Olympians Kristy Kowal and David Garza, two of the newest athletes to join Ready, Set, Gold!, visited schools in Orange County and San Diego County, respectively, to talk to students about the importance of the team mindset.
Both Kristy and David talked about the need to focus on one's strengths and not his or her weaknesses. Working on our weakness isn't productive, but when we choose to play to our strengths and our team’s strengths, we win every time.
At each of their visits, Kristy and David worked to build up the students' endurance through a variety of drills. Kristy did different relay races with the students at Eastbluff Elementary while David worked with his students doing soccer drills at Clearview Elementary.
Both athletes separated the students into teams to help demonstrate the importance and the power of the team. This was a great eye-opener to the students as they realized that while they all have different strengths, coming together as a team made them unstoppable. It helped them to believe in one another and see that they can be stronger as a team than as an individual.
Both athletes shared tips with the students on ways for teams to be successful. They stressed the importance of communication and how teammates need to listen to each other and hear what's being said. It's also key to make sure that you support your team and build the group up through positive reinforcement. Teammates can always learn from each other, building on their strengths and learning from their weaknesses.
Team performance can at times vary, but the effort of the individual should remain the constant. If everyone works to give 100 percent, the team will remain strong and can bounce back when and if there is a bad day.
Sports participation is an excellent way for youth to learn about teamwork at an early age and experience situations where they can be successful but also fail. With each failure comes a leasson, and with every success comes more confidence. The team mindset and the skills learned through teamwork are not only useful on the field, but they are useful in all aspects of life. Being part of a team provides students with healthy physical activity and camaraderie, but, more importantly, sports provide kids with opportunities to learn important life lessons and what it means to be part of something greater than themselves.