I have to admit something. I do look at social media from time to time. Facebook. Twitter. Instagram. Not enough to be a problem (I don’t think) but still daily.

There’s some interesting stuff on there. Some funny stuff. Some ridiculous stuff. I try and stay out of the political items and even find some of the religious stuff inappropriate. But there are still a lot of things to be learned from some of the information you find on there. I’ve even stolen (borrowed) material from there before.

I also collect memes from the internet. You know, the things that have a photo and a catchy or funny phrase with them. I keep them in my phone and send them out to friends and colleagues at appropriate (or inappropriate) times.

Anyway, all that leads me up to some of the best things I’ve seen on social media. From that, I’ve compiled a list of things that you need to do to be a great teammate. These came from multiple lists, they’re my own compilation of the ideas of others.

Lead by example: It is definitely a cliché but it’s true. Don’t ask more of a teammate than you are willing to do yourself. Be the hardest worker on the team. Be the one to encourage a teammates when they’re down.

Sacrifice your ego: When it stops mattering what you accomplish and only what your team accomplishes, you will have arrived at the status of Great Teammate. Your ego should drive you to work harder, not be satisfied.

Show respect: Always. To coaches, to officials, to teammates. If you want respect, give it abundantly.

Be dependable: Part of this is knowing your job. When your teammates know that they can depend on you, that you are reliable, then your value to them and to your team is secure.

Show that it matters to you: Failure to do so is contagious. This is also what it means to be a leader. You might be the last person on the bench but if it is clear that the game matters to you, then even the best players on the team have to notice. And in doing so, you will elevate their game and the team’s performance.

Be humble but hungry: You might be that best player on the team but if you truly are that person, you won’t need to tell anybody. And if you are hungry to get better, that’s also contagious.

Make those around you better your priority: The best teammate makes everyone around them better. LeBron James, the greatest player in the game today, cannot win an NBA championship by himself. Sure, he can put the team on his shoulders and lead them to championships, but he can’t do it alone. In Cleveland, he took players that were by NBA standards pretty average and made them better. That’s the mark of greatness.

Be the first to arrive and the last to leave: The same thing I said before — be the hardest working player on the team.

Arrive with a good attitude every day: Love practice. Bad weather? Doesn’t matter. Having a bad day? Use practice as relief from what is troubling you. You get to play a game that you love, for goodness sake! And it’s more fun to win and you’ve got to practice to win, and, and, and. What’s not to love?

Be coachable: Your coach’s job is to help you be better, to be the best you can be. Listen to them. They want to win just as much as you do. Maybe more.

My favorite quote about being a great teammate comes from Robyn Benincasa, world champion adventure racer. She said “you don’t inspire your teammates by showing them how amazing you are — you inspire them by showing them how amazing they are.”

Joe Black, PT, DPT, SCS, ATC is a physical therapist and athletic trainer at Total Rehabilitation and is Manager of Outpatient Rehabilitation for Blount Memorial Hospital. Email joeblackdpt@gmail.com to write to him.

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