Proven ways to deal with toxic teammates in sports
Rolling with toxic people in general is very uncomfortable and could cause sleepless nights for the person affected. Toxic teammates in sports is not a rare occurrence. If you’re looking to deal with those toxic teammates, the first approach you should adopt is mediation, by way of communication.
Some studies have shown that mediation can be successful in up to 80% of cases, depending on the specific circumstances and the abilities of the mediator. It’s important to note that mediation isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach and may not be effective in every situation.
Additionally, the success of mediation can depend on factors such as the willingness of participants to compromise and the quality of communication during the process.
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Below are proven ways to deal with toxic teammates in sports:
Approach #1. Direct Communication
The first step to dealing with toxic teammates is through communication. Try to talk to them and understand the root cause of their toxicity. Many times, people behave negatively due to personal issues, and they are not aware of how it affects others. Talk to your teammate and let them know how their behavior is affecting the team. Be calm and assertive while addressing the issue.
Approach #2. Involve a coach or team leader
If you are playing on a structured team, seek the assistance of a coach who can provide better methods of addressing the situation and improving teamwork. Discuss the issue with your coach or team leader. They might have a different perspective and can help find a solution.
Approach #3. Avoid engaging in toxic behavior
Don’t stoop to the level of your toxic teammate. Stay positive and focused on the game. By engaging in toxic behavior you feed into negativity. Do not respond to negativity with negativity, as this increases tension and explosive aggression. Try to remain calm, composed, and neutral.
Approach #4. Stay united as a team
Toxic team members can create division within a team. It’s essential to stay united and support each other to create a positive team environment.
Approach #5. Seek professional help
If the situation is serious, seek professional help from a sports psychologist or counselor. They can help you manage stress and deal with toxic behavior effectively.
Approach #6. Lead by example
Be the change you want to see. Set a good example for the team members around you. Encourage positivity, teamwork, and respect among all team members.
Approach #7. Set Boundaries
Identify what you are and are not willing to tolerate. Set clear boundaries with toxic teammates in terms of what you find acceptable behavior and what you don’t.
Approach #8. Focus on the Team Goals
Remind everyone about the bigger picture, that everyone is on the same mission, which is to win and achieve their common goals. Focusing on team goals can help diffuse individual negativity and increase teamwork.
Approach #9. Avoid Personalization
When a teammate is toxic, it’s important not to take it personally, as they may be struggling with a personal or team issue. Remember a team is greater than an individual.
Approach #10. Be Supportive
It is essential to support your team, especially the toxic members. Make an effort to understand them, be kind and patient with them. Many times toxic players need extra attention to feel supported.
Approach #11. Know When to Walk Away
If you have tried all the above steps and the situation is harmfully affecting you, then sometimes, walking away is the best course of action.