I love having my teams do team building activities. This love for team building began when I became a provincial team coach. These teams had athletes from rival clubs, who needed to become teammates in a very short period of time. Games focussed on team building are the best ways I have found to bring groups together.
The Game: Underwater line-up
The Rules: Line up all the swimmers on one edge. They need to swim underwater to the other side of the pool and rearrange themselves according to the request you give them. Depending on the group, you can send them underwater then as they get close to the opposite wall you can tell them your request on the microphone. The team needs to figure out the correct order underwater before they surface.
Here are some great requests:
1. Line up according to birth month or age
2. Line up shortest to tallest
3. Line up according to years competing synchro
4. Line up alphabetically; first name or last name
5. Line up alphabetically by club name
Modifications: Give your request to the team before you send them underwater and let them figure out the order as they are swimming. Swim widths instead of lengths. Or do it on land without talking.
The Game: human knot, but in the water.
The Rules: The rules are the same as on land. Everyone grab two hands from different people that are not beside you. In the water you need to add some safety rules. The team needs to watch what their legs are doing so no-one gets kicked. If someone needs to breath they can let go without punishment.
Modifications: You can have the team do the human knot at every practice and time them. Eventually they will be so good at it that you need to try something else. You can do this on land blind folded or silent.
The Game: Stick toss.(group juggling)
The Rules: You have the team stand in a circle. Using a stick, someone calls out a teammates name and then toss the stick to that same person. (The stick is tossed in a “cheers” motion) The stick is held vertically and tossed underhand vertically. The team does this until everyone on the team has caught and tossed the stick.
Modifications: use a ball instead of a stick. You can add another stick if your team is really good. The ball/stick can be tossed in silence. The swimmers make eye contact with the person they are going to throw to and then throw. This can get scary. Keep safety in mind at all times.
Now is a great time to infuse some fun into training and to make sure your team is starting to function at a high level.
Let me know how your teams do with the games. Do you have a favourite you would like to share? Write it below in the comments section or leave it on my Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/TheOnlineSynchroCoach