In the realm of team sports, the unity of a team is paramount for athletes who are motivated by not letting their teammates down, and striving collectively for greatness. Under Armour recognised this essence and took to AI to create a highly motivational team talk by analysing impactful speeches and historical narratives to develop and create the greatest “Team Talk” ever made.
Partnering with actor Ashley Walters, they fuse human and machine, resulting in 'The Ultimate Team Talk.' This AI-generated speech, set against intense sports visuals, resonates with athletes' commitment and motivations, embodying the “Protect This House” campaign's spirit.
To create the speech, Under Armour consulted sports psychology literature and spoke to football stars which included Liverpool and England defender Trent Alexander-Arnold. Those insights identified ‘twelve elements that are likely to increase the effectiveness of a pre-game talk delivered by a coach or captain in a team sport environment,’ as described by Under Armour.
As the ‘Ultimate Team Talk’ spreads across the globe, the South African Under Armour athletes reflect on what being a part of a team means to them…
Miguel Timm (Orlando Pirates Footballer): “In the arena of sports, our strength multiplies when we stand together as a team. The support we give and receive becomes the driving force behind our individual and collective success.”
Thabo Phila Nodada (Cape Town City Footballer): “Team motivation is the heartbeat of our journey. It's the belief in each other that propels us forward, and the knowledge that we're part of something greater than ourselves that fuels our passion."
Nthabiseng Mothutsi (Professional Netball Player; Limpopo Baobabs): “Being a part of a team isn't just about playing alongside others; it's about knowing that when your own strength wavers, the team's strength lifts you up. Together, we overcome obstacles that seemed insurmountable alone – together, we Protect This House."
Robyn Moodaly (Professional Soccer Player; Banyana Banyana and JVW Football Club): “The 'Protect This House' mantra embodies the essence of a team. It's a pledge to defend not just the physical space, but also the dreams, aspirations, and efforts of each teammate. When we feel like giving up, it's the commitment to our team that pushes us beyond our limits. It’s not a team, it’s a sisterhood."
Siviwe ‘Shakes’ Soyizwapi (Professional Rugby Player; Springbok Sevens): “Athletes understand that when we hit our breaking point, it's not the end – it's the moment when the team steps in. 'Protect This House' reminds us that we're surrounded by individuals who believe in us, who inspire us, and who won't let us down. The “team” is the ultimate source of resilience."
Phepsi Buthelezi (Professional Rugby Player; Sharks): "Our individual talents may get us on the field, but it's our collective teamwork that keeps us in the game. Together, we create a symphony of effort, echoing the spirit of 'Protect This House' with every move we make. It’s an honour to be put there with my teammates."
As Under Armour athletes, they individually recognise the value in offering support, inspiration, and motivation to their fellow teammates, realising that their actions directly influence the team's overall performance. Being a teammate in a team sport is like being a piece of a puzzle that, when put together, creates an innovative and dynamic sporting picture. It's a role that transcends individual excellence but rather part of a collective force.
Much like the AI Team Talk video, where the research was synthesised into a set of principles and themes to underpin the AI model’s output, including grit and determination, preparedness, growth mindset, positive framing, visualisation, and underdog energy; The Protect This House mantra too, goes far beyond just words…
In essence, being a teammate in a team sport teaches us to Protect This House in any way, matter or form – each and every day.