It Isn’t About “I”

It Isn’t About “I”


One of the many things that fascinates me about sports is that, much like life events, there are so many perspectives, each unique, each accurate in its own right, and each invested in their own view. There’s the athlete’s perspective on themselves, parents’ perspective on the athlete and coach, coach’s perspective on each athlete and the team… the list goes on. And it’s interesting to me because each perspective holds value and unique insights but, as with any close-up picture, if you stand too close, you’ll see certain details but miss the big picture.


As a coach, our bigger picture is multi-faceted, taking in the goals and trajectory of the gym and program as a whole, as well as how each team—and within that, each family and athlete—performs, contributes and grows. Part of that is rooted in wanting to validate that we’re doing “right” by our gym families and in solidifying our own reputation as “the best.” But our hearts are in it, too—just as yours, our athletes’ and families’, are.


So much of our sport is about heart. The heart to get back up after a fall, the heart to try again after a loss, and the heart to want to do it again—bigger and better than the last time. But sometimes, when we’re so close to our own desires and drives, we lose sight of that bigger picture.


Our sport is one where we work on developing athletes as individuals—so it’s easy to forget that we are in a team sport. But the strongest athletes—the ones who bolster their team, grow themselves and their program, and who truly love their sport—are the ones who consistently put the team first.

They are the ones who, even on the days they’re tired or just “don’t feel like it, go to practice and give it their best. They push to improve not just because they have their own personal goals to achieve, but because they know they are part of team and owe their teammates their best. When they aren’t chosen for an event, it stings, but they are able to set that hurt aside to look at the impact their own reactions and the decision have on their team.


This is not an easy concept—for any of us, let alone developing minds and hearts. But it is an important one. If an individual athlete succeeds for themselves, but at the detriment of other team members and the larger team as a whole, everyone loses. Only by remembering that you are one member of a team and that the team comes first will anyone win.


That stands true for all of us: athletes as they perform and practice, parents vying for their child’s spot on a team or at a competition, coaches who decide placements and lineups. We must all keep top of mind the team to win. You know what they say, after all: “There is no ‘I’ in team.”

Have an Ultimate Day!

Karl P.

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