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  • Writer's pictureMatthew Campbell-Hill

"Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much." - Helen Keller

Now that I'm out of the competition venue and have some time to relax, I've made sure to spend some time reflecting on the World Games last week: what went well, what went wrong, what of my targets have I achieved, what is next on the list - the standard self review process.

Whilst there are, of course, a great many individual facets to our performances, both as individuals and as a team, it is the team event I want to concentrate on today.

Going into this event we were ranked 18th in the World. This was less than ideal for many reasons, but primarily because a) this meant we would face tough teams early in the seeding rounds; b) we need to be ranked in within the top 12 in order to qualify for the next Paralympics.

The team event was held on the final day of competition. As a team, we had had mixed results in the individual competitions, and so we would likely be forgiven for any feelings of concern when preparing for this day, but any outsider would have struggled to notice it.

Throughout our long bus journey (see below for a time lapse of the return journey!)

to the competition venue we, the four athletes plus the Team GB coach, laughed, joked, and sang (yes, sang! - Classics like ELO and, naturally, We are the Champions by Queen!).

We were, by any measure of the word, relaxed, and therefore feeling quite confident.

We were gelled as a team. One voice, one mind, one mission.

By chance, we shared the entire journey with the team of another country, one with a similar ranking and, arguably, similar potential.

By contrast however, (and perhaps this was due to our singing...!?) all five of them were shut off from each other: Headphones in, no eye contact, no interaction. - So little was their interaction, one of their members joined in with us!

I wondered at the time what would be the outcome for them with that start to the day, compared to us...

The results speak for themselves:

They finished 11th (a good step up!)

...and we...

We finished 5th, beating the reigning Paralympic Champions (France) in the process. - A HUGE step up!

So what do we take away from this? - Well, nothing new: a happy team works better, simple!

What teams do you work with? Do they strive to interact positively, or shut themselves off from each other?

As Helen Keller so wisely put it: "Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much."

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