Teaching Teamwork Skills to Kids Who Don’t Play Team Sports

By Carmen Sognonvi
Originally published at http://www.urbandojo.com/blog

Throughout August 2011, we’ll be working on the concept of “teamwork.”

All our discussions and activities will aim to help our students understand that successful, collaborative teamwork can shorten the time, divide the effort, and increase the morale of a group who are working towards a common goal.

In this video, Dr. Robyn Silverman, creator of our character development curriculum Powerful Words, gives advice to a father who wonders if his kids are learning enough about teamwork since they’re more interested in individual sports than team sports:

Dr. Robyn believes that while team sports are a good way to learn about teamwork, opportunities to learn teamwork exist everywhere. Here are her suggestions:

1. Look for fun teamwork activities
From volunteering to leadership, from baking to puzzles, opportunities to learn teamwork are not far away. If your child is already learning an individual sport or activity (like gymnastics or martial arts), you can ask that instructor or coach if there’s an opportunity to do something team-oriented within that sport.

2. Go to team events
There are plenty of opportunities to see teamwork in action as a spectator. Whether you enjoy watching sports, or watching team cooking competitions on TV, you can show your child that being an active supporter at an event is an important part of teamwork.

3. Talk about what works in teams and what doesn’t
As you’re watching a team event, talk about what you see and ask questions about what your child is observing. What’s working well for the team? What areas need improvement? Why do you think they’re successful? Or why do you think they’re having trouble?

4. Do team-oriented things at home
Start a game night on Friday evenings and play team-oriented games. Or do chores together and encourage these activities as family team time. Praise your kids for being valuable members of the family team and talk about how they contribute to the family team each and every day.

There’s no better way to drive home the lessons we teach at Urban Martial Arts than by reinforcing them… well, at home!

To give you more ideas for conversation topics, here’s a run-down of what we’ll be discussing this month:

Week 1 Teamwork defined: What is a team? What is teamwork?
Week 2 What makes a team succeed or fail? Sportsmanship, attitude, character, effort
Week 3 How can I contribute and what can I learn? Leadership, strengths, & lessons
Week 4 When should I stand up vs stand strong together? Disagreements & compromise

We’d love to hear how your conversations go with your child so do share with us!