If you've been swimming for any length of time, you've probably been a part of some good swim teams, and others that stand out above the rest. What makes some teams great and how can you foster that championship atmosphere, whether you're a swimmer, a parent, or a coach? Let's focus on four key components here.
Having a skilled coach, educated trainers, and competent sports staff isn't unique to the sport of swimming. You'll see these elements of strong leadership at the front of any great team. When you have talented leadership at the helm of your swim team, they are using their knowledge to develop the skills and athletic performance of each member, increasing the chance of success for the overall team.
Great coaches and leaders don't just focus on improving your time and refining your technique. They make sure their team has other life skills to help them deal with the challenges of being in a demanding sport such as swimming. A good coach will foster teamwork amongst the individual swimmers, will teach sportsmanship and how to deal with both wins and losses, and will encourage swimmers to develop a good work ethic throughout a long season. These types of skills help the great teams overcome the obstacles that are inevitable throughout the training season, and focus on winning together.
Great teams don't just become that way overnight. Each swimmer on the team works with the coach to develop goals to achieve on a weekly, monthly, and season-long schedule. Checking in periodically to measure progress is good for everyone on the team; you can trade tips with your teammates about what they are doing to improve their times and performance. Setting goals as a team also helps everyone stay accountable and motivated during those rigorous practice sessions.
Everyone has a favorite teamwork phrase, and we'll quote basketball legend Michael Jordan here: "Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships." While a lot is required of each individual in swimming, teamwork is what wins championships and makes an average swim team a great one. This team spirit is infectious and is important when your teammate a lane over has a bad day. An encouraging word, or a reminder about a technique trick, is sometimes all we need to give ourselves that extra push and have a stellar performance in the pool.
Swimming is a demanding sport, but being part of a great team is well worth the sacrifice. To stay on top, check out our blog with ideas on nutrition for swimmers, coaching tips, and ideas from some of the best swimmers in the world!