The following article was obtained from the American
Swimming Coaches Association.
"The Strength of the Pack is the Wolf, The Strength of the
Wolf is the Pack." Rudyard Kipling The 2nd Jungle Book.
Individual athletes and their strengths are what combine to create a
team. Each individual brings certain "strengths" to a
group...some are great kickers, others can swim breaststroke well,
others keep people laughing, others can motivate their friends to get
them to forget the pain and work harder. Some are smart, some are kind,
some go out of their way to encourage and help others. Some are
perceptive, some lead by example, some lead by voice, some follow well.
Each individual has a strength.
It is in the best interests of the pack (the team) to allow each
individual to express that strength and share it with the team. The
great kicker shows others that you can kick 20 x 100 free on the 1:25.
The smart person picks up on how the dry land work is done to best
effect and shares it. The kind person picks up loose goggles after
practice and returns them their "owners".
It is also in the best interest of the pack for the least talented
and gifted members to develop. Nothing moves a pack forward better than
the rear-most wolf moving up, working hard, and "nipping at the
heels" of the wolf just ahead, who then works hard, nips at the
heels in front, all the way to the lead wolf, who then picks up the pace
of the whole pack.
Different wolves, different strengths, different lead wolves
depending on the activity. A team of lead wolves. A team of lead wolves
is a mighty pack.
The strength of the wolf (each wolf) is the pack. We each do and must
draw on others for support, encouragement and strength. The pack
supports the special needs of each individual, allowing them to remain a
wolf (an individual) as long as each wolf is committed to the well-being
of the pack. Without the pack, the "lone wolf" must do and
figure out everything on their own. This is slow, discouraging, and
difficult. Can it be done? for a short time perhaps, but not for long,
because wolves, like people, are social creatures who need assurance,
reassurance and approval of other wolves.
No swimmer can make it "on their own". They need teammates,
parents, coaches, people to supply a pool, food, encouragement, advice
and help them stick to their personal discipline to accomplish a task.
Swimming is not a team sport? Try doing it without a team around you.
After a few days or a week, you'll know it is a team sport.
And no team is anything without individuals bringing and sharing
their strength with the team.
"The Strength of the Wolf is the Pack, And the Strength of
the Pack is the Wolf." Rudyard Kipling