Welcome to this week’s edition of Mondays with Matt! This week, we are going to talk about the importance of a team. Now, you may ask, when do we get to talk about the actual fundamentals of sports and recreational activities? Soon, we shall start diving into some of these topics. However, today, I want to focus on a concept that makes all of those fundamentals come together into one cohesive function striving to obtain one cohesive goal – a team.
In sports, and in life, a team is the most powerful concept and entity that you will encounter. Yes, we all have our individual skills. If we are following the Keys to Success path that has been set forth so far throughout these writings – and serves the cornerstone of my athletic coaching philosophy – we are also self-aware, positive and hard-working. These ideals serve us well in putting us in the best position to be the best that we are capable of becoming (Never forget the words of Coach Wooden!). We are setting ourselves up for success and to be successful. To what end, however? Most things in life are not performed alone. Sure, some are. But most tasks that you will perform in life or on the field of play are done with others. It is not you alone seeking the glory or achieving a goal. It is a group of people – a team. Now, if you are performing the best that you are capable of becoming, then you are contributing to your team. But it takes everyone doing that to have the optimal chance to succeed. Every person on a team must have the same goal, the same achievement in mind. Everyone must strive to be the best that they are capable of becoming in order for the collective objective to be completed. That is the basic essence of a team. It is something that we see every day as well. It is not just a sports team seeking a championship. It is your organization or your school seeking to achieve its goals. It is the story of your company. It is the story of my company. Whether we are talking about an institution of education, a marketing company or an athletic sports team, you are seeking one heartbeat. The “One Heartbeat” concept is another cornerstone to succeeding both on and off of the field.
As you sit and read this column, let your mind go for a moment. Take a deep breath. Do that several more times. What do you start noticing as you relax? Your heartbeat. The steady, rhythmic beat of your heart. Boom. Boom. Boom. Steady as a beating drum, it helps supply life to your body. When your heart is not working well, you are not working well. Really listen to those beats of your heart. There are not multiple, spasmodic beats – each doing their own thing. It is not straining nor beating out of tune. If it is, you need to stop reading this column right now and get yourself to a doctor, for that is not how a heart works. Again, when your heart is not working well, you are not working well.
Now, come back into the present. Think about your work organization. Think about your sports team or your recreational crew. You all want to achieve the same overarching goal. How do you do that? By working together, right? See where this is going? Your body and your team are one and the same. They both need to have a functioning heart – a heart that is working in tune, in time with all of its other parts in order to achieve its goal. A team – a successful one – has one heartbeat. A collective group of people or parts that work together in order to achieve a goal. If there are too many different beats – the body, the team, falters.
If you read enough books or watch enough documentaries about successful teams and coaches, you will start to notice a trend. One of their main concepts has to do with a team finding one heartbeat and coming together as one. A team may be made up of numerous differing individuals, but the effort should be of one entity. Individually, we can be fractured, no matter our strengths. Together, we are a force to be reckoned with. We can accomplish and achieve great things. We can be unstoppable.
In sports and recreation, having the ability to function as a member of a team is one of the greatest strengths that a player can have. You do this by following the keys to success and working hard. By being self-aware, knowing your strengths and weaknesses and how to best utilize them, that is what is meant by being a team player. You help your team by being a part of the heartbeat. You help the team by doing what you are best capable of doing to add value to your family – your team. The same holds true for life. You are always part of a team in life – your family, your co-workers and company, your friends. If you can understand what it truly means to be a member of a team and to help others, you will have led a successful life.
So, the next time you watch a movie, read a book or hear a coach teaching the importance of teamwork, remember this – they are teaching you one of the most important lessons that you will ever learn. Knowing how to physically perform an athletic task or knowing how to perform a duty means nothing if it does not aid in the completion of something. Knowing how to add value to your team does. Being part of that one heartbeat of your family, your friends, your company or your team is one of the most impressive accomplishments that you will achieve. One heartbeat. Today, after reading this column, I want us to be one heartbeat. A team – a team striving to be the best that we are capable of becoming so that we can help ourselves and others achieve our goals through these writings.