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It is human nature to gravitate toward activities and groups that help us feel special and successful. Truly special TEAMS provide that. Great teams have fun and provide friendships, a sense of togetherness and positive lasting memories. Great teams also usually seek excellence. A commitment to excellence helps teams form special bonds. Their shared sense of purpose creates trust and mutual respect. Great TEAMS not only practice, train and compete well physically, but they verbalize expectations, applaud success and they praise solid efforts and deeds that contribute to THE TEAM.
The purpose of this article is to suggest that you have the power and should seize opportunities to practice being the very best, most united and mutually supportive TEAM you can possibly be. Do not wait for “the big game”, the championship meet or the end of season tournament to do your best or to “BE A TEAM”. Seize moments every day to support, encourage, challenge and praise your TEAM MATES. You will feel good and YOUR TEAM will gain strength from this. The result will be a collection of people who care about each other, who invest in each other, who gain strength and confidence and who, on balance, have fun training, competing and BEING A TEAM.
Words and gestures that convey respect and admiration have a positive impact on people. Respect and admiration must be earned, but words and gestures that convey respect and admiration do not have to be reserved for amazing or “heroic” acts. In baseball terms, it is usually lots of singles rather than home runs that make teams special. In life as in sports, lots of singles (modest successes) add up to give us strength and confidence. A great training set, an excellent skills session, perfect attendance, or leading a cheer may be routine on great TEAMS. We should expect these things to happen. They should not however be minimized or under appreciated. All of those positive efforts and good deeds deserve recognition. Just think if you are a team in which every day people have great sets in practice, work hard to refine skills and lead cheers? Before long you would be doing really well and looking forward to the fun and excitement of the next practice session, game or meet. Recognizing and reinforcing even modest successes and good deeds and gestures builds intra-team unity, confidence, respect and appreciation. Quality performances or good deeds may carry their own reward. Never assume however that friends and teammates know that their successes or good efforts are recognized and appreciated. Take time to say thank you or good job. Words of praise, respect and support can be brief and said quietly. Public recognition can be fun, but personal, perhaps private words of praise among friends and teammates are powerful and meaningful. We tend to value the support and opinions of those we respect and are close to. Never underestimate your ability to be a good teammate. Modest gestures of praise or appreciation that few may notice can have a powerful and positive impact on people. Your words of respect and admiration will boost your teammate’s self image and their sense of “the possible”. As you give praise and respect to others, they will give it to you also. This does not mean giving compliments or conveying respect arbitrarily. For words of respect, praise or admiration to have meaning they must be honest and sincere. A simple yet effective process to raise confidence, mutual appreciation and team unity is to form a Mutual Admiration Society. Honest, sincere words of respect and praise are catalysts that bond and build trust. As individuals learn to trust and believe in the team, they become active contributors to the team’s fun and success. Nurture group chemistry and camaraderie. Support, challenge, and encourage each other to believe and to excel.
“There is nothing so rewarding as to make people realize they are worthwhile in this world.” (Bob Anderson – English Poet)
“The power of words, of great thoughts to quicken and motivate one’s life is immeasurable.” (Roberto Assagioli)