What can I do to help my team?

Every athlete should ask this question of themselves.  Our expectation of what a good teammate is holds the answer to this question.  What qualities and traits do we want in a teammate?

There is no substitution for hard work. Set your standards high and be the positive example for your team. Give your best effort each and every day. Demonstrate discipline, dedication and determination in everything you do. When you do this, you will raise the standards and expectations for everyone else on the team.
Attitude is so very important because it is contagious. You have a choice to make, infect your team with positive attitude or infect your team with negative attitude. This may seem like a “no-brainer”, but the importance of attitude cannot be overstated.  Positive attitude can lift the spirits and improve the performance of the team. Negative attitude lowers morale and drains energy from the team. Limit the negatives. Focus on and accentuate the positives. Praise effort instead of criticizing a poor result. Lift your teammates up instead of beating them down.  
In the context of the team, everything you do is for the team. Your ego must be subservient to the mission of the team. Make runs to create space and opportunity for a teammate. Support your teammate’s run with one of your own.  Make all you do on the pitch about The team, the team, the TEAM!
Use your strengths to benefit the team. Know who you are as a player and what your role is on your team. Work hard to improve so your team can improve as well, but never lose sight of why you made the team in the first place. The balance to strike is a driven selfishness to improve your own game that your strengths can serve the team to their fullest potential. 
Trust yourself and trust your teammates. Trust is earned. On a personal level you earn trust by putting in the work to make yourself the best player you can be. Constantly testing your limits and redefining your comfort zone builds self-trust in your ability to solve problems you encounter in the game.  Earn the trust of your teammates through honesty, consistency, integrity, being humble and being dependable. Trust is everything.
With trust you can build the type of relationships that are the foundation of all great teams. Today this is often called “bonding”. Interact with your teammates both on and off the field. Care about them. Listening is the greatest tool. Learn about your teammates. Share with your teammates. Communicate with your teammates in meaningful ways. Build strong trust based bonds with your teammates and respect will emerge.  You do not have to be best friends or even like one another, but trust and respect are essential components of winning teams. 
The only way to raise or grow a team’s expectations is to hold one another accountable. Begin with yourself.  You will make mistakes. Correct them yourself or seek help in correcting them. You set the standard of accountability. Only then can you hold teammates accountable for their mistakes. Building strong relationships built on trust and respect allows you to appreciate that when a fellow teammate pushes, challenges and demands the best from you they do so because they care about you and what you can contribute to the team. They want your best so the team can be at its best. 
Receive criticism, feedback, instruction and suggestions willingly and with an open mind. Do not be insecure or allow your ego to interfere with the mission of the team. If a teammate holds you accountable say to them, “Make me better. Show me how I can improve. Teach me how to be better and I will work on it for the team.” Provide help to teammates within the framework of bettering the team and with a caring attitude built on the respect and trust you have for and in one another.
In conclusion, serve the team.  Appreciate that if it is about me if cannot be about we. Understand that individual recognition comes easiest in a team setting. Know that Together Everyone Achieves More.

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