Helping Our Players Become Good Teammates

“Sports build character.”

This statement has been a driving force behind getting children engaged in team sports for as long as I can remember.  Being on a team can help develop communication, problem-solving, relationship building, —— But being a good teammate does not come naturally, nor easily.  And, if we don’t help with it the “Character” they build could be a bad one.

Most parents, and coaches as well, have likely experienced the season where there may have been skillful and effect players, but there weren’t many good teammates.  Poor attitudes, selfish play, outbursts, constant blaming, players making fun of their teammates, and other negative factors can lead to a bad experience and a long season.

This past month all of our coaches and teams returned to practices, working to improve the skills needed to succeed in the game.  Dribbling, passing, receiving, shooting, and other elements of the game are being taught, demonstrated, encouraged, and practiced in order to help players excel and become their best. In order for players to develop good character and become good teammates our players need similar practice, guidance, encouragement, and modeling from parents, coaches, and other players on the components of a good teammate as well.

So what characteristics are we looking for in a “Good Teammate”?

I would suggest that coaches take 5-10 minutes before an upcoming practice and put this question to their players.  What would they like to see, hear, or experience from a good teammate?  What words or actions do they associate with a poor teammate? How does each of them demonstrate being a good teammate.  You can use their responses to layout a framework to guide your season.

The Positive Coaching Alliance put together a long framework for “What Makes a Great Teammate” in 2017.  You can view the entire list by clicking on the link above.  I recently came across a blog: Coffee and Carpools, which explored the topic and some of the characteristics from the PCA article. For this discussion I would like to present five of those characteristics (adapted from the article) for us to focus on.

  1. Good teammates are positive, supportive, and encouraging on and off the field.
  2. A good teammate hustles and gives it their all at practices and games. Despite their ability level, place on the team, or the outcome.
  3. A good teammate shows respect and good sportsmanship.
  4. A good teammate is generous and shows humility.
  5. Help your teammates in need.

Coaches and Parents Role in Developing Better Teammates

As mentioned previously, a good starting place for coaches (and even parents,) is to get the players talking about what it means to be a good teammate. Once this is established the next step is to follow through on demonstrating, encouraging, practicing, and modeling the characteristics of a good teammate.  Here are some suggestions on how.

  • Model appropriate “Good Teammate” characteristics for your players
  • Praise your player or child, and encourage them to praise their teammates or friends
  • Prioritize the importance of a positive attitude over the outcome of the game
  • Parents and family members can model what good teammate behavior looks like in activities or games off the field. Backyard games, board games, and other activities requiring teamwork can present great moments to focus on teammate characteristics
  • Families can watch games together and point out when there is a good display of sportsmanship. Coaches can do this with players during their own game, during film study, or when having the team watch another team play.
  • Thought Starters-You can ask self-reflection questions to get players in the mindset of being a good teammate. Instead of asking questions about their performance, get them thinking about their attitude, demeanor, and energy with the other players on their team. For example,
  • “How do you feel when you think positively even if your team is losing?”
  • “How can you support your teammates when they are down?”
  • “What’s a time today that you really showed you’re a good teammate?”
  • “Who is the best teammate on your team and why?”

We hope this helps and look forward to seeing some great Kings Hammer teammates on the fields at all of our practices and games this season!


Easy Ways to Engage in Being a Good Teammate

Characteristic #1           Positive and Encouraging

  • That was a great idea.
  • You’ll get it next time
  • You were so close.
  • Nice hustle, you were really working hard.
  • That was almost in
  • We’ll get it next time

Characteristic #2           Effort

  • Challenge self and teammates to get better each day
  • Lead by example

Characteristic #3           Respect/Sportsmanship

  • First to say hello to coaches and teammates (not just your friends)
  • Eyes on the coach, paying attention, and listening
  • high five each other and the opposing team with grace
  • say “good game” and mean it
  • don’t put down others who do well, or make fun of those who struggle or fail
  • take responsibility for performances, don’t blame others or claim others must have cheated
  • Clean up after every practice, game, or event

Characteristic #4           Humble and Generous

  • Whether the star or a role player, the team comes first
  • Passing improves teamwork, increases confidence, and creates success
  • Share successes and willingly accept failures

Characteristic # 5          Help Others

  • Show a trick or a new skill to help a teammate get better.
  • Stick out your hand to pull a teammate up when they fall.
  • Loaning equipment to a teammate when they need it.
  • Remind a teammate of their role, positioning, or action when they are unsure
  • Volunteer to practice with a teammate so you both get better.

Tryout FAQ’s

How do I register for tryouts?
ALL soccer-athletes MUST COMPLETE the tryout registration online before participating in the tryout process. Click here to register now!

