When you are a young female athlete and have moved away from home for the first time, one of the most important steps to achieving important goals in your new environment is to form and build lasting friendships and relationships.
Initially the most important people you will need to bond with are your new team members. This is enhanced by your coach’s skills but what can you do as an individual to contribute to your new group or team’s success in bonding together? Much can be learned by looking at team dynamics which often parallel the same ingredients of individual relationship building.[adToAppearHere]
The educational site ausport.gov.au lays a nice foundation. “A common problem for many coaches is how to get a group of athletes, often of varying fitness or skill levels, to perform as a team. Many great coaches have emphasized that having a group of extremely talented athletes does not guarantee a successful team, but rather that success is more often the result of a group of athletes of lesser talent who chose to work together to achieve a shared team outcome.
The factors that draw athletes to a team and help them remain united in order to achieve a common goal, is referred to as team cohesion. In order to develop team cohesiveness, coaches need to identify what are the contributing factors for their specific team.”[adToAppearHere]
The dynamic site psychologycampus.com expands on the theme. “Team members and team dynamics have to depend on and support each other to accomplish a shared goal.”
Ways to create an Effective Team climate:
* Foster social support – mutual respect and support enhance team climates
* Encourage Proximity – closer contacts promote team interaction
* Create distinctiveness – the more distinct the group feels, the better the climate will be
* Practice fairness
* Foster similarity – the greater the similarity felt by the group, the closer the climate will feel
Let’s add one more piece of team dynamic reinforcement. The website livestrong.com shares “According to BestFitType.com, each member of the team should be aware of her individual talents and weaknesses. This identification will allow the team member to contribute to her maximum potential. When team members learn about their teammates, individuals can tap into other team members’ strengths and talents, thus creating a stronger team.”
So let’s say that your coach has laid the foundations as described above. How do you now support the pillars and framework of that structure? Much of that will depend upon how you relate to your fellow team members in your individual relationships.
The well respected site eharmony.com now begins to show us the parallels in bonding with your team members as individuals and as a group. The principles seem to be universal.
Successful relationships are healthy relationships built on three principles:
Successful, Long-Lasting Relationships are Safe
On Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, basic safety, i.e. shelter, food, and clothing is one of the foundational needs. We can’t reach our highest human potential unless we have our basic safety needs met. Safety, however, has other meanings relevant to relationships. We need to feel safe – physically and emotionally – with others before we open up, share, work together, and trust each other. We need to know we won’t get knocked around physically or emotionally through verbal or non-verbal abuse.
When we feel threatened in any way, we have an arsenal of behaviors that help us feel safe. We lash out with resentment, defend ourselves, shift the blame, make excuses, keep score, ‘go away’ physically or emotionally, or become tough and independent.
None of these serve the relationship well. Successful, long-lasting relationships foster an environment where both partners feel safe. How physically and emotionally safe do you feel in your friendship? How safe do you make it for your friend?
Successful, Long-Lasting Relationships are Respectful
In healthy relationships; there is a foundation of respect between the partners. It shows up in every interaction and every conversation. It’s palpable and enduring. Respect is the glue that keeps the partnership alive and well. Respect is when we esteem and honor the other person’s very being – their inner qualities and rights as a human being. Respect reveals itself in the way we view their likes and dislikes, opinions, ideas, and feelings.
Defining respect is a little like trying to nail jello to a tree; it’s slippery and hard to get your hands around it. When it’s present, we know it. When it’s not, we know that, too.
In successful, long-lasting friendships it shows up in the way our friend honors and accepts who we are, in their consideration of our needs and wants, and in the ways they listen and take us seriously.
Respect within a friendship starts with each person’s own self-respect. We cannot expect others to respect us if we don’t respect ourselves; we cannot respect others if we don’t feel a hefty dose of self-respect. All things start from within and spread outward.
Successful, long-lasting relationships foster an environment where respect is the norm.
Successful, Long-Lasting Relationships are Resolved
Just like tying a cement block to a swimmer will cause them to sink and drown, unresolved conflicts and issues are a sure bet to drag down any friendship.
Too often, out of fear of opening Pandora’s box and making things worse or getting someone mad and losing their love, or worry that the other person can’t handle what we have to say, we avoid conflict. We smooth things over, denying to ourselves or them we’re really ticked off, or we stuff our resentment and anger, or we hold off bringing our concern up until there is a “better time.”
The challenge is that we can’t just turn off the ‘bad’ feelings without turning off the good ones, too. So, any warm, loving feelings we feel towards the other person are subdued along with the ones we feel uncomfortable expressing, the anger, frustration, disappointment, etc.
In healthy relationships, friends are committed to speaking the truth about their concerns and issues in a safe, respectful manner. Despite their knees knocking and the butterflies in their stomach, they work their way through fear to resolve conflicts directly with the other person. There is a belief the other person is strong enough to handle and work through difficult situations. Unfinished business is cleaned up so that their friendship can flourish.
Successful, long-lasting relationships foster an environment where conflicts and issues are surfaced and resolved safely and respectfully. How are conflicts and issues handled in your relationship? Is there a commitment to safely and respectfully resolve conflicts and issues in a timely manner?
This certainly is just a starting place but if you can at least begin to break down the basic components of what forms lasting relationships and more importantly apply then, you are off to a very good start in being successful in your new team environment.
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Sources: brainyquote.com, Wikipedia, ausport.gov.au, psychologycampus.com, eharmony.com fciwomenswrestling.com, fciwomenswrestling2.com, FCI Elite Competitor, femcompetitor.com, photos thank you Wikimedia Commons.