Q: It’s my first year on the squad and I didn’t know anyone coming in. I’m kind of shy but really want to get to know my teammates better, and vice versa. How can I show my personality without making myself the center of attention?
I totally feel your pain. Making new friends can sometimes feel like a losing battle. At practice, your head is reminding you to focus on the tasks at hand, but you also don’t want to be seen as the quiet, new girl who keeps to herself. It might seem like you’re being thrown into an already complete family, but you should know that anyone can become part of the group with a little initiative and tenacity (while still respecting the hardworking practice environment).
Think about it: when was the last time you made a friend by only seeing him/her a few times a week with limited conversation allowed? Probably never! Thankfully, there’s a great solution called team bonding. By spending time with your teammates outside of practices, you’ll make friends within your squad and get to know them on a personal level. It will be much easier to slip in your personality during practice once you become more familiar with the people around you.
Volunteer to host a cookout or game night at your house. If you want to start smaller, take a group trip to the frozen yogurt shop after practice or head to the beach to gawk at the new lifeguards. Even asking for help with a stunt is a simple way to start up a conversation. It takes less time than you think to build a meaningful connection; soon you will master the art of working hard at practice while effortlessly showing your personality to your new sideline friends!
– Abby Murphy