“The strength of the team is
each individual member. The strength of each member is the
team.” -Phil Jackson
As much of an
individual sport swimming can seem to be to the outside eye, it is
perhaps one of the most team-reliant sports out there.
the earliest, most tedious, and most frequent workouts and take
pride in the fact that we embrace the challenge of simultaneous
responsibility to our teammates, our coaches, and ourselves to be
the best we can be with the intent to both push ourselves and the
swimmers in the lane next to us to make it to whatever goal has
There is no
such thing as “fake it ‘til you make it” in this
sport. At the end of the day, the clock does not lie. The points do
not lie. The podium does not lie. Those individuals and those teams
who did everything they possibly could to reach triumph will
The road to
this category of success starts now, and it starts with you. No
matter where you fall speed-wise or experience-wise within your
team, every single person can make a difference, and holds
contributing components in the progress towards his or her
team’s ultimate success.
Any journey to
triumph is filled with obstacles. But instead of thinking of the
everyday challenges of training as a burden to bear, consider what
they could lead to.
practice is going to come easy, and there will be struggles. Do not
shy away from the tough stuff. The most successful people are often
those willing to reach heights that others may not even consider
possibilities and even the most triumphant individuals in our sport
still thirst for more. If you don’t feel that your
self-motivation will be enough to get you through on a particular
day, now is the time to lean on your teammates.
In order for
this support system to be effective, every single member of your
respective team needs to be on the same page. Individual goals,
team aspirations, respect level, and daily attitude. You should
know your teammates just as well as you know yourself. If each and
every team member is on the same wavelength, the opportunities of
success become much more fathomable.
Not only do you
need to hold your teammates accountable, but you also need to hold
yourself accountable. Are you making the right choices both in and
out of the pool? Are you pushing yourself? Do you believe in
yourself to begin with? Are your teammates comfortable leaning on
you? Do you believe in your teammates? All of these things and
many, many more are elemental characteristics for the build up of a
strong team member.
that a team is only as strong as its weakest link should not scare
you; it should inspire and remind you to lift yourself and your
teammates up on a daily basis. Push your team, and push
importantly: trust. Trust your teammates, trust your coaches, trust
the training, and trust yourselves. Simply take it one day, one
practice, and one stroke at a time. Everyone gets what he or she
needs in order to succeed individually, so that they may contribute
to the overall success of the team.
One team, one
mindset, one goal. Are you willing to take on the challenge?