sports

There are four types of players in every teenage girl's sports team.

Suncorp
Thanks to our brand partner, Suncorp

I’ve been watching my two girls play various team sports for what feels like 857 years now. We’ve all learned a lot, and I’m a big believer that the benefits of team sport for teenage girls go way beyond physical fitness alone. Belonging to a team also teaches girls about resilience and collaboration. By working together with girls who aren’t necessarily in their usual social circle, a team offers them valuable insight into different personalities and helps them understand what makes other people tick.

Watching all those games, I’ve noticed something: There are four distinct types of teammate. While I’m not trying to pigeonhole anyone, I’ve seen them again and again. These girls have similarities in their ‘teammate’ personality and it tends to reflect their own individual mindsets.

I tried out this theory on my own teen girls recently and when they looked at their own teams, they were surprised to see them too. Want to play along?

Which teammate are you? And which one do you want to be?

The musketeer

This girl’s a team player through and through. Her “all for one, one for all” attitude makes her an MVP even if she can’t catch a ball. She knows everyone’s name, is happy to play any position and is all over the court with a “here if you need” – even if she’s offside. She’ll volunteer to carry the water bottles and shakes hands with every member of the other team, win or lose.

Her mindset: She’s confident and thrives in a team environment. She’s proof that moving your body and doing something you enjoy is a great way to offset the everyday pressures of school and life. Statistically, she’s likely to identify with the 66 percent of young girls who, in a recent study by Suncorp, said that playing sport helps them feel confident in themselves.

‘En garde!’ Image via GIPHY

The quiet achiever

She’s the girl whose name you might not know straight away. She participates but tends to hang back and she can seem a little shy. She has good skills and enjoys playing, but she might think she’s hopeless and can get caught up with negative self-talk.

Her mindset: This girl is the one who needs her team to do what teams do best: get behind her, get to know her and lift her up! Self-talk is our inner voice and the thoughts we don’t say out loud. There are two sides to self-talk; positive (“I know I did my best. I’ll try again.”) and negative (“I suck at this. This is too hard.”). Knowing how to manage your inner voice is an important life skill and sport can be a great tool to support this, along with the confidence you get from belonging to a team who’ll stand with you.

‘I mean, Wing Defence is the most underrated position on a netball court’ Image via GIPHY

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The cheerleader

Then there’s the cheerleader. She couldn’t care less if you win or lose, because she’s genuinely playing for the fun of it. She’s the girl who’ll always have a laugh with you (but never at you) when you throw the ball straight to the opposition’s centre, she’ll shout “nice pass!” when you nail it, make it rain high-fives and will always have something positive to say, even when the scoreboard doesn’t.

Her mindset: She’s positive and resilient. This kind of positivity is infectious, and it’s also life-enhancing if girls can learn to accept that setbacks and failure are a part of life and can actually be an opportunity to grow. It’s called having a growth mindset and it’s a great life skill for young people to develop. A growth mindset is about working out how to fail well and knowing that each setback is a chance to learn. Sport is great in that sense, because you win some and you lose some. In fact, 50 percent of girls surveyed in the same study said sport helps them bounce back when they’re having a hard time.

“The only one to inspire you when the coach asks ‘if you want to have a run in mid-court for a bit.” Image via GIPHY

The hardcore competitor

Being competitive and wanting to win is great, and besides, it’s the point of competitive sport. But everyone knows the teammate who tries to turn every game into a Game of Thrones battle scene. She sees everyone as a threat, even her own team. She tends to hog the ball and can also be a bit of a sore loser. While these girls are often among the better players, they don’t always win points for sportsmanship.

Her mindset: Winning is everything. She sees a loss as a personal failure. The hardcore competitor expects a lot from herself and others and she can find it difficult to cope when things don’t go to plan. But realistically, life is full of ups and downs and it’s our resilience that helps us to keep going. For girls whose confidence takes a blow in the face of defeat, positive self-talk is a good way to help build resilience. So is reinforcement from teammates that it’s only one game, so shake it off and put it behind you.

We’re all Wonder Woman inside, but the hardcore competitor REALLY lets it out. Image via GIPHY

Do any of these girls sound familiar? Chances are you’ve come across them, or maybe you see one or more in yourself. Whatever your personal teammate style, being part of a team ultimately means supporting each other, just like Suncorp’s Team Girls initiative. It’s about girls supporting girls on the court and off, and knowing that when you stand together you’re stronger.

Which teammate are you? Let us know below.

Suncorp

We know that sport builds confidence and the more confident girls are now, the more successful they can be later in life. The 2019 Suncorp Youth and Confidence Report reveals nearly half (46%) of all girls turn their back on sport by the age of 17.
So we’ve committed to changing the score.
Suncorp Team Girls is dedicated to arresting this decline in sport participation in young girls, and highlighting the benefits of staying in the game. We are committed to continuing to change the score to build a nation of confident women, on and off the court.
Find out how Suncorp's Team Girls program is helping to build a nation of confident girls.
Let’s change the score.

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