Certified Athletic Trainer | Educator | Motivator
Sandy Krum

All posts tagged team

Olympic Torch

Every four years…

We sit in awe and watch amazing athleticism, choreography, movements with precision, and the skill of Champions shining as bright as the oil lit Olympic Light. Yes the Olympic spectacle is grand but what is even grander is the opening ceremony watching the torch enter the stadium for the final lap. Waiting with heartbeats so high, athletes and fans from all over the World sit and wait in excitement as the torch makes its way onto the track. Lights darkened, flashbulbs zinging, and the latest GoPro models being put to the test. C’mon baby, don’t fail me now.

Two torch bearers, faces lit with honor and glory for their countries, have the Torch raised at all times as they swagger around the stadium and up to the Cauldron. Yes, indeed a Final Lap to signify the games are about to be declared OPEN. Anticipation and excitement abounds!

Usually the final carrier of the Torch is a sports celebrity of the host country. The person often is unannounced until just prior to the ceremony as this also adds to the exuberance. From Ali to Gretzky, only the greatest of their respected countries are afforded this opportunity.

To become the greatest, these athletes have dedicated their lives to their conditioning, stringent if not backwards training regimes, injuries and the treatment of the same, nutritional changes, practice and more practice, rest, and finally honing their skills to a place so refined, only the best of the best can reach these levels.

My message today is simple: you too can reach these levels…. Perhaps not as an Olympian headed for Rio, but as an Olympian to you, your family and friends, and all those you encounter on a daily basis!


Olympian’s train endless hours and are guided by a strong support TEAM network, if not overcrowded. They are provided medical support with top physicians, the finest certified athletic trainers (NATABOC.ORG), exercise physiologists, nutritional support and receive counsel by some of the finest RDs (Registered Dietitians) around, psychological support, and personal training and Coaching from the finest in their chosen sport.

This same TEAM approach is what I believe helps make these athletes stand out, especially when put up against near equals in their chosen sports. The TEAM can and does make a difference, especially with such finite movements, landings, aim, skill, and precision.

To make it happen for you, I recommend beginning to develop your TEAM, the support team that you will put in place to aid you on your journey to your individual Torch Lighting Ceremony. This involves regular visits to your physician for blood and urine lab values and further testing as indicated. This means continuing to break down the walls via discussion, either amongst family members or with a psychologist. Secrets cause illness and the best place to start letting secrets out is with a psychologist or trained, qualified therapist.

Your Nutrition needs to be on point and this means not only eating the right amount of calories but also keeping track of the same via simple pen and paper journaling or via any one of the available apps available to track nutrition and exercise.

The Olympic Athlete is guided by top RDs in the profession and all preach the same thing: JOURNALING IS THE KEY TO SUCCESS. For those of you who have not kept track of what you are taking in on a day-to-day basis, now is a good time to do a five-day food journal. Simply write down what you eat and drink, the portion size or quantity, and the time. Everything! Do this for five consecutive days. If it’s one Iced tea, write it down and the approximate number of ounces. If it’s a cheeseburger and grilled veggies, write it down. Also note the time. Just be honest with your recordings. Remember, this practice event is to help no one but YOU. Once complete, you can share the journal with your RD and the rest of the TEAM. Proper guidance and dialogue will come from this and then and only then can a complete plan of attack start to take shape. The MD and RD will then use this information as well as other test results (RMR, DEXA), determine the best caloric range for you and the number of calories you need to be taking in daily (and of equal importance what types of calories).

Notice a pattern here? Everyone works together and communication has to be crystal clear and on point. This communication starts with YOU!

The other components of your Olympic Team include the Certified Athletic Trainer and your personal trainer/coach. The athletic trainer will ensure you stay healthy on a day-to- day basis, monitor and treat your injuries, implement a PREHAB program, and ensure proper levels of nutrition and hydration accompany your workouts and daily living activities. The athletic trainer will keep you on point when it comes to your overall well-being. Additionally, The athletic trainer will act as a liaison between yourself and the rest of the team members as you will continue to focus on following the protocols the team has laid out for you.

