Complete Athlete Training Series: Day 5 – Team

Hello, and welcome to our fifth video of our five-video series. This is our final one of this Complete Athlete Training video sequence that we’re starting 2017 off with.

My Background

I am Rebecca Smith. I’m a complete performance coaching director as well as a high performance coach. My specialty is helping kids and teens maximize sport potential while having a fun time doing it. I primarily work with individual sport athletes ages 8 to 18, but I also work with anyone who wants to be better at performing under pressure.

Your Team and Community

Today’s topic is team. Team or community. We started with our mind, then we went to our body, then we went to our spirit, and yesterday was the inner circle, or the inner triangle, as we figured out. Today is the overarching community. This is everybody on your team, people you’re not necessarily best friends with. These are not your siblings, but are everybody who’s in the gym with you, traveling the same path as you and want the same things as you.

Phil Jackson and the strength of the team

Phil Jackson always comes up whenever you talk about teams. He was the coach of the Chicago Bulls. Phenomenal record, phenomenal coach, and I’m going to give you a couple of his quotes. “The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.” I think of it like a bowl of jellybeans. The bowl is the team and the jellybeans are the athletes. Without either, there would be no bowl of jellybeans. There would be nothing to hold that team together, to pull that person into place, or to have the role.

Each person on the team has a unique ability to thrive. Some of us are supporters. Some of us are really excited cheerleaders. Some of us are “let’s get it done!” Everybody’s got different personalities and different strengths that allow a team to thrive, because it takes all kinds. Whether or not they’re your favorite person, every single person is valuable. Even if their value to you is that they teach you how to be a better person by being more compassionate a patient.

The importance of the team

We’ll go into the team, the importance of it, and I’ll give you an opportunity to decide if you are the ideal team player. If not, I’ll give you some things to think about it in the toolkit, so that in case you haven’t already downloaded your toolkit, it’s at It’s got all of the notes from the last four days as well as meditations and exercises. Today it has the ideal team player assessment. You can actually go and quiz yourself, how much of a team player am I? It’s really simple quiz, and it gives you an idea of where you’ve got room for growth. Hopefully you’ve got into your toolkit.

Why does it matter?

The first thing I’m going to ask you to think about is, why does the team matter? I always go back to gymnasts, because that’s what I was and who I currently work with. Would you show up in the gym and do what you do if you were the only one? Would you do the conditioning? Would you do the reps? Would you show up and train and fall and try and rip your hands and pull your muscles and bruise your body, would you do that alone? No way.

I remember when I was coaching, I would have kids do a conditioning set, and it would be a minute handstand against the wall. If you give one kid a handstand for one minute, they’re going to go, “Oh, it’s hard, it’s hard,” and “Oh, a minute is so long.” But put those kids in a line with eight other kids doing a handstand, and they’re like, “I’m good. I’m fine. I’m stronger. I can hold it longer. I can hold it longer.”

That competitive nature helps to push everybody forward. Everybody wants to be better together than they want to be on their own. When somebody’s watching, it gets you getting your best self out there. That competitive spirit gets put to work.

The power of the team

Some people are really good at going, “It’s okay, you can do it.” All those handstands are up there, and one starts getting saggy and they’re like, “I don’t know if I can do it,” and their teammates are like, “You can do it! You can do it! It’s almost over.” You can feel the power of the team in moments like that, where one’s just hanging on by pure heart. That’s like the feeling you get when you’re really immersed in a team in a difficult situation and a difficult game in a difficult conditioning set, and you’re all in it together. That’s my thing about the foundational power of a team.

Goals and accountability

Now, there are a lot of reasons why a team is great. The accountability. If you say to your team, “I want to score out of this level,” or “I want to do this,” if you have a goal and you put it out to your community, it’s actually proven that you have a 60% better chance of getting that goal than you had when you just had it in your mind or in your journal.

If you stand up and say to a group of people, “I am going to get this skill by the end of the season,” or whatever your goal is; If you say that to your team, they’re not going to let you off the hook nearly as easy as you might let yourself off once the fear starts to creep up, so that accountability is huge.


You also have the support. People going, “You can,” especially for us perfectionists. I talked about this a little bit yesterday. When you’ve got a warm supportive group of people surrounding you who really care about you and you maximizing your potential, they’re going to support you when you don’t feel like you can be perfect, when you don’t feel like you can do a good job. They’re going to be there going, “You can do it. Stick with it. Come on.” That’s part of the deal.

