Five Keys to Helping Your Teammates

July 21, 2018, 6 a.m. (ET)

Sara Hughes and Summer Ross

Sara Hughes

Professional beach volleyball player, AVP, FIVB

“Working the hardest and leading by example will make both you and your teammates better. Always push each other in a positive way to stay motivated and do the best you can. It is also important to keep an open line of communication both on and off the court.”

Kelsey Robinson

2016 Olympic bronze medalist; 2018 VNL champion

“Whether I’m stepping onto the court or cheering from the sidelines, I’m always thinking about how I can give to my teammates and make them better. I try to always make sure I’m looking them in the eyes and giving as much information during and after the play as I can. By taking the focus off yourself, you raise the level of play and build trust with your teammates.”

Heather Erickson

2016 Paralympic gold medalist and MVP; team captain

"Being a great teammate takes sacrifice, patience, trust and selflessness. You must put what is best for the team ahead of all, even if that means not being in the role that you would like to be in and biting your tongue when you want to scream. Every time you step on the court, it’s an opportunity for you along with your team to improve. Take this time seriously.

"The quote 'a team is only as good as its weakest player' is the truth. It takes everyone working toward a singular goal to make a group of individuals into a team. Just because you all have the same jersey doesn’t make you a team. Playing for each other no matter the circumstances, and truly wanting the best for everyone on that team makes you a team. Every person has something to add to a team. Figure out what that is and work your butt off to make sure you are the best you can possibly be at it. Better yourself, better the team."

Related: Helping Your Team Handle the Pressure | Ways to Be a Better Teammate | Establishing Team Chemistry

Lindsey Berg

Three-time U.S. Olympic setter, 2012 team captain

"The key to making your teammates better is accountability and responsibility. Once you’re able to hold yourself and your teammates accountable in a positive and respectful manner, both parties will be able  to reach their potential. This starts with allowing yourself to be vulnerable and take responsibility. I found that I was able to make my teammates better when I effectively communicated my expectations of them and was open to their expectations of me as a teammate and a leader."

Tri Bourne

Professional beach volleyball player, AVP, FIVB

“One of the big things is finding a partner who can play to your strengths and vice versa. Players should constantly be aware of how they can help their partners improve, not just themselves. If your partner needs extra setting reps, you need to be prepared to take more swings in practice so their good sets are rewarded. You have to be on the same page with the same focus, same goals and same work ethic. At the professional level, especially on the FIVB Tour, you are travelling together so often and so many miles that it’s easy to get frustrated with each other. You have to keep the lines of communication open.”