*Please make sure that you register online at least 24 hours in advance to ensure that the soccer athlete is in the system and we have your information to notify you after the tryout process.  There is a Registration Steps document on the Tryouts page that will walk you through the process. Each soccer athlete should attend both tryout days if possible. If you are unable to attend both days please reach out to the Program Director listed below.

Birth Years for the 2022/2023 Season
For the 2022/2023 season, Kings Hammer will follow U.S Youth Soccer’s guidelines and will organize its teams by birth year:

*Interested players must register to try out for their birth year.

Can my child play up an age group?
Any player playing up will be at the discretion of their respective director. All players need to register and attend the tryout for their correct age group.

What should I wear/bring to tryouts?
Please come prepared with a fully inflated soccer ball, proper footwear, shin guards, and water. Each prospective soccer-athlete will receive one free Kings Hammer Soccer Club tryout t-shirt with a tryout identification number on the back of the t-shirt.  Each prospective player will be identified by the identification number throughout the process and MUST wear this t-shirt at each tryout session for the 2022/2023 soccer year.

We will not be able to attend tryouts or are new to the area and missed tryouts. Is there a process in place to allow for an alternate tryout?
Yes! If you are not able to attend tryouts or missed the tryout dates, please register and then contact the Director for the Program/Age Group you wish to tryout for so that arrangements can be made. We also hold supplemental tryouts throughout the year. Roster openings may be limited after the initial tryout period.

What are the differences between Academy and Premier?
Our Academy provides a highly competitive environment for higher-level soccer athletes. This program provides those athletes with the best local training offered by our qualified and professional staff. Our Academy teams play at the highest possible level providing showcase opportunities to College, Professional, and National level programs.

The Premier Program is a community-based program. The Premier Program provides the opportunity for players to play other sports or have other interests outside of soccer. This program is designed to be flexible, convenient, and affordable.

Can I try out for multiple programs?
We encourage anyone who wants to tryout for all levels to do so. Current KHSC players can ask their coach/director for guidance if they are unsure about which program to tryout for. You will need to register for each tryout separately.

If I tryout for a program and don’t make it, can I try out for another program?
Yes. If you don’t make an Academy team, we strongly encourage you to tryout for a Premier team, attending tryouts for at least one day.

If you don’t make a Premier team, the Classic Program may be an option. Contact Michelle Okumura ( if you’d like to pursue this option.

Will there be more than one team in each age group?
Yes, when possible, there will be more than one team per age group, per program. It all depends on the number of players at tryouts and their skill level.

If my child doesn’t make the top team, can they move up during the year?
Yes, there may be opportunities to move up throughout the year as long as the coach/director feels it is in the best interest of the player’s development. There may also be opportunities to guest play across all levels.

What can I expect after tryouts?
After tryouts you can expect communication from the club in the form of an email.  (Please double-check that your email is correct in the PlayMetrics system, this is the email we use) This will either be an acceptance email, offering your child a position on a team, or an email letting you know that they should tryout for a different program. Players who are offered positions on a team may also receive a phone call from their coach. All communication will come within 24-48 hours of the end of the last tryout. You will then have 24 hours to either accept or decline your email before your spot is offered to another child.

What are the next steps if my child makes a team?

  1. If you are new to the club, you will receive more information regarding your uniform ordering in your confirmation email.
  2. If you are part of the Academy or Premier Programs, you will receive the link to Demosphere to register your child in the state system in your confirmation email as well.

How long is the season?

  • Academy
    • U11-U14: August-November, January-May (possible post-season in June)
    • U15-U19: November-May
  • Premier
    • U7-U14: August-October, March-May
    • U15-U19: November-December, March-May

My child is in middle school but plays on a U15 team. Will there be a fall U15 program for trapped players?
Yes, we will offer a program for trapped 8th graders for the fall season depending on interest. The program will run from August to October and is open to players that are currently in the 8th grade that will be playing on a U15 team starting in November 2022. Questions please contact:

Academy North: Ryan Handbury |
Academy South Boys: James Thomas |
Academy South Girls: Chris Black |
Academy Bluegrass Boys: Dan Ensley  |
Academy Bluegrass Girls: Megan Adkins |

Can a team come to the club and join as a team?
Yes! The team can join the Classic Program. For more information please reach out to Michelle Okumura at

Who is in charge of hiring coaches?
If you are interested in a coaching opportunity, please fill out the following coaching form –

Program Directors:

Academy North: Ryan Handbury |
Academy South Girls: Chris Black |
Academy South Boys: James Thomas |
Academy Bluegrass Boys: Dan Ensley |
Academy Bluegrass Girls: Megan Adkins |
Premier Xenia: Brent Lewis |
Premier North: Wil Cagle |
Premier Sycamore: Ryan Handbury |
Premier Central: Michael Ratliff |
Premier South: David Shemilt |
Premier Versailles: Brandon Cummons |
Premier Lexington: Fonyam Atanga |