As the old saying goes "No Mudder is an island" and we see that event after event, all around the globe as Mudders show up to tackle obstacles as part of a team. We know you know that teamwork is important when you're sweating, covered in mud at the base of an obstacle but it's also part of the reason why you show up in the beginning. Knowing someone has your back will make you bolder, push you to take risks and help you to grow as a person.
Co-founder of Team52, the challenge platform making it easier for busy people to get outdoors, Annie Ross, knows how that feels. She shares five things we can learn from team sports that can help us in our next Tough Mudder.
How Does Team Sport Prepare You For Tough Mudder?
1. Sharing A Common Goal
Great sports teams define, refine and unify teammates in the mission at hand. By taking a team sports mentality, getting over, through and under the obstacles becomes a lot smoother and even more fun.
In team sports, just like at Tough Mudder skills are pooled, roles and responsibilities allocated, a strategy laid, and different moves for different situations are at the ready. This breeds commitment, support, creativity and accountability to help you focus on your goals and stick with your best intentions.
2. Improving Communication
If you’ve already taken part in Tough Mudder, you'll know how great you feel at the end of the pledge. By agreeing in unison that “I put teamwork and camaraderie before my course time” and “I help my fellow mudders complete the course,” we each know what to do if we see someone in need, or we ourselves need, a helping hand.
By communicating out on the course, we can deal with setbacks. An efficient team shares obstacles rather than shoulders them. Not taking setbacks too personally is core. Sometimes it’s just business. A great lesson for life too.
3. Sharing Triumphs
Look at how team sports walk back to the centre of the pitch after a goal; they are together. Both teams pause, reset, congratulating or commiserating and mentally preparing themselves for the next challenge.
We often move so quickly from one project or achievement to the next, that we don't take even a moment to appreciate the hard work that went into it. Tough Mudder is the perfect forum to slow down and take time for others and ourselves.
Celebrate the individual and group triumph of every obstacle overcome – then onwards and upwards onto the next one, strong, smiling and together.
4. Stress Management
Team sports are playtime - and play is a stress mitigator. That’s why lego and ping-pong are appearing in offices, and why companies are encouraging active challenges for team morale.
Giving attention to your team’s progress and feeling part of a greater cause can help relieve stress. The endorphin release of physical activity, enhanced by the social belonging element will energise you. A core route to stress management is learning what you can and can’t control. You can’t control how cold Arctic Enema is, but you can control how you react to it…just about.
To complete Funky Monkey, not only do we have to step up wholeheartedly on match day, but we also need to have trained and have our mind and body prepared as we take that first rung in our muddy mitts. We can learn a lot from how team sports sustain focus and determination.
Perseverance is tested on individual obstacles too. Everest was nearly my nemesis. Having had too much fun in the mud, time after time, down I would fall, back I would walk, forward and up I would run. It crossed my mind to go around, but strangers, part of the bigger team, kept me positive. The satisfaction of finally getting over Everest, with 3 people dragging me up by various limbs was worth it.
Annie Ross is a freelance journalist and the co-founder of Team-52.com – the community platform making it easier for people to get together and take on active challenges. Follow her @annieross5252 and the team @team52challenge.