I’ve quite often witnessed parents in the stands instructing their kids to do something that completely contradicts the instructions of the coaches, and the majority of the time it’s going against the concept of the TEAM. TEAM stands for, “Together Everyone Achieves More.” In the world of scholarships, professional contracts and entitlement, coaches are consistently fighting the battle of how to get individuals to perform as a team, think as a team, behave as a team and win as a team. I firmly believe that it begins at home with the family culture that is being developed as kids get older and into school/sports. Parents must set the tone for the various levels of teamwork their kids will experience in grade school, middle school, high school, college and the workplace.

Teamwork isn’t a word that can be used strongly on the sports field and never used at home.  Parents must help their athlete identify with their role on the team and reinforce the importance of teamwork.  This will be a lifetime benefit as they transition into the workplace. We hear the word “entitlement” thrown around often, which is on the other end of the teamwork spectrum. Frankly, it doesn’t even belong in the same sentence as it symbolizes individual focus, expectation without effort or hard work and thinking one person is above the team. Unless you are stranded on a deserted island your entire existence, you will need teamwork skills in order to achieve levels of personal and professional success. Skills to operate as part of a team are essential in the business world and are developed early. A child cannot be encouraged throughout childhood towards individual success and then be expected to know how to assimilate into the team oriented goals inherent in most professional realms.

Lastly, kids are not born, “not wanting to be part of a team.” Acceptance and achieving success is wanted and desired and will take teamwork in group environments for this to happen. I encourage all parents to utilize the resources that can assist your child make adjustments along the way. Expanding an athlete’s abilities to communicate and resolve conflict as well as focusing on character and leadership traits will surely prepare them for the team atmosphere at all ages, grades and professional levels.