Ryan Weiglein knows what one of his teammates is thinking with just a look, and he can predict whether the other player is confident or uncertain. He said it's as easy as reading his own face.
Then again, he's talking about his identical twin brother, Dylan.
Foothill freshmen Dylan and Ryan Weiglein are among a handful of Pleasanton twins who compete together in the same high school sport, pushing each other to improve and acting as constant cheerleaders.
Being on the same team as your twin comes with a set of advantages and challenges, they said.
Two Foothill water polo juniors said they have high expectations for one another, two Amador Valley cross country runners said training at home and at school has brought them closer, and the Weigleins said they've improved at about the same pace, so they are on equal ground when providing encouragement and critiques.
Whether they're debating about a missed goal at a water polo match or who got better grades, everyday life is filled with rivalries when you're twins, Ryan said. He and Dylan race up stairs, see who can bounce a ping pong ball on a paddle longer and race their bikes.
"Anything we do is kind of a competition," Ryan said.
Having your twin on your sports team seems like a natural extension of that attitude. But when they're on a team together, they're in sync for common goal, he said.
"We know more about the other person than any other person on the team, so it just takes eye contact and we know what the other person is doing," Ryan said, adding he can watch Dylan's performance when he's on the bench to critique his own style.
For Madison and Jovan Perez, Amador Valley sophomore cross country runners, having their twin on the team means having someone at home to push them to run at their best every day.
"When one of us wants to start walking, we're like, 'You can't start walking. Do you want to get better?'" Jovan said.
For many years, the Perez siblings participated in school sports, but each one followed their own path. Madison said she played basketball while Jovan ran cross country, but her brother eventually convinced her to try his sport.
They both said they prefer middle-distance cross country runs, and they feel their personal records have improved by relying on one another for encouragement and accountability.
"I feel like we've gotten closer," Madison said. "We can just bond over the same sport."
Negin and Negar Tehranian, Foothill juniors, said everyone on their varsity girls water polo team competes during practice to push one another to improve.
"With Negar, it's even more so," Negin said. "When we eggbeater, (we see) who can get up the highest, and when we do sprints, who can go the fastest."
Going through the same life experiences with a sister can be helpful since they can talk each other through difficulties, they said. They said they are both considering continuing water polo when college comes in two years, so they have an incentive to continually improve.
They said inside jokes keep their ubiquitous competition light, and practicing is easy because the duo can go to a local pool whenever they want to run through extra drills.
"We know each other's limitations better, and we know what we can do and what we can't do," Negin said. "It's just a stronger and deeper connection with each other."
At the same time, Dylan Weiglein said, it's also helpful to compete separate from your twin. When he does tennis in the spring, it requires a different way of thinking to compete independently.
"It'd be a lot harder to play because I'm so used to having him on my team and supporting me," Dylan said. However, he added their differing career interests may soon send the Weiglein brothers in different directions for college.
"It's also good," he said. "It prepares you for your future when you don't have your brother by your side."