Is there a player on your team who drives you crazy? That is too serious or goofs around too much. Maybe teases you or doesn’t pass you the ball. Or maybe there is some other reason that you don’t see eye to eye. If you have one of those players on your team, it’s time to look for a connection.

You may not care to make a connection. You may think that you have nothing in common with the teammate, but I think you’d be surprised. You can often find common ground if you make an effort, and doing so is one of the best ways to make your team stronger. Hopefully your coach is helping you and your teammates to get to know one another better by doing teambuilding activities and spending fun time together, but if not, try reaching out to your teammates more and see what happens.

It doesn’t have to be a huge gesture; simple comments on the court can make a difference.  Nice job. Thanks for the pass. You can do it. This type of communication brings players closer. Kindness goes a long way. You can ask them how their day went, or if the time is right and you’re feeling brave, delve deeper, into family and life experiences. You may find you have more in common than you think. Maybe you’re both Lady GaGa fans or you both love county music. You might learn you both have little brothers who drive you crazy or that you both have a parent from Italy.

As you get to know and understand one anther a change will happen, not only in your personal relationships with your teammates, but also in the way your entire team communicates. You might begin to understand that your teammate makes jokes or quits trying when they’re nervous, which gives you insight on how to support them, quell their nerves, and make your team stronger. When I was coaching I told my players that they didn’t need to be best friends with their teammates but that they should learn to respect and care about one another. Finding even small connections can help build a stronger team and make your time together on the court a lot more fun.

If you’re a captain, I’d recommend getting the team together to do some team building activities. If you’re not a captain, but your coach or captain hasn’t done any team building, it doesn’t hurt to make a suggestion to do so, or organize an activity yourself. There are tons of good activities. One easy and fun one is making Dream Boards. Just gather a bunch of magazines (that can be cut up), get paper, scissors and glue sticks (Ask your coach for help or have your teammates bring what they can) and then sit down and get to work having fun. Dream boards are simply that, creative posters that are plastered with your dreams. Any and all dreams. Just have fun.

When I was coaching I asked the players to share their Dream Boards and their dreams when they were done with them, and then we hung them on the locker wall right where we entered the locker. There are many ways to get to know your teammates better (More blog ideas…Team Building & I Like You’s), but the key is, as a team you all have a common goal, you want the team to get better. So the more you get to know one another, and the closer you become, the more likely it is that that goal will be accomplished. And you’ll have a blast along the way.