Starting a new season can be both exhilarating and stressful. The unwritten slate holds hope for positive outcomes, yet the unknown is always accompanied by anxiety.

Teams that get off to a good start tend to increase their chances of having successful seasons. Good teammates take deliberate measures to put their teams in a position to succeed—especially at the start of the season.

With the impending start of a new academic year, here are ten ways you can start a new season like a good teammate:

1. Let go of past successes. What you accomplished last season has no bearing on what you will achieve this season. You are now part of a new team, facing new challenges. Complacently basking in former glory won’t bring you future success.

2. Remember past missteps. Recognizing last season’s mistakes AND committing to not making the same mistakes again leads to progress.

3. Share what you learned during the offseason. What did you discover during your time away from your teammates that can help them become better versions of themselves? Don’t selfishly keep this information to yourself.

4. Be receptive to new ideas. What new training methods or strategies have other members of your team discovered during their time away from you? Don’t be stubborn or too set in your ways to be open to change.

4. Evaluate your habits. What do you want to be known for? You are ultimately a product of your habits. The start of a new season is the perfect time to abandon bad habits and adopt beneficial habits.

6. Be organized. Time is usually at a premium during the start of any season. There’s a lot to be done in a limited number of hours. Being organized leads to efficiency and maximizes the time you have available.

7. Integrate new teammates. What can you do to help welcome the newest additions to your team? Jelled teams become productive teams.

8. Align with team leadership. See it as your responsibility to find out what your team leaders’ goals and priorities are for the new season. Once you understand their expectations, position yourself to facilitate their vision.

9. Expect unexpected challenges. People fail when they fail to prepare. Unexpected challenges (e.g., injuries, illnesses, departures, etc.) will inevitably pop up during the season. You reduce the extent of these disruptions by expecting them and having contingency plans in place.

10. Observe your fellow teammates. Keep an eye out for straggling teammates, as well as those who are exceeding expectations. Encourage the ones falling behind. Praise the ones who are getting ahead.

How you start the season might not matter as much as how you finish, but getting off to a good start makes the probability of a good finish far more likely.

As always…Good teammates care. Good teammates share. Good teammates listen. Go be a good teammate.

Lance Loya is the founder and CEO of the Good Teammate Factory. He is a former sports coach turned bestselling author, blogger, and professional speaker, who inspires TEAMBUSTERS to become TEAMMATES. You can follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or through his weekly Teammate Tuesday blog.

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