Being a good teammate

Posted: September 4, 2013 at 10:11 pm in journal, management, sports

As those of you who follow me on Facebook know, I have gotten back into playing volleyball this summer, specifically sand doubles volleyball. I have been playing with a variety of folks on the main Google court. We typically get 4 people together to play, and then rotate through teammates, so everybody plays with everybody else over the course of 3 games.

There have been a few times when I have jumped in with the advanced players because they needed a fourth. And whenever I play with them, I feel totally bad-ass because I play so well – I hit better and set better than I ever do in the intermediate games where I normally play.

It was only recently that I realized that my higher skill level when playing with better teammates wasn’t necessarily me stepping up my game.

Both teammates are typically involved in every point in doubles volleyball, with one teammate passing the ball to the other, who sets it up for the first teammate to hit the ball over. The teammates have to work together to be successful (and I love being part of a team).

So what happens when I play with a better teammate? If I pass off target, they can recover and still give me a great set to hit – it’s placed perfectly for me to swing away. And when I am setting, my set doesn’t have to be perfect for them to be successful in hitting the ball down. When I was playing better, I was really just being made to look better by my teammate, because they could do more with my bad plays than my intermediate teammates normally could (which was in their interest because it made the team more successful).

And I realized that what is true on the volleyball court is also applicable to being a good teammate in general:

  • A good teammate sets you up with the inputs you need to be successful.
  • A good teammate takes your input and figures out how to apply it to make everybody look good.
  • A good teammate does both of those things without you realizing that you’re being helped so that you think you’re more badass than you necessarily are.

So I learned something about team building and management out on the court – that means volleyball counts as work, right?

P.S. I have now completed the restoration of blog posts from the Wayback Machine, and think I’ve gotten all of them. Unfortunately, I don’t have any way to recover comments, so I apologize to those of you that added insightful comments. I will be backing up more frequently (including after this post is up), especially since Textdrive has given me no indication that they are alive other than the server still being up (no email, no Twitter, no answering of service tickets).

3 Responses to “Being a good teammate”

  1. Siderea Says:

    Is there some reason you need a fancy-dancy $15/mo service to run a WP blog?

    I’m paying <$50/yr for hosting, plus the cost of my domain registration.

  2. Eric Nehrlich Says:

    Siderea, I have a legacy deal with them so it’s $8/month, and I was too lazy to switch, even with them going down for months. But I should look into it – send me email (nehrlich@nehrlich.com) with your host if you’re happy with them?

  3. Eric Nehrlich, Unrepentant Generalist || Consistency || October || 2013 Says:

    […] Being a good teammate […]

Leave a Reply

RSS feed

LinkedIn profile

Twitter

Thoughts on maximizing "collisionability" inspired by @tonyhsieh's @longnow talk last night: nehrlich.com/blog/2014/04/2…

Recent Posts

  • Maximizing collisionability
  • Hosting update
  • Don’t act like a special snowflake
  • Antifragile, by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
  • 2013 review
  • Random Posts

  • Politics of Nature part 3
  • Stories from the chorus
  • Affordances of social software
  • Smart Business: How Knowledge Communities Can Revolutionize Your Company, by Dr. Jim Botkin
  • Identity Construction


  • Archives

  • Categories