The feeling that you get when you give that to somebody else, it’s the other glowing spirit feeling that we were talking about a couple of days ago. That glow of being of service to another person, it makes the journey of training an intense sport really really enjoyable.

Cooperation and trust

Then there’s the cooperation. We’re not always naturally cooperative as humans. We don’t always go, “How can I help somebody else?” as a major priority. “How can I get along with somebody?” When you’ve got a team that has a common goal of we want to be the best version of ourselves. We want to win the game. We want to get up om that podium. When they’re all working together in solidarity, people cooperate, people work together, and that’s something that is life lessons. All of this sport stuff is life lessons. Trust. You have to trust your teammates. You have to trust your coach. You have to trust yourself. That’s something that gets stronger and stronger.


Also, socializing. For anybody who’s between the ages of 12 and 18, one of the primary motivating factors in life is the social life. You probably know that if you’re a parent of an adolescent or teenage person. You’ve got to make it so that the social life is nurtured by the sport so that it’s a win/win. I’ve noticed a lot of times people will get blocked when their social life is outside of the team. Once they realize that, they can get back into the, “Okay, how do I take care of myself in the social arena? How do I make sure that every Sunday I’m spending time with my school friends?” Whatever that is, but you have to make sure that the social life lines up with the team.

Therefore, there are kids you grew up with that you go through the dirt with, through the training and the sweat and the hard, hard training, and those are your buds. So you got to make sure that you’re nurturing those buds so that you get the major benefit out of it. The best way to not nurture them is to be not a team player, to be a whiner, to be a me-me-me, what’s-in-it-for-me kind of person.

The ideal team player

What is the ideal team player? We know what it’s not: the whiner, the complainer, the what’s-in-it-for-me person. The ideal team player is somebody who wants to support everybody else, who recognizes opportunities for growth. Instead of going, “Ugh, an obstacle,” they go, “Oh! An opportunity for growth.” This is somebody who’s more optimistic, who doesn’t go automatically to the worst-case scenario. They’re:

  • An optimist
  • A leader
  • A listener
  • An inspiration

If you’ve ever hung out with somebody who’s in a bad mood or has a bad attitude, it is a lot easier to follow that attitude down than it is to follow a positive attitude up. If you’re stuck, you don’t want to be the mess, you want to be the message. You want to be the person who’s optimistic. “Guys, it’s going to be okay. We can get through this. We can do this set. This is an opportunity for us to come together as a team.”

A leader

An ideal team player’s motto is “Let’s do this,” and, “Here, I’ll go first.”

They’re not the kind of leader that’s barking orders like, “You do this,” “You do that,” “You do this.” It’s that walking the talk. By walking the talk, you’re showing that you can be a person on a team that is worth emulating. You want to be the person that people want to copy in order to come across as a good person. You don’t want to be the person who’s teaching everyone the lesson of how not to behave. That positive attitude.

A listener

Listening skills. Are you the kind of person who goes, “How are you? How’s your family? Tell me about it. Are you struggling? Let’s talk.” Or are you the person who’s going, “I need this. I need this. I need this.” Just be honest with yourself. A real team player shows up a hundred percent every single time, and they want to give it their absolute best. This is not the person who’s too tired or too lazy or, oh, just doesn’t feel like it. This is the person who it too tired, doesn’t feel like it, and shows up and does their very best and inspires other people to do the same.

Dreaming big

A lot of gymnasts and swimmers I work with have their sights set on college. That’s kind of a big dream for a lot of people. Some at the Olympics. I’ve worked with a few kids who ended up at Olympic trials last year, which was the most exciting experience for all of us. But college is kind of tangible. It’s a big goal, especially for gymnasts. College or Olympics is a big goal for anybody, not just gymnasts.

If you want to get to college you can be the very best, most talented player on your team and not be wanted. Those coaches are looking for more than just skill. There’s the mental toughness piece that you must represent, and you’ve got to be a team player, because there are so many really high level really good athletes. If you’re not the person who your whole team goes, “I want to be on a team with her,” or “I want to be on a team with him,” your chances of getting into the school you want are lower. Because your recommendations are not going to have the passion and heart behind them, as if you’re the one who’s always moving the mats and working hard and not looking for a pat on the back for it. Then you’re the one who that college coach is going to get the very best recommendations from, and everyone on your team’s going to rally behind you for you to be able to succeed and get through the fear.