Your personal trainer or coach is one of the largest cogs in the wheels and often, too much or all emphasis is placed here, neglecting the rest of the team. I propose for you to change the approach and ensure the rest of the team is playing an equal and active role, allowing each of your team members the ability to work in unison and to their limits, not overstepping their respective positions. Placing all your eggs in one basket is a recipe for disaster.

Putting all these components together, all working harmoniously, this is what makes up an Olympic Athlete. Sometimes the Olympians hands are placed in one direction while other times another. Sometimes the Olympic athlete looks lean and fit while others are buff. Sometimes an ankle is taped to prevent, while others go barefoot.  And sometimes you’ll see or hear a coach or two in each ear. The Olympics are about more than the awe-inspiring performances and representation of the 80 plus countries displaying their talents. It’s about The TEAM and all the components that go into accomplishing the greatness. You too can achieve greatness by employing this TEAM concept. Become your own Olympian and Light your own Torch!





Jerry & Estella Hayes_BL

Team Diana Nyad – Goal Achieved

Diana Nyad’s recent achievement  is stunning in so many ways, but now that she has accomplished her latest GOAL, what’s next for the 64-year old aquatic wonder? The lessons learned by her feat are too numerous to cover in writing, but here is a start to this dialogue.

Nyad, accompanied by a support team of 35, departed Havana Cuba on a recent Saturday morning en route to Key West, Florida. She wouldn’t catch a flight or a boat, rather she would attempt for the fifth time to cross the 103 mile track by swimming the entire distance cage free and without fins! When we’re talking the ocean swim, that’s a big enough feat onto itself. Warding off jellyfish , sharks, the elements of weather, and the potential hyper/hypothermia: that’s simply another beast.

A long distance swimmer with years of experience and determination beyond belief, Nyad and her team would attempt the crossing after four previous failed attempts. Illness, weather, and jellyfish stings would hamper previous crossings.

The author of three motivational books and world renowned speaker continued to test her limits, reaching outside the box for the answers that would fulfill her determination.

We can talk about her age, the difficulties she had to endure, her discipline, her focus, her GOAL, and her TEAM.

Jerry & Estella Hayes - Biggest Loser Season 7Age is no barrier!  I call attention to seniors Jerry and Estella Hayes, recent contestants on the reality show NBC’s The Biggest Loser. Not only were they both lost in years of protective wall building and hiding, the Hayes realized their extended family would not have the chance to see their parents and grandparents much longer if indeed they both did not change their physical and mental well being. Jerry and Estelle made the commitment and learned how to prepare and eat smart foods, and exercise to the fullest of  their potentials. Each challenged themselves daily to change and better themselves. Each had their struggles but eloquently followed the course outlined for them by the BL TEAM.

The Hayes recaptured their health and well-being and now continue to spread the message of their successes with encouragement for others to achieve what once was only a dream.

Her lips blue and swollen as she swam through the night, Nyad was unable to hold down foods at called feeding times. Profuse vomiting and dehydration would ensue. To keep her core body temperature warm, the TEAM decided to have Nyad swim through the night until daybreak, extending her feeding time a bit so to maintain a solid core temperature. This way she could maximize her “running engine” vs. trying to stop and start like the breezy, thunderous night air. Kudos to her medical team for their efforts and guarded care!

A team of divers would advance the way to clear pockets of jellyfish and ward off any potential shark sightings. Remember she is not in a cage as in others’ previous crossings.

Basically her team and divers were saying: “Follow the path we set out for you and you’ll get to your destination!” How often have we had this done for us in our own endeavors and not accomplished the task? WHY?

Traveling at an average of 2.2 miles an hour, the trip would land Nyad and her team on the shores of Key West mid day, ironically 53 or so hours later, Nyad would accomplish her GOAL. There, so many sat and watched, content lying on the sand and cheering. Here comes Nyad and her dolphin esque skills, swimming to shore! No, not your average spin class, crossfit WOD, or treadmill workout. This lady was swimming from damn Cuba to Florida!

