Monday, January 19, 2015

How to be a happier teammate.

It's a new season and it seems like every time I open Facebook, I see overflowing positivity from my derby friends about the sport, their teams and their leagues. It's awesome to see such great posts, but I have noticed a trend; over the season, people stop posting such jubilant statuses, and the stressed out drama filled posts start. So, how do you keep that happy happy joy joy feeling going with your derby league all year?
If you use my art, please tag me.

1. Learn to celebrate your teammate's achievements. 
Sometimes this might be the hardest thing to do, celebrate your teammates accomplishments, especially if you don't feel like you're accomplishing anything yourself. Jealousy is a thief of happiness, and if you resent someone in your league or on your team achieving something, you are going to be busy resenting them and that takes a ton of energy. Remember, your teammate's achievements, whether in their personal, business or derby life only enhance your team. They don't take anything away from you. But Q, they could take my spot on the roster! Well, then maybe you need to train harder; nobody is guaranteed a spot on a roster.

2. Learn to forgive.
Derby gives you plenty of opportunities to practice forgiveness. Sometimes we get super duper pissy if someone blocks us the wrong way, or they get away with something on the track, like cutting us. It's easy to get angry and righteous and butthurt, which keeps us from bonding with our teammates. Everyone has a list of grievances that can be attributed to someone on our team, but what benefits do you have in carrying that list around? Dump that heavy emotional baggage.

3. Tell someone on your team something positive.
I always try to high five my teammates when I get off of the track, no matter how good or bad we did out there. Sometimes you need to high five people especially when there has been a bad jam. It's not blowing smoke when your team was trying as hard as possible, but they just couldn't pull it off. I will always appreciate, celebrate and acknowledge true and earnest effort on the track. All of that effort will pay off eventually, and that makes me happy. Also, saying something positive to someone else is going to boost your mood way better than saying something crappy.

4. Don't be a martyr.
I see this happen all of the time in derby; people think they have to do all the jobs and be responsible for all of the things. They take on too much, whether it's league jobs, such as a position on the board or captain or joining all of the committees. People who take on too much feel like they're drowning, and then they lash out at others on the team. "Look at all of the burden I've taken on for the team!" Be realistic with yourself about which responsibilities you can take on at any certain time in the league. Maybe last season you were able to give more time to the league, but this year you have a new job, or a new significant other, or a family member who needs more of your time. Take on what you can, but be able to devote enough time and effort to it to do well.

5. Set realistic goals for yourself.
Want to be miserable? Set unrealistic goals for yourself. We've all been there. "I'm not going to the box in this game!" That's most likely an unrealistic goal because you have zero control over what the refs see and call. "I'm going to make the travel team this quarter." Once again, you can try out for the travel team, but the decision won't be up to you; it's up to the captains, coaches, and whoever else is on the decision making committee. Set goals that you can control. "I'm going to work on my weak turning side until it's no longer my weak side." "I'm going to be aware of where the jammers are when I'm on the track." Those are goals that are realistic and completely within your power to control.

6. Trust in yourself and your teammates enough not to be defensive.
I've witnessed many skaters shoot themselves in the happiness foot by being defensive when given constructive criticism. If you feel like every time you get feedback from your teammates or coaches that it's an attack, you will constantly be on the defensive and prickly. It's hard to bond with people when you're constantly convinced that you are being attacked. If you don't trust them to give you good advice and feedback, how can you trust them to protect you and support you on the track?

7. Stop focusing only on yourself.
Yes, you have to remember that derby is competitive, and you may be fighting for a position on the roster, but if all you think about is yourself, you're not helping your team be better. Being exclusively self-focused never leads to happiness, no matter where you are in life, business or sports, so pull your head out of your butt and look around you once in a while!

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