Basketball doesn’t just teach athletes how to pivot or make a chest pass. Instead, basketball also teaches life skills. Like most sports, the lessons learned on the court can also translate off the court. Being a good teammate can apply in the classroom, at work or in everyday life.
Elena Delle Donne, Jewell Loyd, Jordin Canada and Arike Ogunbowale are all professional basketball players that strive to be good teammates. Throughout their careers, they’ve picked up on traits that have helped them succeed in being leaders on and off the court.
Delle Donne says that sports can teach you how to get back up when you fall down. “It’s going to teach you so much about life that you’ll be able to use, whatever you do,” she says.
DO WHAT YOU LOVE
As an athlete, you want to win games. However, winning isn’t the only core requirement to being a good, impactful teammate. Showing your love for the game, despite the result, can go a long way. After a loss, teammates can help pick each other up with encouraging words instead of focusing on what went wrong.
Canada, a guard, says that if you love basketball, focus on the journey instead of solely on results. “When you get too fixated on the results, you kind of lose the process and you kind of lose what’s important to you,” she explains.
It’s important to keep your love for basketball at the forefront of your mental game. If you try out for a basketball team but don’t make the cut, don’t give up on your passion. Loyd says to push and train hard to improve your game for the next tryout.
GETTING ALONG WITH OTHERS
Not every teammate is going to be your best friend. To function together on the court like a well-oiled machine, there needs to be respect. It’s important to have respect for your teammates and work together with them. Making group decisions can help you and your teammates perform at your best.
“You work with the team; you have to work with them every day. There’s different personalities, obviously,” Ogunbowale, a guard, says. “And, whenever you get a job, you have to work with people that you might not get along with or you have to be close with them and make team decisions.”
Respect must be mutual between teammates. Earn your respect by being a team player, says Canada. “If you believe in yourself and you have the confidence to do it, continue to work hard. Your work ethic, your character and your integrity will speak for itself,” she says.
Being a team player can take you from being a top player on the court to being a good citizen off the court. Take these lessons and implement them into your training and everyday lives.
Looking to improve your self-confidence? Jewell Loyd gives her advice to young female athletes on how to embrace their uniqueness and be confident in their game and appearance.