There was no quit, even from a cautious medical TEAM of doctors noticing slurred speech, nausea, swollen tongue, and vomiting from the sea water. Her core temperatures must have been crazy, and by all accounts she really may have been too sick to continue. No, not this time. The jellyfish would not get the best of her as she wore a specially made face mask to ward off such stingers. This too would cause another obstacle as the mask would cause severe bruising inside her mouth from the repetitive facial movements while turning her head to the side and breathing. Still, seawater would be swallowed.  WOW, how did Diana stay focused on her GOAL, how did she navigate, and stay desired?

There are no better examples of what the word TEAM means after watching this accomplishment. And to Nyad’s credit , she trusted her TEAM to help her achieve. Changes were made based on previous failures. Nyad afterword would praise the facial mask she wore as the tipping point to her successes. A silicone mask was indeed the savior of her two plus day escapade through dangerous channels. Doctors, drivers, divers, navigators, nutritionists, coaches and the like worked tirelessly to put Nyad in a position to succeed.  Nyad’s individual accomplishment would only be attainable if indeed all the Team’s components played in unison!

The takeaway messages from Nyad’s triumph will continue to develop over the days, weeks, and months ahead. Her powerful message and inspiration directed to so many, almost begging us all to take note. “Find the obstacles that may present and be prepared for anything to the best of your ability!” This foresight prevented  the unexpected to take place.

Here are some of the messages I took from watching this incredible accomplishment:

AGE- Never a factor!

DESIRE- Never in question!

DISCIPLINE- Never questioned!

TEAM- The overwhelming winner here!


What’s next for Nyad? I would only hope she continues to spread the all important messages she so beautifully exhibited. This, my friends, is a powerful message that was delivered to our laps so eloquently. Now, the better question is how can we incorporate her powerful display into our own protocols and ventures? Will we listen to the trumpet she played for us? Do I have a support TEAM in place and am I following the lead they are displaying?


Don’t let this superb accomplishment go unnoticed. Take the will and desire from Diana Nyad and play your own trumpet.





“The Way A Team Plays As A Whole Determines Its Success. You May Have The Greatest Bunch Of Individual Stars In The World; But If They Don’t Play Together, The Club Won’t Be Worth A Dime. ” –  BABE RUTH


Having spent many years of my career as a Certified Athletic Trainer in professional baseball, at the Minor League and Major League level, I understand the importance of the TEAM concept and what it takes for a TEAM to be successful. For example, a baseball team is comprised of 25 players, the manager, coaches, and a Certified Athletic Trainer ( NATA / BOC ). For today’s game, the major league level has a greater auxiliary and coaching staff.

Typically in the United States, a season lasts from Spring Training reporting in February and runs until late September or early October (if you’re fortunate). Most teams play the requisite 30 or so spring

 training games and then march right into the 162 game regular Season. The drills of spring training would only be played out in the ensuing months, although no two games were ever the same or would you know when that muscle memory would have to “kick into gear” to successfully throw the runner out from various positions in the infield or outfield. Training meant the endless bullpen “sidelines” with the pitching coach correcting mechanics or saying nothing. It also meant endless time in the batting cage with the hitting instructor doing soft toss drills. Yes, the players were all trying to hone their skills, fighting to become the best they could become to progress to the level above and ultimately the Major Leagues.

The same 25 players and staff  had to come together day in and day out and perform as TEAMMATES. No successes would come from the individual stellar pitching performance, if indeed an offensive catalyst or

two were absent. Conversely, a great offensive night by 8, combined with poor pitching by several, spelled trouble and bellyache for the Manager.

What really makes up a great TEAM?

For the purpose of this writing I turn to Wikipedia to give us the textbook definition of TEAM: A team comprises a group of people or animals linked in a common purpose.

Teams are especially appropriate for conducting tasks that are high in complexity and have many interdependent subtasks.

A group in itself does not necessarily constitute a team. Teams normally have members with complementary skills and generate synergy through a coordinated effort, which allows each member to maximize his/her strengths and minimize his/her weaknesses. Team members need to learn how to help one another, help other team members realize their true potential, and create an environment that allows everyone to go beyond their limitations.[1] A team becomes more than just a collection of people when a strong sense of mutual commitment creates synergy, thus generating performance greater than the sum of the performance of its individual members.


