How To Be a Good Teammate

Gabriel Wheeler


As the BIG meets approach during our short course season we want our swimmers to have the best opportunities to succeed. One opportunity comes from being a better teammate. I used to always get into arguments with the football and baseball players in high school because they would tell me swimming is not a team sport. While it is true 90% of out sport consists of staring at a black line for hours always singing in our head the last song we heard on the radio, there’s still that 10%. The team sport aspect. So in swimming how does one become a good teammate and how does it foster success?


Have the best mindset:  Culture beats strategy any day. A team with a great attitude doing 25’s is far more dangerous than a team that isn’t inspired to do 100’s. As coaches we’re not here to punish you. We’re here to enable you and encourage you. Everything we ever do at practice is an opportunity and should be seen as such. Always keeping a “might as well” mentality will make even the longest of butterfly’s seem like a joke. “10 x 200’s butterfly?!… Might as well do them!”


Be the leader that inspires leaders: Talk to the younger teammates at meets and practices. Encourage them, give them tips, and watch them shine.


Accountability: You should feel empowered to remind your teammates if you see something wrong. This encourages growth. For example a gentle reminder that you’re supposed to do kick instead of swim helps everyone succeed. Good teammates take the time to talk to each other during practice (when the coach isn’t talking of course). They can help repeat what a coach said, explain a hard drill, and point out things a coach doesn’t see. Trust me a coach doesn’t like repeating warm-up 10 times so you’ll be a hero if you’re the one who listens and repeats it. 


Learn the Intervals: There’s no one more popular than the teammate than the knows the intervals. If you can push yourself to understand intervals you’ll be the person everyone can rely on to lead the set. If you find yourself always at the back of the pack ask a coach to move down a lane, and lead a set for yourself one day.


Don’t be afraid to fail: Embarrassment is the cost of entry. “If you aren’t willing to look like a foolish beginner you’ll never become a graceful master.” Try harder intervals, and get out of your comfort zone. Your teammates WILL notice you stepping up, and be inspired to do the same.