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Individual And Teams Sports Define Success

Gabrielle Daley, Editor-in-Chief

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During a game of baseball, soccer or field hockey, teammates pass the ball to one another for one common goal to score. However, at a track or swim meet, the athletes are focused on improving their past times. There are two types of sports: individual sports and team sports. While many, like the aspect of working together and relying on themselves and their own teammates, others like only having to put pressure on themselves to win. Would you rather work together or be a lone wolf?

Team sports receive a lot more attention, fans, and advertisements. When is the last time you turned on the television to watch a swim meet? This fact doesn’t give team athletes anymore respect than those that train just as much to get better and better. Individual sports include wrestling, tennis, golf, swimming, diving, gymnastics, skiing, cross country, track and field, bowling, boxing, archery, cycling and so on. These sports are almost the antithesis of your average team sport. In an individual sport, an athlete is their own competition. Every opportunity is used to beat their personal best. In order to do this, an athlete has to have patience, self reliance, discipline and focus. “I think an individual sport makes you a stronger person because the less you train the worse the outcome with be vs. the more you train the better the outcome,” said Coach Griffin, the girls’ track and field coach.

Team sports have benched players, substitutions, as well as many other teammates that can ultimately get the job done if you’re having a bad day. At the end of the day, an individual athlete is the one that either makes the cut or doesn’t. “Tennis is a mental sport because if a player makes one bad shot they’ll get in their own head and start messing everything up,” said junior tennis player Brianne Crowley. In tennis, the coaches have to remain silent during a match and the player has to know what to do on their own. Like tennis, during a race, a swimmer can’t hear anyone cheer or any advice from their coaches because they’re underwater. It’s just the feeling of numb muscles pushing the body through the water and the sound of their own voice in their heads. “With swimming you almost always have someone in the pool with you who is on your team and you are alone with your thoughts,” said wrestling Coach Steve Svec who swam for some time in high school.

The individual athlete has no one else to blame but themselves if they fail. Although, many find this factor a hard pill to swallow, and are scared of that self-reliance, other students enjoy only having to focus on themselves. “I like individual sports because I have more control and I don’t feel like so much depends on me. It’s more like I’m trying my hardest and that’s enough. In track and cross country I know I want a certain time and I’ll make sure I’m out of breath the full twenty minutes, and I need to know I’m working to my full potential for the full twenty minutes, not even letting myself drop for a few seconds,” said junior cross country and track runner Julia Gavel.

Research has shown that people find team sports more enjoyable. “Team sports require chemistry and organization. During a game, my mindset is to keep focused and stay positive so we can all do well,” said Anthony Penna, a senior soccer and volleyball player. Some prefer to not have the pressure on them alone and like the idea that little mistakes can be fixed throughout a game. “For team sports you always have to consider other people, and you have to realize that what you want might not be the best for the team. Maybe your position is substituted, and you won’t get as much playing time. I think team sports require sacrifices in that sense,” Gavel continued.

“If you lose a football game, there is an infinite number of factors that are out of your control such as your teammate’s performance, the plays your coach chooses, ect,” Calvin Curtis, football player and wrestler said. This pointing fingers can cause many teammates to feel guilty and helpless after a game. Therefore, coaches and athletes must work on sportsmanship. Sportsmanship is also very prominent in individual sports. All teams will shake hands after small league meets. In swimming, after a race, the swimmers in equivalent lanes shake hands and congratulate each other. At the end of a race, runners cheer on runners from other teams when their own team is not in sight or has all finished.

Training for each sport is completely different but all team sports are similar in goals. “The success of the team is based on individual growth in certain positions and certain skills and how that growth can impact the group. There’s two trainings we have to do: We have to train the individual to develop the skills to be able to perform them, and we have to train the group to perform together,” said volleyball Coach Barnacle.

“I think being a member of a team means you need to put your teammates first because you are working towards a common goal,” Barnacle continued. Sometimes the team aspect hides the talents and success of others. At the end of professional games we know who was the strongest players and who didn’t do as much. It all depends on how the people can interact and build their skills. “If you don’t work together, it doesn’t matter how good one person is because you need everyone,” said junior Marina Callahan who plays lacrosse and field hockey.

With team sports, they have to work on chemistry, but with individual sports they have to work on mentality. “As a coach, I feel it is the most important for me to support the players’ emotional concerns, because once they are able to get past themselves mentally, enormous physical strides follow,” tennis Coach Richards continued. Wrestler Calvin Curtis said, “When going out on the mat, I know that whatever happens is a result of my own actions and training. The work that I put in the off time is the only thing that affects the match. You can’t blame your teammates or your coaches. It’s just you and your opponent. Your teammates are not on the mat with you. Therefore your training has to be selfish.” Many individual athletes will be given separate workouts based on ability level, it’s all about working to the fullest.

During a game, a team has to have many strategies, where to pass the ball, how to maneuver around people. For example, FC Barcelona’s “tiki taka” strategy is when the players constantly pass to confuse their opponents and then make a shot. In practice, teams have to learn how to go about using their strategies together and fix loose ends to be strong. Individual athletes, especially wrestlers, have to perfect strategies that will make them more likely to win. “You need to know what to do in every situation possible so wrestlers often compare the sport to a chess match,” junior wrestler Kaleb Hogan. In track, runners have to learn from and when and where to go faster. In swimming, distance swimmers have to know when to pick it up and how to pace themselves. Even the smallest movement, like taking a breath right after a flip turn, could add a few seconds and slow them down.

Success for both team and individual sports is defined by the athletes. Maybe it’s winning or maybe it’s trying their best. “Experiencing the success when a team works together can be an incredible feeling, and is hard to match. However, some of my favorite memories in sports were from my singles matches. It was empowering to rely solely on myself for success because when I won, I knew I earned it completely on my own,” Tennis Coach Richards added. No matter how much attention one sport gets over another, all are respectable, and all sports have unique qualities. Athletes represent qualities such as discipline, teamwork and growth that you can contribute to your day to day life.

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Individual And Teams Sports Define Success