Competing: Team vs Individual

How do you know if you’re competitive? Do you know what motivates you? Would you rather be on a Team or do you thrive as an Individual?

I’ve had the amazing blessing of competing at the CrossFit Games twice (both on a team) and at Regionals three times (twice as a team; 2010, 2011 and once as an individual 2012). I grew up playing team sports so the individual idea is very foreign to me. My mom will tell you that I tend to push a little harder when others are counting on me. My individual experience at Regionals was somewhat forced upon me by circumstances since some of our original team members had changed to different boxes.  The CrossFit Headquarters rule that team members must train at one location 50% of the “Open” time, hence breaking up our 2011 team for 2012.

Are you saying to yourself, “bummer, I would much rather be on a team too” or are you thinking “big deal Melissa, just be an individual, then its all about you and all on you”? Team or Individual? Well, I’d like to share with you about my experience as a competitor, both team and individual, as well as the differences of competing as a team versus competing as an individual. In this post I will give insight on my Team experience.

Six members compile a CrossFit National team, three men and three women. No one person is more important than the other, but ALL are vital. The majority of the team workouts consist of all six members, some are two guys and two girls or just one guy and one girl, but the bulk involves all team members.  All six members need to be equipped to do all exercises. With any team each member will be a little more skilled at one aspect of the game than another; i.e. gymnastics, Olympic lifting, strength, speed, etc. But you can’t just have a team of good CrossFitters.  Through my experiences I’ve learned that a great team, truly a great team is focused on what the team can do as a whole and not what themselves as a team member can do or gain.  The game is different when you’re on a team or if you’re an individual. The cliche saying, “There is no I in team”, holds true in my experience.  Another very important aspect of being a team is communication and knowing your teammates.  Too many chiefs leads to confusion, too many Indians and there isn’t any direction.  Egos have to be checked and intentionally left at the door.  Teams who have individuals who are focused on making their teammates stronger will prosper.  Some times on a team you have to remove yourself from your emotions; “I want to do that workout, I could do it better, why am I not the one being chosen to participate.” Keeping the focus on the team, allows the team to continue to be successful. A team also provides encouragement and support. A true bond that has allowed me to perform exercises-workouts I never thought I could complete.  There have been workouts where my teammates felt I needed to take a certain portion of the workout, believing that I had the right skill-strength to produce the best outcome and even though I might’ve doubted myself, because they believed in me and were counting on me I was able to rise to the challenge.  Just as amazing as the support and encouragement is within a team it also really sucks when you feel you’ve brought the team down by not doing as well as thought or desired. You aren’t alone, you have 5 others counting on you to give it all and succeed.

Pros and Cons…team and individual…

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