Taking the definition alone back to our baseball team, a pitcher couldn’t perform if indeed he/she didn’t have the catcher guiding them or having the position players playing in unison. The synergy generated by this coordinated approach allows just what the definition states: maximizing the strengths and minimizing the weakness. Going beyond one’s true potential can only happen when the team performs together on the same platform, thus allowing the individuals to compliment one another and reach this ultimate level of competition. The combined synergistic energies are what makes a team just that. The classic definition says that the mutual sum of these combined efforts are much greater than the individual accolades.

Success was not a given and true commitment to helping the team was paramount. Incredibly, I came across many players with the “I-I-ME-ME” mentality. Everything was about them! When talking of the team they would often emit “I did this or I did that” VERSUS “we did this and we did that.” This meant they were truly more impressed with their individual successes and the team concept never entered their equations.

It is the greatest feeling when a team comes together and becomes so good together, almost great. Many in the game term this as a “Push Button” club. The manager’s role becomes limited to showing up to the park and pushing a button, if you will, and the TEAM goes out and performs, day in and day out without fail. No change in chemistry is needed as all systems are go! The team is winning games, Players are in the positions they’re supposed to be in, the correct pitch is thrown in the most crucial of situations, timely hitting occurs daily, and the manager sits and watches the fruits of success ripen from the intense daily instruction and practice.

This is a great time for me to introduce you to an article I read on playing together as a TEAM. From my perspective, and as one that has witnessed thousands of games from the dugout perspective, this writing is pretty on point! It comes to us from a blog post entitled THIS OLE GAME: http://www.theoleballgame.com/baseball-teamwork.html. THIS post stands out for me because it reminds me of the Championship Teams I had the honor of working with! All eight components were ever present with those clubs, the philosophies were the same if you will. Thats why I believe they’re applicable! Here they are:

8 Concepts For Teamwork, Or Playing Together As A Team

  1. We can all count on each other.
  2. Accept your role on the team.
  3. Finding a way to win.
  4. Be willing to make some personal sacrifices.
  5. Help each other out.
  6. Understand what we can control and what we cannot.
  7. Anyone ~ Anytime.
  8. Walk the talk.

Unfortunately, the TEAM didn’t always come together. The individuals continued to star, albeit not in unison. One player shines one day, another the next, and the result more often than not is not enough to beat the opponent. This group, for whatever reason, just doesn’t seem to work in harmony. This is when It was tough to come to the park every day! Defeated attitudes filled with negativity. Even “one’ could spoil the whole bunch. This is what player development was about. It was survival of the fittest in the baseball world, with the cream rising to the top. Work approaches were either so finely tuned or so off. More often than not, “The successful” had their routines and went about their business quietly, unnoticeable but oh so productive. Those who struggled, struggled! On and off the Field! “Poor work ethic. Not focused. Negative attitude. Not having the ability to complement their teammates.”

Athletic teams are driven to the ultimate, the championship of that given sport! The NFL’s Super Bowl, MLB’s World Series, NHL’s Stanley Cup, . You get the point. These are the ultimate, the pinnacles! These are the Goals all good teams strive to achieve. From the family perspective, are all the necessary components in place to achieve a similar goal?

What’s in it for Us?

My message here is presented and revealed in the form of several self questions:

  • Are you doing your best to be a team player?
  • Are the players around you complimenting you and your play, day in and day out or are they hindering your progress?
  • Are you all on the same mission?
  • Do your “teammates” all have the same goals in mind or are they playing for themselves?
  • Is your Support Team of Coaches, Physicians, Certified Athletic Trainers and Personal Trainers “on point”?
  • Are family members on board and if not, why not?
  • What can you do to better this situation?
  • Am I too much “I-I-ME-ME” versus “US-US-WE-WE”?

Remember, constant re-evaluation of your “team’s roster” is paramount to achieve continued success for yourself and the franchise.