Evolution Team Culture

Champions focus, not on winning championships and outcomes, BUT on the mental process of building a strong foundation/culture that will ultimately create peak performance on a consistent basis, thus placing them in position to be the best they can be and, as a byproduct, win themselves a conference, league or national championship, college scholarships. That said, as a coaches and parents, OUR MISSION for athletes should always be each athlete “Evolving” into the best possible version of themselves! Let’s call this "the X-Factor", the process which is achieved by diligent, eager attention to all "the little things" plus the 10 Fundamental Foundational Building Blocks that can be controlled.

Evolution Process

Know that this journey, this "PROCESS", is filled with obstacles. ATHLETES WILL LOSE AND THEY WILL FAIL.  That is expected, even necessary to the process. Yet the process can teach athletes how to go to the next level. The obstacles become challenges that are courageously embrace as opportunities to be tested, to learn and ultimately forge ahead. Plateaus will appear, and rather than get impatient or frustrated, use these times to adapt to that level, master it and go on to discover levels beyond what were thought to be limits. To force, or try to make oneself push past the plateau will prove to be futile, counterproductive and discouraging. Plateaus are simply one more natural stop on the journey, time to refuel the emotional, spiritual, mental tanks, enjoy the moment, accrue the confidence from mastering that level and then advance not when you think you should, but when the time is right. Trust that sometimes one must go slower, to arrive sooner.

A big element in the process is refusing to offer excuses when experiencing slumps, choking, and mental blocks, or a have a mental meltdown, in performance. Expect fluctuations and listen to their song. In a safe environment (team, family, and inner self) athletes will continue the road to peak performance and mental toughness. Remember that excuses ARE regressions, failures, mistakes. They allow the mind to "check out", not care and justify failure and write it off as useless when, indeed, it is our guru, teacher, mentor. . . how we learn all that we know. Embrace and accept failure -- this builds mental toughness, and ultimately leads to success.

The 10 Building Blocks of a Strong Culture

  1. COMMITMENT (to a higher cause and purpose other than self)
  2. RESPONSIBILITY (know and accept your role)
  3. ACCOUNTABILITY (give and take critique)
  4. INTEGRITY (gap between what you say and what you do)
  5. RESPECT (sport, opponent, self, coach, team, officials, parents)
  6. TRUST (self, others, coach)
  7. LEADERSHIP (everyone's work)
  8. COURAGE/COMPASSION  twins (give)
  9. SERVICE (sacrifice/suffering)
  10. HUMILITY (others get credit, gratitude and thankfulness)

Individually, athletes on such teams must be accountable by demonstrating certain virtues/values/traits, and sport itself presents constant opportunities to develop this inner, spiritual development for sport, and more so, LIFE. Some of these virtues/values/traits are: fearlessness, audaciousness, relentlessness, tenaciousness, patience, perseverance, persistence, flexibility, fortitude and belief in self and others. Such virtues are more vital than talent when trying to experience success.

What is CULTURE?

The success of the individual depends on the success of TEAM. The strength of the wolf is in the pack. All sports, individual or group, demand teams with culture (golf, tennis, wrestling, x-c, track, swimming).

  1. Culture is about socially transmitted behavior patterns, beliefs, thoughts. These are the traits of the "Culture of Champions."
  2. A set of predominant attitudes/behaviors that characterize the TEAM.
  3. Developed through education/mentoring/example.
  4. An atmosphere and environment that is welcoming, nurturing, that we create using the 10 Building Blocks and certain virtues.
  5. Culture works together to arrive at a common understanding that benefits ALL rather than one.
  6. It's a bond. . . it is not essential to be "best friends" (although this is often the outcome) yet crucial to accept, respect others' contributions, interests, strengths, weaknesses.
  7. Shared experiences. . . resembles a family.
  8. Leadership in a culture that is healthy becomes everyone's job. Leading is when you reflect the culture you create.
  9. Ritual. . . all healthy cultures create ritual, be it pre-game, practice, meditation/visualization, post-game.
  10. A CHAMPIONSHIP IS MERELY A BY PRODUCT, not the goal. The goals are smart work, dedication, ritual, the 10 Building Blocks, the virtues. A championship is only ONE of several BY PRODUCTS that our goals were achieved (goals being the process of Being a Champion before a game is played). THERE IS NO NEED FOR A TIME TABLE when a CULTURE adopts this "Process of Champions". Such time tables create slumps, blocks, choking, mental lapses, tension, stress, pressure, tightness, tentativeness and this runs counter to our mission (back to "the X-Factor" -- the exceptional execution of extraordinary excellence) . . . of experiencing peak performance and being the best we can be with what we control and all "the little things".
  11. Do not say, "I will try. . . " -- simply do! If you fail, learn from it and improve. The word "try" implies that you may or may not succeed. It's all success regardless of outcome if you realize that by doing over and over, you get better and better. Don't try. . . DO!!!
  12. To get started -- discuss the meaning of each of the 10 Blocks as it relates to your team, and how to specifically demonstrate each collectively and individually.
  13. Define your culture. Ask: Who are we? Where are we going? Then ask your athletes how to act on these answers.
The Three R's of Team


Three R’s of Team

As a part of what may be known to outsiders as more of an individual sport (swimming, and something to argue btw), Evolution Aquatics will always be  focused on trying to develop the best TEAM environment possible. It all started for most of us, based on our personal experience.  We had incredible bonds with our TEAMmates at the club, high school, and then college that showed us what an entire TEAM really could be. So when we set out to create Evolution Aquatics, TEAM is what we could offer all, and be able to put all of our athletes in the best position possible to reach their potential at the same time. It’s really a win-win, but takes daily focus and full commitment.

It is also important to define a bit more clearly what TEAM is and what it teaches along the way, if we want people to be able to have that feeling of belonging to something bigger than themselves. While it would be easy to go on about TEAM, it’s advantages, requirements, and so much more, We want to share what we at Evolution believe to be 3 core principles to the TEAM.

RESPECT: This is all about the character of the athletes, coaches, and parents and all involved. In a TEAM environment, respect is required from EVERY member toward every person they come in contact with when they are a part of that TEAM. That respect should be displayed through all communications, and interactions, especially when conflict arises of any kind.

RESPONSIBILTY: This is the nuts and bolts of the sport. The demands of the sport, whether it be training, technique, or any other part of the process that becomes a requirement of doing YOUR part for the TEAM. Being a part of something bigger than yourself is an incredible feeling, but it also requires taking personal responsibility to give your best possible effort at all times.

RESILIENCE: The crown jewel of TEAM. Competition and chasing one’s potential are going to lead to hard times and failures. That is just the way of life, if you are chasing something big and important! You will undoubtedly be challenged before you see any rewards, but without resilience, you will not reach that reward. In a TEAM environment it becomes that much more important because it takes everyone to keep the culture, but only a few to kill it! Resilience is the piece that will allow TEAM(s) to continue to grow, succeed, and overcome obstacles, both TEAM wide and individual, and be stronger because of them.

Whether you are the one trying to build the TEAM culture or one that is committing to be a member of the TEAM, we encourage you all to focus on these three guiding principles, especially when challenged in any way. The consistency of your approach will lead to consistency of the TEAM environment. These are the three anchors that will allow everyone to stay focused on the TEAM environment instead of the challenge(s) that lay in front of them. GO EVOLUTION!