How to Be a Better Teammate

Todd Proa Swimming Team

The Oakland Grizzlies, one of the most famous college swim teams out there.

This is the season for championship swim meets, meaning that various swimming teams are now working to finish on top.  Of course, one of the easiest ways to do this is to compete as a cohesive team, with everybody participating as the best teammate that they could be.  I recently came across an article that shared some of the ways that you can be a great teammate, doing your part to help skyrocket your team to victory.

1. Trust: In many ways, a team transcends beyond just a group of people who swim together.  Instead, they’re like a brotherhood.  Your entire team has been through the exact same workouts and training, so put trust in your teammates and they’ll put their trust in you too.

2. Do the work: Pulling your weight in the team is essential; you need to put in just as much effort as your teammates to earn their trust and respect.  The best moments of team bonding come from test-set practices and tiresome training camps.

3. Listen to the coach: Even when you disagree with what the coach says, being a good teammate means showing respect for everybody on the team, including the coach.  Even if you don’t want to do something that the coach asks of you, it’s usually for the benefit of the team.

4. Be engaged: Ask your teammates how they’re doing, listen to what they have to say and interact with them.  If you and your team genuinely care about each other, the overall experience will be better for everybody.

5. Know each others’ strengths and weaknesses: To maximize your swimming experience, you need to utilize each other as effectively as possible.  There are limited coaches on deck during training, but there’s also a whole swim team right next to you who know a lot about swimming.  If one teammate has a good open turn, ask them to look at yours and figure out together what you can do to improve yourself.

6. Stay positive: As Monty Python once so famously said, always look on the bright side of life.  You don’t have to be unflappable happiness and optimism, but being negative will do nothing but bring your teammates down with you.  Having a good attitude is much easier when you pretend to have a good attitude in front of your teammates.

7. Don’t blame yourself: If your team ends up losing a big meet or championship and you didn’t perform your best, then don’t blame yourself.  As a matter of fact, it’s a bit self-centered and greedy to think that you single-handedly lost a competition for your entire team.  There’s no “I” in “team”, and every team both wins and loses together.

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