Is There A Difference In Being Part Of A Team, Or Being An Individual Athlete?

May 11, 2023

Yes and No.

The reason I say yes and no is because the ethos I have as a mental performance coach, and has worked really well for athletes and coaches and teams over the years, is:

The best version of you, everybody benefits from.

If you're an individual athlete and you're thinking, ‘I’m not part of a team.’ You probably are. You just may not realise it at this stage, or you may not necessarily be there at this stage. You might be what I call a ‘tipping point’ athlete, you're just not in the team yet, or you're not in the representational part of your career yet, where understanding team dynamics is front of thought.

At some point, if you want to represent your country, you will be working within a team.

Even if you're representing your club, or your region as a team member, the fact that you're not doing it alone – you've got a coach, you've probably got peers you train with, an entourage around you of physios, S&Cs, chiropractors, mental performance specialists – YOU are part of a TEAM, even as an individual athlete. So being able to work in that dynamic is critical.

If you have the attitude that you don't need anybody else, the likelihood is you've just put a cap on your career. You are not going to progress to a point where you're going to see your full potential. I can say that with some authority because I've seen athletes who had that ‘I’m an individual’ attitude and then got to a point where they needed other people, and other people won't work with them because they don't know how to be part of a team dynamic.

So the best version of you, everybody benefits, both as a team and as an individual.

To answer the question, is being part of a team or being an individual different? Well, the reality is no, there is no real difference. There's some different layers to it, but the fundamental issues, the core and the process is exactly the same.

The reality is you do what you do in such a way that the best version of you as an individual, thrives. And in you thriving, you tap into, connect, and plug in to that best version of that team because the language, the process, the frameworks are conducive of that. It works.

And if we think about it that way, if we allow it to be the same, it's going to help you feel integrated and allow athletes to thrive.


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