Recently, legendary tennis star Serena Williams took home the trophy for her 23rd Grand Slam Tennis Championship. This prestigious title was the result of a fierce match with an even fiercer competitor: her sister, Venus Williams. Although they say that participating in sports with your siblings can breed a tense relationship, these two have shown us that supporting our brothers and sisters can help us to improve our skills and be the best version of ourselves.
When I was younger, my older sister Amanda and I participated in a recreational soccer league called Pinelanders. Initially, we entered into the league as uncoordinated children living out the dreams of our enthusiastic parents. Over the years, we had learned valuable skills like teamwork, accepting direction and streamlining our focus toward a greater goal, (no pun intended).
By being with other people, Amanda and I were also able to assess each of our strengths and weaknesses and pull our weight as teammates. We had gotten better at playing soccer and understanding the dynamics of the game; and being on the same team brought out a competitive edge that helped us be successful.
As someone who has always looked up to her older sister, being her teammate on the soccer team helped motivate me to become a better athlete. While she was on the sidelines, hearing her cheer me on and give me advice helped to challenge me to take risks, such as pulling new moves on the opposing team.
Knowing that someone in the group would always look out for me gave me confidence and self-assurance. With her support, I was able to focus less on how I made mistakes during the game, but rather how I could learn from them and fix them during scrimmages and practice.
Additionally, having someone that understands your setbacks helps to find strategies that capitalize on what you can do best. One of my greater challenges was my severe asthma growing up, and Amanda made sure that I was performing well while making sure I took care of myself. It didn’t matter if I couldn’t run as many laps as some of my other teammates, and my sister assured me that I was a valuable member to the team no matter what.
Overall, people may perceive that having a sibling as athletic as yourself can hurt your self-esteem and cause mean-spirited competition. However, being in the same position as your brother or sister can help form a bond that is founded on fulfilling each other’s potential and always trying your best. For example, celebrating a sibling’s victory from time to time allows you to stay humble, and remind yourself of the love of the game.
Having a teammate that knows you well enough to keep you on track can help you become a better athlete. Someone that can come from a place of understanding when things get difficult is essential in a competitive environment, and having that person be a sibling you admire makes all of the difference.