The importance of a positive team dynamic

Siri Christopherson, Sports Editor

If you’ve ever played a team sport or know someone who has, you likely know a thing or two about how much collaboration matters in the context of overall performance. Sure, that means team members need to show up to practice and participate together in order to get better. But collaboration on a team also refers to the general interaction of teammates off the field as well as in the game, and having a good team dynamic is actually one of the most important factors of all when it comes to finding success.
Imagine yourself turning out for a sport for the first time. You don’t really know anyone, and you’re still not even sure you really like the sport. While you’re waiting for the coach to show up, a couple of older athletes come over to you and introduce themselves. They seem excited for the season. During practice, they turn their focus towards working hard. Pretty soon it’s over, and people high five you as they leave, saying they’re excited to have you on the team.
Now picture the same situation, but now the other players are clumped into groups, talking amongst themselves. They complain about their problems during practice and talk crap about the one teammate who doesn’t really fit in.
The first situation sounds way better, right? You’d be far more likely to join a team that practically screams “POSITIVITY” over one that seems lifeless. A good first impression is key for new athletes looking to join a team. If they feel appreciated and respected, if they feel challenged and encouraged, if they enjoy the experience, they will want to come back again for another positive experience. Thus the future of a team is benefitted when its dynamic is right; having a welcoming atmosphere lures the incoming athletes that determine the continuation of the team’s success.
Moreover, having a supportive, enthusiastic team vibe is intrinsic to engendering the highest possible quality of performance from each athlete. On a team where athletes feel alienated or underappreciated, they won’t have much incentive to “do it for the team” and the negative attitude could make them not enjoy the sport as much. On the other hand, when the dynamic is great, athletes want to support each other and contribute to the team’s success, overall benefitting both the team and the athlete.
So, athletes, next time you find yourself bringing a negative attitude to practice, stop yourself and consider how you’re impacting the team spirit. Your mood probably has a greater influence on the group than you know, so be conscientious of your actions and how they affect others. A team is a priceless thing, and it’s well worth taking the time to perpetuate the positivity that sustains it.