Teammates don’t always become friends. These tips from Dr. Aimee Kimball, director of Mental Training at the Center for Sports Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, will help you make the most of team relationships.
“[You] don’t have to be best friends, but [you] have to at least respect each other,” Kimball says. By understanding that everyone is working toward the same goal, you’ll find that respect comes more naturally. “That’s when [you] realize [you] might not be friends, but [everyone is] working together to reach a state title or have a winning season,” Kimball says.
Avoiding negative talk about your teammates is critical to maintaining respect. Let your teammates know that you won’t sit back and listen to them badmouth other players.
“It’s important to teach other teammates that if someone has something to say about [another teammate], he has to address them directly,” Kimball says.
Whether the issue is personal, performance-related or about attitude, having the courage to approach a teammate face-to-face rather than talking trash in the locker room will improve the team culture and promote compatibility.
Click here for Kimball’s advice about offering constructive criticism to teammates.