what you do. If you want to be good, focus on making yourself better. If you want to be great, focus on making yourself and team better.

  16. Practice Selfless Compassion: You don’t have to be great to serve, but you have to serve to be great.

  17. Show You Care: Great teammates care about their effort, their performance, and their impact on their team, but they care most of all about their teammates.

  18. Be a Loyal Friend: A valuable extension of teamwork is friendship. Deciding to be a good friend is the start of being a great teammate.

  19. Love Your Team: If you don’t love your team, you can never be a great teammate.

  20. Sacrifice: You must be able to sacrifice what you want for what the team needs.

  21. Leave the Team Better than You Found It: Pride and the ability to do the little things to show you and your teammates having class goes a long way to building a great team and teammate.
These concepts and any others you develop on your own can be shared with your team. Make sure they know the expectations you have for them to improve their ability to be a great teammate along with the physical skills you practice with them every day!

Phil Fox has more than four decades of coaching experience, with stints at Downers Grove High School (IL), Oregon High School (IL), Aurora University (IL) and Harper College (IL). He’s served on the Illinois High School Baseball Coaches Association Board and is a 2008 inductee into the IHSBCA Hall of Fame. He previously authored “Player’s Checklist to Improve Their Game” from the July/August 2021 issue.


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