Actively Building a Team

Building a team is an active process that continuously needs to be worked on. An encouraging atmosphere encourages positive relationships between you and your teammates. Skills you develop include communication, decision-making, and conflict resolution.

In the past, the blueprint of a team was the coach, a captain, and the rest of the members. The coach enforced the rules and kept everyone in check. The captain was the dominant player that took initiative and everyone else followed along. Today, teams are full of team players. It is a greater coordinated effort to get the best results as more are involved and have a voice in decisions ("Team Building."). Remember to encourage a cooperative atmosphere on your team. A better understanding of team building will help you be an active member of your team.

Tips for Facilitating Team-building Challenges ("Newsletter")

  1. Discourage negative pressure from the very start. Stress to the group that it is unacceptable to pressure another by acting impatient or showing displeasure.
  2. Encourage praise. This can be difficult for some because they are not accustomed to praising others. To encourage praise, set the example and praise appropriately.
  3. Assign the members to teams. Groups of 8 – 12 work best.
  4. Avoid solving the challenges for students. It is acceptable for them to struggle.
  5. If possible, allow a group to work on the challenges in the next class period if they do not finish. It is important for them to learn to follow through, complete tasks and fight through frustrations and time constraints.
  6. Be aware of liability issues. Plan activities that do not require a waiver or parental consent. Certain common-sense guidelines should be followed. The best way to remember them is with the acronym PEEP – Personal Environmental, Emotional and Physical safety:

    * Personal safety requires each participant to have proper clothing and footwear. Items such as belts and jewelry should be prohibited. 

    * Environmental safety requires that the area be clear of debris or obstacles that could cause injury. 

    * Emotional safety is mindful that challenge should be a choice. None of the activities should create fear. If students are uncomfortable with one or more of the activities don't force them to participate or embarrass them. 

    * Physical safety means not allowing participants to do activities that are not safe-standing on another's shoulders, standing on the middle of another's back while they are on all fours, and not doing activities that may launch participants into the air. Remind all students to protect the heads of others.
    Here are some activities that are simple and do not require a lot of money. Each encourages team cooperation and achievement ("Newsletter )

Ball Pass

  • Materials: 6 to 8 different sized balls
  • Optimal number of players: 8 to 12
  • Approximate activity time: 10 minutes
  • Activity: Individuals numbers off 1 to-. Place players in a circle, but not in numerical order (i.e., Player 2 should not stand next to Players 1 or 3 etc.) Player 1 throws to Player 2; Player 2 throws to Player 3; Player 3 throws to Player 4, etc. Start with one ball and add up to 6 to 8 as players increase skills.

Team on a T-Shirt

  • Materials: T-shirt or small towel
  • Optimal number of players: 8 to 12
  • Approximate activity time: 15 to 20 minutes
  • Activity: Place t-shirt or small towel on the floor. All players must attempt to be over the t-shirt or have at least one foot on it for no less than ten seconds. No one may touch the floor. If players remove shoes, clear them away from the activity area; no standing on the shoulders of other players.

Log Off

  • Materials: 1 balance beam or 12' to 14' x 2" x 6" plank or tape on floor
  • Optimal number of players: 1 person per foot of log
  • Approximate activity time: 30 minutes
  • Activity: Students number off and stand on log in numerical order. The object is for the players to get to another player's (number's) spot without falling off. For example, if there are ten players, 1 and 10 switch, 2 and 9 switch, 3 and 8 switch, etc. If a player falls off, everyone must go back to their original positions and start over.

Electric Fence

  • Materials: High jump standards, a high jump bar and padded mats. Set the height of the bar so that it is challenging but not dangerous. Chest height on the average person in the group is recommended.
  • Optimal number of players: 9 to 12
  • Approximate activity time: 30 to 40 minutes
  • Activity: The object is to get all players over the fence without anyone's clothing or body touching it. Should this happen, the entire group must start over. Facilitator is responsible for spotting the first and last player over. For safety precaution, ensure that padded mats are located on both sides of the crossbar, there is no standing on the shoulders of others; no throwing bodies; no diving forward rolls; and no standing in the middle of another's back if they are on all fours.

Caterpillar

  • Materials: None
  • Optimal number of players: 8 to 12
  • Approximate activity time: 20 minutes
  • Activity: Take total number of players and multiply by 1.5. Assign half the number as "hands" and other half as "feet." Players arrange themselves in a way that the number of hands or feet which group has touching the ground at any given time does not exceed the number allowed. Players should stay connected and move together from point A to point B. To define "connected" provide an example of one person touching a live wire so that all players would feel it. If the group comes apart or falls, they must start over.

All of these activities help bring a group of individuals together as a team, Each exercise works on communication, decision-making and conflict resolution. Bring more ideas to practice to encourage positive growth through team effort. The more active you are as a team member the more successful your team will be. You are as important as your teammates but only if you all work together.

References

"Newsletter | CanadianSport.ca." 6/11/2008 
"Team Building." 6/12/2008

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