How to Be a Great Teammate

Written by 2022-2023 US Figure Skating Dream Program and Miami University Senior Varsity Synchronized Skating Team Member Brittney Rivelli

We are often confronted with challenging situations when it comes to teamwork. “How can I help my teammates stay focused without sounding bossy?” “When should I talk to my coach about something that bothers me?” “How can I be a good leader?”

Throughout my career as a skater, I’ve realized that the most important thing to being a good teammate is to be a good listener and friend first. Successful teams communicate and trust each other. The best way to do that? Talk to each other and build relationships on and off the ice.

Here are some of the things I learned along the way that might help you in these situations:

How can I help my teammates stay focused without sounding bossy?”
It can be difficult to stay focused during a long workout, especially if it’s early in the morning or late at night. May we want to chat with our friends and catch up after a long day at school. It’s good off the ice, but it can distract our teammates and coaches on the ice during practice.

If you notice teammates talking while the coach is speaking, one solution is to give a gentle reminder after the coach has finished speaking. This can go a number of ways, “I’d like to hear more about your day after practice, can we talk then?” You could also say, “We should talk about that later so we can work on making our program competitive !“ or even “It sounds like you have some exciting things planned for the weekend, I’d love to hear about them later today. Now let’s use that energy to practice!”

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These conversations can be tough, and you might feel a little weird trying to shift focus. Remind yourself of the goals your team has for the season and help your teammates do the same! While it’s not your job to keep the entire team on track, you can help keep yourself and your teammates focused by having on-ice conversations about skating and what you’re working on.

When should I talk to my coach about something that’s bothering me?
Coaches are more than just people teaching us steps and new skills to learn on the ice. They really care about how you are doing and how you are developing as a person, both on and off the ice. If something is going on that is making it difficult for you to do your best in training, at school, or just in general, it’s important to talk to someone you trust.

Talking to your trainer may seem intimidating at first, but know that they are there to help you. A good place to start is to ask your trainer if they have a few minutes to talk to you before or after your workout. A few good ways to ask are: “Hi, I know we have practice now, but I’d like to talk to you afterwards if you have time”, “Do you have a few minutes to talk before?” going on the ice?” or “I’m having a problem and I’d like your advice on something, can we talk soon?”

Sometimes a face-to-face conversation can be stressful. A phone call can be just as effective! Ask a parent or guardian to help you contact your Coach and find a convenient place to share your thoughts.

Seeking help can be scary, but trying to do something on your own can be difficult and tiring. When you talk to someone you trust, such as With a coach, for example, you can probably solve the problem faster and get support so you don’t feel overwhelmed. Plus, these conversations will strengthen your relationship and trust with your trainers, and help you build communication skills for the future.

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How can I be a good leader?
Being a good leader means recognizing that everyone has their own unique strengths and talents. The best leaders help their teammates use their strengths to help the team as a whole. An example of this could be:

During the choreography, your coach will ask who can do a split jump. You know your teammate has a really good split jump, but he’s feeling insecure. So encourage your teammate to try the split jump with you and help them demonstrate their potential.

Also, a good leader is someone who leads by example. This could mean that if you don’t want your teammates standing around at the boards, start practicing and allow them to join you instead of telling them not to stand there.

Above all, the most important thing to be a great teammate is to do your best and be willing to learn. Be open to engaging and communicating with your teammates and coaches whenever you face a challenge. Remember that it’s okay to ask for help and you’re never alone!

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