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There's No "I" in Team

Being involved in a team sport can be extremely important for kids. It teaches them so many things on many levels. Besides the actual physical activity itself, behavior and attitude are major factors in playing the game. Getting along with teammates, dealing with conflicts, losses, appreciating and understanding that each member of the team is responsible for the overall success (or loss), listening, being coachable, and being positive and supportive of teammates are all parts of the whole in teamwork.

As a parent, sometimes we see and hear things that coaches don't. Most of the time, coaches are aware and see for themselves the attitude and behaviors that their players display. But then, there are the covert behaviors – those players who blame others behind the scenes, or talk behind other team members’ backs, complain about a teammate, pick on a particular player, or make a team player look bad by pointing out his/her weaknesses. You know the saying, “when the cat’s away, the mice will play.” This is what some kids tend to do, sadly.

There are those particular situations where you or someone else are on to a teammate’s destructive behavior that the coach possibly doesn’t know about. Team toxicity affects every single member of the team. Then there’s this thing call morale. If one person suffers, the whole team suffers. And, it’s quite a set back and challenge to recover from these volatile behaviors. Of course, it’s easy to blame and make someone else look like the bad guy. What ever happened to accountability? Or sticking up for your teammates? Why is it that there’s always a ring leader no matter what the group, sport or no sport?

Making false accusations and spreading rumors about a teammate has got to be one of the worst mistakes anyone can ever make. All it takes is one destructive team player to ravage an entire team. So what’s the price of a team breaking apart and having low morale? That one toxic player aside, the promise of victory goes out the window. A very high price to pay for the sake of bringing just one player down.

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