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Unity is a mindset of winners

By Paige Johnson

Babe Ruth, one of the greatest and most well-known baseball players of all time once said, “The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don’t play well together, the team won’t be worth a dime.”

Team comradery has a lot to do with a team’s long term success. Of course skill level still matters, but more often than not, the team with the most talent doesn’t bring home the winning trophy.

Skill is just one part of being great. Without the right mind set and having a sense of cohesiveness, teams will face a lot of adversity — especially when they enter the more important parts of their seasons.

Teams that consist of friends that trust each other and have spent time to build relationships with one  another are more fun to be a part of. They have a better turn out at practices and games, which positively impacts the success in competition.

As a senior on the UT women’s lacrosse team, I couldn’t agree more with this philosophy.

So far, this season has been different than any other season for our team. This is the first year in program history we’ve been ranked among the top 10 teams in the country and we’ve had several big wins that prove we deserve to be there.

This season has been enjoyable — not only because of the wins, but because of who I’m winning with. Comradery plays a huge role in the way things translate on the field and not to say the team wasn’t close in the past, but this year something is definitely different.

A lot of head coaches of the best programs in the country at Division I, II and III levels encourage team bonding when they aren’t playing. A good team possesses all of the necessary physical tools to be successful, but a great team possesses all of the physical and mental tools to be dominant.

One of the things our coach always tells us is that we are the ones that are in control of our own destiny, but we all have to do it together. I couldn’t agree more with that statement. As a group, we came up with a goal at the beginning of the season to do something that has never been done in program history. As the season goes on, I have no doubt that every single person on the team fully wants and believes that we will reach that goal.

Having the right mentality is what separates the good teams and the great ones. It’s more than just wanting to win, its having every person understand and want to do the work that it takes to get there.

On April 3,  the women’s lacrosse team, ranked 10, upset Florida Southern, ranked 3. Not to say that we didn’t have the mindset of winning in the past, we definitely did, but this was the first time as a group that every single player knew we were going to win that game.  It was all we talked about.

Mentality is huge, and if everyone isn’t on the same page with the way they think, it will show on the field. Everyone has to buy in whether you are on the field or on the sideline. As a team I think we do a really good job of being on the same page and it shows through the success we’ve had this season with beating a few teams we’ve never beaten before.

We also spend a lot of time with each other outside of practice and games, this plays a huge role in the bond we all share. We do a lot of different things from hanging out on weekends, to binge watching shows (our favorite is bachelor Mondays), going to concerts and of course beach trips. Practically everything we do is together.

Having a strong sense of team camaraderie makes it easier for teams to reach great success. It allows team members read one another’s signals, move as one, anticipate plays and watch each other’s backs. It’s not only important to the success of the team but it’s necessary in order to be great.

Paige can be reached at paige.johnson@spartans.ut.edu

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