You won’t improve alone. You need people to help you, and you need them to improve too. 

The last few posts I have talked a lot about personal development. I want to take that a step farther and talk about team development, and why I think we all need a team with us, and behind us.

You can do a lot of work on your own. If you are really smart, you can do quite a large portion of work by yourself. In the gym, outside, even footwork. It is hard to go beyond just putting in work if you don’t have people behind you.

Having people behind you can look vastly different depending on your level, and your access to professional advice. As a junior athlete, and my first few years out of juniors I did not have a consistent coach that I worked with. From a very young age I made it a habit of connecting with coaches and athletes wherever I went. The majority of my years as a junior athlete I created all my own training plans and led my own practices. This meant that I relied heavily on the advice of other coaches and athletes.  I would ask a load of questions every tournament. Talk to athletes, ask how they trained, and what they thought my biggest weaknesses were. I asked coaches how to improve and what I should fix before the next tournament. I created a network of people who helped me.

As I have improved and moved into international competition I found that I need a lot more input and the improvements were much smaller and more precise. Both on and off court. I am very thankful I found professionals to help guide my improvement. That is a story for another blog post. I began working with Gao badminton for my on court and Jeff at Sweaty Training for my off court training. Now I have people behind me, supporting me. But that is only half the story. The title includes the word “Team” and that is the critical next step.

You need good teammates to help you train – and you need them to be improving with you.

On court especially you need to have good people to train with, and compete with. You need people who will push you, feed you quality drills, and keep you accountable for always doing your best.

Having good teammates means being a good teammate, and fostering the kind of culture you want to train in. You want someone to feed you good drills, stay focused, and keep the quality high? Then make sure you aren’t slacking when it is your turn to feed. Do you want constructive criticism, and positive engagement? Make sure you are being constructive and positive.

Being the teammate you want to have around has other positive side effects. If you are focused during your time feeding drills you will find yourself improving more. You will also have teammates who are improving and helping push you more and more.

Improvement is multifaceted. There are a lot of things you do on your own, but there are also things you need other people for. It is important for me to be the kind of teammate I want around. It helps everyone, which in turn helps me.

Onward and upward folks!

Let me know what you think, and your own ideas for train in the comments.

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