Series: Improve Your Mental Game—Teamwork

13 July 2022

We’re covering the Jr. NBA and NBA Academy’s Next Level Mentality program, a 10-part series curated from mental health performance coaches in the NBA and WNBA that’s designed to help youth athletes improve their mental approach, and individual and team performance.

Behind every great athlete is a great team. They support each other, while working toward a common goal. No matter what.

It’s like Julius Randle said: “This idea of how we can have our goals as individuals, and then our goals as a team…and if we have the right mindset, there’s no reason those goals can’t feed into each other.”

When they do, success happens—and not just in sports. Sure, the best athletes are great teammates. But so are the best students, leaders, entertainers and even parents. The truth is that teamwork affects all aspects of our lives.

The more we work together, the more likely we are to achieve our goals and feel satisfied by the fact that we were a part of something bigger than ourselves. Not to mention its myriad of benefits, like enhanced social skills, friendships, learning opportunities, and productivity.

So to help you teach your child how to work well with others, the mental performance coaches in the NBA and WNBA created the following list.

5 characteristics of a great team

They identify the team goal

Bottom line—without a goal, you won’t know how to work together. Great teams know exactly what they’re working toward and how to get there.

They clarify their roles

Every individual has their own smaller goals that contribute to the team’s overall goal, and that’s why it’s essential for every player to know their responsibilities and expectations. That way, they can be held accountable for their role in the team’s success.

They have a positive and inclusive culture

Simply put: you need a positive atmosphere to feel empowered. Everyone should believe that they impact the team’s success. This type of culture is created when athletes can have an honest and open discussion with their teammates, knowing they’ll be heard.

They communicate effectively

True teamwork can’t happen without solid communication. It’s important to be respectful and listen to your teammates, while also being able to handle constructive comments and feedback.

They track their progress

Great teams reflect on their progress and have a discussion on what needs to be done when they’re off track.

Lastly, it’s important to note that individuals need to actively participate in team tasks. Do you remember that one person in group projects who did everything? That’s not teamwork. When every single person actively contributes, it leads to better problem-solving and decision making. No doubt about it.

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