Teamwork: Harnessing the Collaborative Power of Individuals

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By Danielle Repper, Swimming World College Intern

Teamwork makes the dream work! Having a strong, cohesive team has a large impact on how athletes perform individually. Even though diving is an individual sport, the underlying foundation is teamwork.

Team building exercises have increasingly become more popular among athletic teams. These exercises allow athletes to get to know one another on a deeper level. Through sharing opinions and ideas, each person learns something valuable about their fellow teammates. With this knowledge, athletes are able to work better and stronger together.

“For me the most beneficial part of team building exercises is that you gain support and trust within each other. Working together and building that bond you realize that you’re all working towards the same goal,” expressed Ciara Monahan, sophomore diver for the University of California, Los Angeles.

Not only is this beneficial for athletes, team building also aids coaches in learning more about their athletes. This leads to greater communication and productive coaching. Healthy communication between an athlete and their coach, is vital for effective training. As individuals, we all work and think differently. With such diversity, the ability to understand how each individual approaches and views the aspects of your sport, is an essential tool. It is incredible to discover the influence team bonding has on teamwork, and the key is cooperation.

In Coach John Wooden’s book, Wooden on Leadership, he brilliantly wrote, “Sharing ideas, information, responsibilities, creativity and tasks is a priority of good leadership and great teams…you are not the only person with good ideas. Others too have brains. In order to reach your organization’s full potential there must be Cooperation.”

Jul 13, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, USA; Yaima Mena and Annia Rivera of Cuba compete in the women's synchronized 10m platform final during the 2015 Pan Am Games at Pan Am Aquatics UTS Centre and Field House. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports

Photo Courtesy: Rob Schumacher/USA Today Sports Images

Team building for an individual sport should not be overlooked. Seeking help or advice from teammates is never a sign of weakness, rather it shows you have built trust in your teammates and coaches, and are motivated to make a difference both as an individual and a team member.

Monahan added, “having a supportive team is so important to me. Although diving is an individual sport, it’s really nice to have your teammates be there for you, to train with and to push you to learn new dives and become a better diver.”

There are countless bonding activities teams can engage in, whether it’s a game, stepping outside comfort zones together, sharing personal hardships, or sharing who inspires you the most. Simply by working, listening, and engaging with one another both on and off the pool deck, attitude and performance will be noticeably greater. There is truly is something to be said for camaraderie.

Respect is one of the most important things to keep in mind when focused on team bonding. There must be harmony. Respect your teammates and respect your coach. Listen to what they have to say because it may be highly valuable and insightful. If and when there is conflict or something is questionable, do not suppress it. Bring it to light and work out the problem together.

Your teammates will become your second family. The process of team bonding takes time, but it is worth every second. Support your family by doing your part. Take action and recognize what you can to help your teammates succeed. This can be done through learning each others strengths and weaknesses. A good teammate is cognizant. Give team building a try, you will be surprised how much you will learn from your peers!

Even though it is only you standing on the end of the board, there is a sea of people on deck below wearing the same logo, rooting for you!

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7 years ago

Brittany Archer