How teamwork can improve your physical performance

Crossfit, Psycology

Phil Jackson, currently the president of NBA’s New York Knicks, is best known for his work as the former Chicago Bulls’ head coach (1989-1998). He was the mastermind behind the team effort of Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman and others, talented individuals who reached their full potential – regarding the physical performance – through teamwork and won six NBA championships.

Jackson later repeated the success with Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant and Los Angeles Lakers, winning five titles. His best skill was uniting the gifted players and forming them into a winning, unbeatable team.

 “The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team,” ~ Phil Jackson.

teamwork can improve your physical performance Velites Sport

Same applies to crossfit; the strength of the affiliate is each individual member while the true power of each athlete comes from the community and teamwork nurtured in the box.

The quickest way to realize how teamwork can improve your physical performance is doing the same MetCon workout twice: alone and later again together with your teammates.

What circumstances motivated you to perform harder?

Although fitness is an individual sport, the improvement of our performance can be accelerated through commons goals and teamwork. When we work together as a team, as one unit, we are able to accomplish far more as an individual alone.

You might be known as the lone wolf, but considering the facts in the following article, you might want to think about joining a group in order to improve your physical performance.

What is teamwork?

Teamwork is a collaborative action within a group of people who share a common goal. It could also be expressed with words such as unity, partnership, alliance and synergy.

The process of working together as a team is effective when members feel connected to each other. The opposite of team harmony is disconnection; team members are not able to find the synergy and the result is poor performance as a team as well as an individual.

Teamwork requires communication and interaction between the people involved. In business and sport, professionals often use proven techniques to improve the harmony between the co-workers or the athletes. Team building is one of them and presents a set of collaborative activities to enhance social relations among members.

Teamwork offers numerous benefits.

Mutual support must be one of the most efficient ones when it comes to improving your physical performance – in and out of the gym.

Now mentally prepping to play with the ? and run a little with my @teamnordicopex ?? #TeamMurph #CrossfitGames #TheWorm #Crossfit

Una foto publicada por Bjork Odinsdottir?? (@bjorkodins) el

5 ways teamwork can improve your physical performance 

If the goal of team building is focused on improving the work in a group based environment, the collaborative spirit also affects your performance as an individual. Being human means taking part in interpersonal relationships – your gym friendships included – simply because our brains are wired for social relations.

Key #1- Teamwork for better health

Health is the basis of efficient and successful physical performance.

Although fitness is about making your body fitter and healthier, the biggest benefits of our sport come from the community. Community and teamwork fill the basic human need – socialising.

Research has proven social connections (networking and nurturing empathic relationships) improve physical health and  mental and emotional well-being. Studies have even suggested good relations can lead up to a 50% increase of longevity and strengthens your immune system.

On the other hand, the lack of social connection might be a greater detriment to health than obesity, smoking and high blood pressure.

Key #2- Teamwork makes you feel confident 

Especially in sport where comparison and competitiveness are quick to derail your focus, having confidence in your ability is crucial for successful performance.

Athletes who feel connected to their teammates are supposed to have a higher self-esteem and a greater empathy for others. They are able to cope better with disappointments, mood swings and failure.

Knowing you have a team behind your back contributes to greater confidence on and off the field. The sense of mutual support speeds up recovery when injured and improves problem solving skills of each member.

Key #3- Harmonized teamwork creates a healthy competition environment 

Popular gyms offer safe but inspiring environment to train where coaches are able to spike a little bit of healthy competitiveness among their members. Coherent teamwork supports healthy competition where athletes make each other push harder but also understands the negative effects of egoistic behaviour.

Healthy competition means going hard in the workout while still respecting the effort of your teammates and the ability of your body. It could be explained as the energy among members which makes you perform better without the unnecessary risk of getting injured.   

Key #4- While sport reveals the character, teamwork can change it 

In sport egos are quick to stop your progress or even end your career.

Hard workouts often reveal the athlete’s character: how well is a person able to cope with pressure, unknown situations and exhaustion. In order to be successful the athletes’ attitude needs to be adjusted in a way that it allows them to learn, work and progress. The unwritten laws of the teamwork are the best way to learn the humble behaviour needed for improving your physical performance.

To join a team and work as a coherent unit your character needs to follow the rules established among the members. You have to learn how to think with your own head but still listen and understand the ideas of other people.

To this day, Chicago Bulls team is still the best example of how individual players with hot-temper personalities shut down their egos through harmonized teamwork in order to become better at what they were doing.

Key #5- Coach – athlete relationship is teamwork 

In ancient Greece, synergy meant “working together”. It represented a process where the sum is greater than the parts. Synergy is two people – with different but complementary skills – cooperating. Coach-athlete relationship is an example of just that.

One of the reasons the reigning champion Katrin Tanja Davidsdottir has won the “Fittest on Earth” title two years in a row is the harmonized relationship she has with her coach Ben Bergeron.

The synergy between them is visible throughout the whole year: from the off season training sessions to the most important week in the life of an elite athlete: The CrossFit Games.

Teamwork between an athlete and a coach is crucial and can make or break your physical as well as mental performance. Good relationship is synergetic, build on trust and respectful in both ways. The athlete follows what the coach programs, understands the critics and accepts the feedback. On the other hand, the coach respects the athlete, listens and follows their behaviour, performance and well-being.

A successful performance in the gym and on the competition floor often depends on the synergy of the athlete-coach relationship. It’s easy to work together when things go well and you’re on top of your game. It’s much harder when the athlete has a crisis and their mental focus is broken.

Remember Katrin and Ben built their success from a 2014 Regional performance where Davidsdottir was not able to complete the legless rope climbs and failed to qualify for the Games. In that moment teamwork was understanding the situation and making the best out of it: becoming the Fittest on Earth twice in a row.

What do you think about this article? Do you think Teamwork can improve your physical performance?

Please, give your comments and experiences about this issue. Thanks 😉

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Polona Fonda

Written by Polona Fonda Polona has been working in sports media for almost a decade. She is a former editor of the biggest European online magazine on functional fitness with expertise in graphic and interactive communication. Business aside, Polona is also a former competitive alpine skier with a passion for weightlifting, crossfit and outdoor sports.


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