For these three weeks, I have the great pleasure to work with high school runners. They come from all over the southeast to attend the All-American cross-country camp led by Coach Rollie Geiger of N.C. State University.
In the past, I have spoken about resilience, focus, goal-setting, and other aspects of mental toughness. For this 2013 camp, I am talking about the power of the team.
Having a unified team doesn’t mean that everyone gets along. Or that people don’t try to beat each other. Team members argue. And they compete. But they do it in a context of a common mission — striving to help each other (and the team) reach goals.
Jay Bilas emphasizes this in his new book, Toughness. He recounts one story where he visits NASA in Houston and learns from Daryl Woods that NASA’s guiding principle is:
“Responsible to the element, accountable to the mission.”
Sports teams would do well to use this in their own mission statements. Each teammate is responsible to his or her element (in practice, in competition) and accountable to the larger mission of the team. Each athlete should be aware of his or her teammates’ goals, strengths and weaknesses, and help give feedback (in a supportive way) that helps the teammate continue to improve.
I’ll write more about teams in the future, but for now, I’ve attached my slides from the cross-country camp. Just click on the icon to download.