Recently, we caught up with International netballer and Superleague star Natalie Metcalf to find out how to be a good teammate.
Natalie has played in some of the best netball teams in the world. With a Commonwealth Gold, numerous Superleague titles as well as a Suncorp title to her name, she’s no stranger to playing team sports at the highest level.
Let’s delve in and get Natalie Metcalf’s advice on what makes a good teammate.
Being a good teammate
“There are so many reasons why I love being part of a netball team, from the friendships you make off the court, to running out on court together and competing to win. I’ve heard so many times that it’s not the score-lines you remember at the end of your career, but the way you felt along the journey – and that speaks volumes to me.
Yes, as a netball player winning is an incredible feeling, we all want to win. But, if we are not championing the teammates around us and wanting to succeed together, we’re not making the most out of our journey. Succeeding alongside your netball team means succeeding with people who back you, who push you to be your best and who work hard for the team.
This is one of the greatest victories.
What I’m trying to say is, being a good teammate is invaluable. Finding your role within the netball team, discovering your path and owning your journey is a great life lesson and an important part of the sport.
10 characteristics of a good teammate
*Disclaimer – these are traits I see in some of the best netball players I have been fortunate enough
to play and train alongside at my domestic netball clubs and internationally. They are the values I want to hold myself accountable for too, so I can be the best version of myself and be a good teammate.
1. WORK HARD – what you ask of anyone else, ask of yourself first.
Give your all in every netball training session, whether it be weights, conditioning or court time. Be present during the session and commit to giving 100% of what you’ve got that day. Leading by example will encourage your teammates to be on the path with you.
2. FIND YOUR VOICE – be your teammate’s biggest cheerleader.
There’s no better feeling than hearing your teammates cheer for you. From social netball teams through to an England netball match, celebrate your successes. It shows you care, so find your voice, champion those around you to find their next gear and be brave to speak up in doing so.
3. THE SMALL GAINS – Don’t neglect your mobility.
Make sure you work on your mobility and prehab before training starts. After a game, engage with performance analysis. These aspects of the game can help you make small gains and I believe they have played a huge part in getting me to where I am today. Doing everything you can to be your
best self, for you and for your team, will set you on the path to being a great teammate.
4. LISTEN – Respect what your teammates are saying.
Think about a time when you’ve spoken up in front of your teammates or your coach. For some it might feel easy, for others, it can be challenging and requires courage. Remember, when your teammates speak up, give them your attention, and listen to what they have to say – you may not always agree, but open communication and working to resolve issues together is the sign of a healthy netball team culture.
5. COACHABLE – Keep looking forward.
I think this is crucial. I genuinely believe that every sportsperson, no matter what sport it is or team sport they play, has room to grow, learn something new and improve on a specific skill. So, if your coach wants you to try something new, be open-minded – give it a go. Encourage those around you to do the same!
If you’d like to find a local netball team the England Netball website has a handy guide and lots of information on UK netball leagues.
6. SELF-BELIEF – Being the best you can be.
I find my teammates incredibly inspiring, on and off the court. Their work ethic is amazing, from the way they find a way to push themselves in fitness testing, to the energy they bring to the last warm-up of an England netball training camp. They inspire me to be a good teammate.
Seeing my teammates achieve these things, gives me the motivation and opportunity to recognise this within myself too. Knowing I commit to my small gains and knowing I’m committing to these 10 characteristics of a good teammate improves my self-belief.
7. PUNCTUAL – be on time!
Get there early, and put in the effort – these little things make a huge difference. Whether it’s for training, meeting the physio, a strength and conditioning session or a performance analysis review – be on time.
8. BE GRATEFUL – this is huge.
Being part of team sports has so many positives. Being grateful for those around you and what they do for you and the team is important. A lot of people there are volunteering to help you and your teammates out, don’t forget that. Without the people around us, and especially without volunteers we wouldn’t be able to do what we do and enjoy being part of a netball team.
Remember to thank those around you and let them know why you’re grateful for them.
9. REFLECTIVE – To improve and excel is being able to reflect on performance.
This includes your performance and your netball team’s performance. Think about your contributions and the improvements you would make next time you’re on the netball court. It’s important to get the balance right between recognising what needs improving, but also being able to highlight what you did well, and what your teammates did well too.
10. FIND THE FUN – we play our best games when we’re having fun.
This is so right! I’ve heard this saying many times and it’s a great reminder to enjoy the journey. So
whatever session you’re in, make sure you and the teammates try to find the fun. Small moments that bring joy – it could just be a fun warm-up game or telling someone what you’re grateful for. Nonetheless, find the fun and spread the joy! If you’ve seen videos of England netball training sessions you might have seen Bert! A ball we take around to keep sessions fun and engaging.
There you have it! My top 10 characteristics of a good teammate. I hope you have enjoyed reading and are now inspired to work hard to be a great teammate.
About the author, Natalie Metcalf:
Elite Netball Academy founder and Head Coach Anna Carter has worked with International netball player Natalie Metcalf since she was just nine years old. Now, Natalie is part of the Elite Netball Academy team as a Brand Ambassador.
Currently, Natalie plays her domestic netball for a Superleague team in the UK and captains the international side. Natalie has played netball in Australia in teams alongside Helen Housby and domestically with Tamsin Greenway and Ellie Cardwell. Internationally Natalie has also taken to the court alongside players such as Geva Mentor and Jo Harten. Natalie is from Lancashire and alongside her netball accolades has a degree in Speech and Language Therapy from Leeds Beckett University.
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