What team building activities do you do in-season with your players? Most of us have heard about teams going to exclusive resorts or being involved with some sort of expensive team building program or event. The cost alone will exclude most teams from participating in these types of events.
In the past I have used inexpensive ways to bring the team together and work on building the chemistry, leadership and culture of the team. Here are a few:
- Habitat for Humanity work day
- Museum visits
- NASCAR shop visits
- Snowmobile parties
- Sightseeing tours
I asked some of my coaching friends to tell us what they do.
Danny Brooks, assistant coach with the Drummondville Voltigeurs in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey league, had an extensive list of events that included rappelling 80 feet down the side of a building, working with ropes 60 feet up in trees, sport psychology sessions, and paintball. The team also uses ‘work ethic’ and ‘self esteem’ charts.
In our team building we jumped off the building, we climbed up the trees etc. Players want to know you are going to war with them. We are leaders who lead the charge not stand back and yell and give orders. If we ask our players to jump we jump first. Team building is critical in the success of the team both in short term events i.e. world juniors and in an 80 game season.
At the high school level coach Frank Hubley keeps it simple. His players already have full schedules with school and other activities.
With team building we use our off-ice sessions. We break the team into groups of 5-6 and work out in the weight room and run the stairs. We also have team meetings with the players.
At Ohio State assistant coach Jason Lammers talks about a neat team building exercise that the team just did.
We have really tried to focus on our team. Today we did a great one! We made a spider web and each of the guys had to fit through one of the holes in the web. It was great!
We are really trying to educate our leaders with articles, talks, and actions to show them how to be more effective.
Lots of coaches are using creative team building events to improve their teams and players. Most would agree that this can lead to greater individual and team success. It can be a lot of fun too!