By: Olivia Wile
Since Findlay is a Division II University that can provide athletic scholarships, sports teams across campus are extremely competitive in nature. Between grueling conditioning sessions and practicing skill-work, UF sports teams are constantly striving for success.
This brings up a major question, however. How much success can be achieved strictly from drilling and lifting weights?
As a member of the UF Women’s Swim and Dive team, I have experienced and endured hours on top of hours of practices. On Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, our team practices twice a day, including a 5:30 a.m. lift. While on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday we have a single training session that lasts over two hours; to say our team prepares a lot would be an understatement.
Aside from practicing hard, another area that I believe we excel in is team bonding.
According to the article “Build a Positive and High-Performing Sports Culture” by Dr. Jim Taylor, a positive team culture is impetrative to success.
“Through your leadership and open discussions with team members, your team can identify the values, attitudes, and beliefs that you and your athletes want to act as the foundation of the team culture,” Taylor states.
He follows up with this in stating, “The culture is grounded in an identified sense of mission and shared goals, for instance, the goal of qualifying for a regional championships or winning a state title.”
During my freshman year, our team went to a nature reserve in Bowling Green during the beginning of the season. Not only did we get to view some awesome scenery, eat pizza, and get acclimated with our new teammates, we also spent time going over our team goals and the steps we would take to achieve them.
This year, our team took a trip to the Toledo Zoo on our first official Saturday practice of the season. At the zoo, we had the opportunity to complete an aerial adventure course with a partner and later got to take a look at all the animals.
This recent trip got me thinking, would the demeanor of our team be different if we did not do bonding experiences outside of the pool? Dr. Taylor would argue yes, and I have to agree.
The swim team isn’t the only one on campus that completes team bonding. Sophomore Michaela Jacks says the women’s lacrosse team hosts team dinners. While Sophomore Greg Knavel states that Men’s Baseball does the same. He says that the team also completes community service work together.
The fact of the matter is that practicing can only take a team so far. It is the morale and unity among its members that will lead to major accomplishments.