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What Helps or Hurts a Winning Culture?

Updated: May 30, 2023

A strong team culture is crucial for achieving success in any sport, including swimming. In order to create a winning culture, it is important for elite swimmers to not only understand the traits of a good teammate, but also identify and avoid traits that can be detrimental to team success. Let's explore some of the most important traits of a good teammate.

  1. Trustworthiness Trust is the foundation of any successful team. When teammates trust each other, they are able to rely on one another both in and out of the water. Trust also allows for open communication, which is essential for addressing any conflicts or concerns that may arise.

  2. Empathy involves understanding and sharing the feelings of others. Good teammates are able to put themselves in their teammates' shoes and offer support when needed. This helps to create a supportive team environment and fosters a sense of camaraderie.

  3. Accountability Good teammates hold themselves and each other accountable for their actions. This means taking responsibility for mistakes and working together to find solutions. When everyone is accountable, it ensures that everyone is committed to the team's success.

  4. Motivation Elite swimmers must be highly motivated in order to achieve success. Good teammates help to motivate each other by offering encouragement and support. They celebrate each other's successes and provide motivation to keep pushing through the tough times.

  5. Communication Effective communication is essential for any successful team. Good teammates are able to communicate effectively both on and off the pool deck. They listen to each other's concerns and offer feedback in a constructive and respectful way.

Now, let's consider some traits that are not helpful for building a winning team culture:

  1. Selfishness Teammates who prioritize their own success over the team's success can be detrimental to the overall team culture. It is important for elite swimmers to remember that they are part of a team, and that success is achieved through collaboration and support.

  2. Negativity can quickly spread throughout a team, leading to a toxic environment. Good teammates strive to maintain a positive attitude and support their teammates through the ups and downs.

  3. Blaming When things go wrong, it can be easy to look for someone to blame. However, good teammates avoid the blame game and instead work together to find solutions and move forward.

  4. Lack of communication A lack of communication can lead to misunderstandings and conflicts. Good teammates prioritize open communication in order to build trust and maintain a supportive team environment.

Remember, the acronym T.E.A.M. stands for Together Everyone Achieves More. In order to achieve success in swimming, it is important for elite swimmers to embody the traits of a good teammate and avoid the traits that can be detrimental to team success. By working together, supporting each other, and communicating effectively, a winning team is not made at a championship meet. It is made every day in the grind of old practice pools with selfless swimmers moving through pain barriers together to be the best version of themselves for the greater good of the team.

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