Team V 2.0

Aparently the topic of triathlon teams is a hot topic right now (at least amongst my friends).  I had blogged a few weeks ago about my thoughts and opinoins on what a team should look like and represent and after talking with some friends I have put together some more ideas and refined others.  These ideas are not soley mine and I give credit to my friends' ideas and thoughts.

The concepts and philosophies of "team" must be evident in any and all aspects of  Team X.  If there is no team concept/philosophies then Team X is nothing more than a group of individuals with a common interest and will not benefit from each others' abilities, skills and wisdom.  I will discuss the team concept further as I address my other ideas,

In order to have an effective team it must address the athletes.  With that being, it seems that the consensus is that a team should be split into different groups.  There should be a Tier 1 group, a Tier 2 group and Tier 3 group.

The Tier 1 group will be a small, select group of triathletes that is performing at an exceptionaly high level, are ambassadors for the sport as well as for the team.  This group will recieve maximum support from the owner.  They will recieve financial support ranging from nutrition, appareal, gear, race fees etc. These financial perks come at a cost though.  These "sponsored" athletes need to produce high quality results at races, and more importantly they need to give back to the Tier 2 and 3 groups.  Their give back would include; clinics, presentations, leaders of group rides, swims, runs, bricks, etc.  There would also be a large volunteer, support, mentor component to their "dues". These athletes would required to pay yearly dues

The Tier 2 group will be those that have taken the next step in their commitment to the sport.  These athletes must have participated in the sport for at least 2 seasons and have raced at least 8 races.  This group will recieve some financial assistance in terms of discounts.  Most shops give a standard 10% discount on nutrition, gear, appareal, etc.  They should recieve up to 25% off.  Discounts will not take away from the profits of the owner because it is these atheletes that end up spending the largest amount of money because this is the point where their commitment to the sport increases dramatically.  This group may not be going for podiums but they will have to show improvements in results and achievement of pre determined goals. These athletes will also be expected to give back to the team in terms of volunteering, participation in group rides, swims, runs etc.  These athletes would be required to pay yearly dues.

The Tier 3 group would be those athletes just starting out or with less than 2 seasons of experience.  This group will be the largest and most important athletes of the team.  These athletes will recieve a smaller discount than the above, probably the normal 10%.  They will also be given a one time heavy discount so that they are able to jump into the sport head first without going bankrupt.  These athletes will have assigned mentors (from Tier 1 and 2) to provide guidance and most of all support and encouragement.  Triathlon 101 classes will be provided for these athletes by in-house members.  Results are not a concern for these athletes rather the emphasis will be placed on achieving personal goals and completeing races.

Team appareal needs to be available to all athletes.  Maybe some exclusive gear for Tier 1.  Team appareal should include everything from arm warmers, to swim caps to socks. All gear must be high quality, affordable and look bad ass.

Every single athlete must be recognized in one form or another for not only their race accomplishments but also for reaching their goals.  Recognition could come in the form of an email, phone call, newsletter,  social media, t-shirt, medal, pictures or race results posted on walls, etc.  There should not be a large amount of money spent on this but there should be a large amount of effort put into celebrating successes. In every conversation I had on this topic not one person mentioned financial reward as a form or recognition! Everyone did mention a simple pat on the back or the other ways mentioned above as their desired form of recognition.

Take care of those that take care of you! An owner should have strong leadership skills and be pasisonate about his team.  I believe an owner should arrange team training camps and reserve lodging at races that have a large number of athletes participating.  Owners should also show face as much as possible and be extremely familar with each and every athlete.  The better the team does the better reputation the shop/owner gets.  The better reputation, the more $ they make.  Sadly when it comes down to it the onwer/shop needs to make money but if you think about it if the shop shop closes, then no more team. There should also be a large effort to bring in speakers, be it athletes or product reps, to better educate their team about the sport.  There also needs to be social outings where the team can get together for BBQ's, drinks, mini golf, paintball, etc.

Im a firm believer that the team needs to give back to the community.  There should be multiple, mandatory community service projects.

Hey it is triathlon! And I would want in on it.


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