Teams, like competitors, should be grouped in two divisions - the professional and the amateur. There's nothing wrong with being an amateur - you're learning the ropes and you're getting progressively better (at least let's hope so). But some groups don't necessarily offer you the best conditions to grow from.
Let's say for example, a certain group is fixated with idolizing its founder - in some situations this might be called a cult of personality, where everyone in the group tries to live accordingly to the will of the leader. If the person running the group is a woman - there's usually a maternalistic relationship (if it's a man, then paternalistic), where the leader takes the form of a parent.
These groups are dangerous because everything comes second to appeasing the person on the top of the mountain. The athlete's own training, however, as well as their nutrition, posing, and self-marketing, are of a lesser priority than what's best for the collective good of the team. You're a team player right?Sound like a cult? This how David Koresh got started, only he was quoting from the Bible, not Muscle & Fitness magazine.
In keeping with the (usually) small, backward teams you should watch out for, there's usually a chosen one (or two). Usually these small teams are fronts for 2nd rate up-and-coming gurus that then promote one or two athletes at a time. Because teams are largely a women's phenomenon (primarily found in Figure & Bikini), these groups usually only have one star they push, with one sidekick (other teams that may have a woman and a man, but again... few bodybuilders will join a team, it's a common sight in the fitness industry).
I'm sorry to have to be sexist here -- but women are generally more emotional than men; couple that with drastically low carbs and you have the optimal conditions to pull a fast one, to really dupe a person. It's easier to con women in these situations than men. Hate me all you want for saying so, but the proof's in the pudding. How many men do you know are scraping by to hand the money they don't have (prolly comin from their diet, supp, or training budget to give it to a woman that teaches five or ten male bodybulders how to be better bodybuilders? I doubt you'll find too many of these situations. Sorry.
In smaller (usually local) operations, women join these clubs with the hope of winning a few rinky dink local titles to get some momentum at the regional and national level. Very few of the women that drop the big bucks, while living on shoestring budgets, see themselves being amateurs for very long. It's easy to sell salvation to those that feel the end is near; it's easy to sell pipedreams of pro cards and supplement contacts to the woman that thinks she has the God given genetics of Ingrid Romero, the posing skills of Corey Everson, and the untapped ahtleticism of Kelly "Flying" Ryan at her prime. Sadly, it's these poor delusional basketcases that fund the madness that gives the soapbox guru the means to keep the sharade going. These kooks will never win a local show much less ever go pro. It's sad. But what's more depressing - the fact there's women this delusional - or - that there's teams that take their money and water their hopeless dreams with even more ridiculous accolades and distant, some might say totally non-existent, objectives that lay ahead for them?
Some of the leaders of these teams are essentially streetcorner hustlers, ready to comfort a sobby widow by the graveside of her husband, ready to milk her for all she's worhth like so many gifted psychics that litter the backpages of tabloids and have made it to daytime tv.
The Chosen One(s)
No matter how much she pays, she'll never have the favor that the chosen one(s) has - chosen by the leader. Her friends and family can tell her what's up till their blue in the face; the ATF blasted similar attempts at reasonsing, through PA systems in Waco, but that didn't stop the Branch Davidians - they stayed at Mt. Carmel, as I'm sure many of the shortsighted, feeble minded members of small, local 'teams' will keep paying and keep playing (along), as the chosen one(s) keeps raking in those empty wins that build up that tiny fire at the regional level and that little bit of smoke nationally. It doesn't really amount to much. The judges at Nationals, the USA's, Team Universe... they don't care if you won the Ms. Main St. There - you either bring it - or you don't.
Do politics play a role in national judging? Perhaps. But why on Earth would anyone pay to get screwed? Well.. competitively-speaking?
I don't like to make broad generalizations, but sometimes when you do so, you spare people from potentially problematic situations, even though I'm sure there's a great many local teams that stand to the test and do great work by and for their members. I'm not sold on the majority of them though.
If a woman asked me about joining a team, I'd point her to Team Edge, Bombshell, SAVE Fitness, or Oddo's Angels. These are the professionals - in terms of teams. If I was a woman looking to compete and I wanted to help myself, get an edge, network, and develop lasting reltionships, I'd invest the $500-$1,500 in a team that would really help me reach my goals. In the end, when you pay the big bucks - you're really investing in YOURSELF - you shouldn't be investing in the career of the girl that wins ALL THE TIME or the guru that promotes shows and has his/her face or his/her name on every flyer, every handbill, every webpage, or every tangible or intangible piece format known to man (woman).
The investment should be in YOU - the person paying. You'd think this would be pretty elementary, but if you're a brainwashed, delusiional robot - this might seem like the biggest no-no, the ultimate in treachery and betrayal, the most selfish, backward load of crap you'd ever want to be associated with, gotta check with the "coach" if you can think this way, better not let the other girls hear you read this to yourself, gotta "get to group" later, can't be late. lol
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