Being humble

The three things that I think sum up the ideal team player are all in the toolkit. The first one is humble. What is humility? It’s the opposite of ego. Another Phil Jackson quote is “The bigger your head, the easier your shoes are to fill.” If you’re the one walking around like I’m hot stuff, your coach is going to be happy to replace you with somebody who’s humble, with somebody who takes responsibility for setbacks and goes, “What can I learn? I made a mistake. I’m not perfect. What can I do next?” Shares the celebration with the team instead of going, “I’m the reason that the team won.” They share the love and the respect and the celebration with their teammates.

What drives you

The second one is drive. That’s what gets you to practice early no matter what. It’s what gets you going above and beyond, going that extra step. You’re not the person that everyone’s going, “Is she cheating?” Because you don’t want to cheat, because you don’t want to cheat yourself, you don’t want to cheat your teammates or your coaches, and you show up with full effort. You are ready to go the extra mile and do whatever it takes to be the best version of yourself. That’s that drive.

The humility and the drive together makes it so that you’re not going, “I’m working harder than everyone else, and everyone should notice.” It’s not about that. It’s “I’m working harder than everyone else,” or “Maybe I’m working just as hard, but I’m doing the best I can so that I can contribute to my team.”

Having awareness

The third is awareness. I’ve gone back to awareness every day of our five-day series, but it’s being aware not just of your mind, not just of your thoughts, not just of your nutrition, not just are you opening the channel for peak performance, but you’re being aware of the impact you have on the people around you. Are the words you use helping your teammates or hurting them? Are they inspiring your teammates or are they bringing them down? Do you care? Do you ask how someone’s doing? Do you listen?

That awareness of the impact you have on the world is not only something that will get you into your dream college, but it is something that will allow you to have better relationships and better performances, and that’s how you get that team rallying around you, because you take a second and go, “How are you today? How are you feeling? How’s your practice going? Anything I can do to help you?” Instead of just, “Get out of my way. I got to train. I’ve got to get into college.” Those are the three.

Knowing which is your highest quality

That’s in the toolkit you can download. It’s got the assessment that’ll tell you which of those three qualities you’re highest on and where you’ve got room for growth. This community thing is really close to my heart, because I’ve had a couple of communities in my life that have just taken me in and lifted me up. I’ve also been a member of communities that are toxic, and they don’t feel good. It’s easy to feel alone in a roomful of people if you’re in a more toxic community.

Toxic people

One thing I’ve noticed as a general rule is you attract who you are, and you repel who you’re not. When I was surrounded by toxic people, that was the time to look inside and go, “What am I presenting to the world that’s attracting these toxic people?” As I evolved as a human, as I became more humble, more driven, and more aware. I started attracting people into my life who were the same.

Anytime you’re looking around at your dysfunctional team, that’s your mirror. That’s what you get to look at and go, “Okay, what do I have in common with these people?” Or “What about that is me from the past and I haven’t forgiven myself or moved forward?” Just by putting this extra energy out into your team, you will start to build that team around you. You will start to attract people into your life. You will find the college that has that type of people on the team. That is the place where you’ll go and feel like, yes, these are my people.


Along those lines, I have been wanting to create a community of sport parents and athletes who feel the way that I do, that really value the humility, the drive, the mental toughness, the complete athlete picture, so a couple of months ago I pioneered this online community that is basically set up for parents so that the parents can get in and learn exactly how to become the very best version of themselves. They have a whole course on peak performance parenting. Talks about how to communicate. It’s got worksheets, like the whole shebang on how to be the best version of yourself as a sport parent.

Then also I basically duplicated myself, because I realized I only have so many hours in a day, so I put myself in there in the form of every single training, every single exercise, worksheets, videos. All of my very, very best stuff is in there. And I’m in there daily checking in and building that community with people. They go in there and they post their goals, and they talk about what they want to accomplish, and they celebrate each other.

My vision

This is this vision I have, my heart is like, “Oh, it’s so exciting,” is that I want to have a group of people who come together, celebrate each other, and just grow as humans and put their biggest scariest goals on the line, get support, and then I directly get to handle every single person whether it’s a parent or a child toward building the skills they need to become the complete athlete.

I call it the Perform Happy Community, because really, even if you’re doing your best, if you’re not happy, what is the point? I focus on flow theory. It’s all about what gets you in the moment so that you can unlock that channel to your best greatness and meanwhile have these ecstatic experiences of being the best version of yourself.

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