If you get the chance to use some training time, or a day in the school holidays to do some team building games with your swimmers it’s a must, especially if you have some big swimming competitions coming up!
These team exercises don’t necessarily have to be done in the swimming pool or even on pool side as the idea is to build the teams strength and provide them with a little fun and excitement without any stress. They could be added into some land based training that your squad does.
What is Team Building?
Team building is creating games and activities for a group of people to help bonding or getting to know each other. In a swimming club, this is the perfect tool for motivation if you have a squad who are dropping in morale, who haven’t met many times before or are having their break between seasons.
Exercises and Games…
So the first team building exercise is the classic Treasure Hunt. Divide your swimmers into smaller teams and set them clues and challenges to find a prize. This is a fantastic team building game for swimmers as it helps to bring out that competitive edge that they all have! If your swimming club is within a relatively large leisure centre then you can relate it to all things swimming and do it inside. If you have a large sports ground outside, then even better to get them out in the fresh air. This game is great for any age and of any group size.
The Cup Game is a real favourite of mine as a swimmer and coach as it can be done easily on poolside before a session. It’s really simple too…Get together a load of plastic cups and place it upside down on the floor. A pair of swimmers face each other with one cup between them in streamline. A coach, friend or parent says ‘take your marks…go!’ and the swimmer to grab the cup from the floor fastest wins. Doesn’t sound like much now, but trust me, when a large group of swimmers get together for this you would never believe how excited and competitive they get about grabbing a cup!! This is a great exercise as they also practice their streamline, work on their reaction time and bring out their competitive edge.
Back to Back Drawing is a lot different to the previous games. Sit 2 swimmers back to back, give one a pen and paper and the other an object or shape. The person with the object has to describe to the person drawing exactly what it looks like without saying what it is. This is great for a team that lacks in communication or has some shy members.
Shipwreck is a great game for doing that forces the team to work together to ‘survive.’ Tell them their boat has just crashed and there is room on the lifeboat for all of them and 12 other items. The group has to work together to decide which 12 items they will need to survive on the desert island nearby. You will be surprised to see what they rank as their highest priority and life essentials! Make sure that you as a supervisor encourage any quieter members to get their voice heard. You’ll also be able to quickly tell who the leaders in the team are.
Other Team Building Tips…
Ensure you encourage each swimmer to congratulate each other for even the smallest of things. This not only boosts the team but individually can have a great effect.
By getting the club heading out together is another great exercise that just needs a time and a place set. This can be really simple, such as a trip bowling, ice skating, paintballing or even having a club party for any reason at all – Christmas, Halloween or even a summer BBQ. All the time the team are together, they are getting to know each other more and building camaraderie!
Do some relays at the end of a training session! By splitting up the squad and putting them into teams to race is a great ending to a hard training session. It will send all the swimmers home on a high and their last memory of their training session won’t be the incredibly hard set they’ve swum but the excitement of their relay!