Sunday, January 8, 2012

Cup drill

Teaching teamwork can be difficult particularly if a majority of the group has never played a team sport before. For a roller derby team to be successful each individual must work for the group's goals.
Teams rely on each member to perform duties, fill in holes and communicate effectively.

The following drill won't teach you how to hit or give a whip, but it's something to help take your mind off game mechanics, relax and learn a little bit about teamwork. 

This works best with medium sized groups (5 to 15 players). If you have a lot of players, split them up into two different groups. Each group forms a closely knit circle with each player sitting on his or her knees. (You can sit on your butt, but there's a lot of reaching toward the center.)

Each player has a plastic cup placed in front of her with the cup mouth on the ground. On the command to start, each player will reach to his or her right (with either hand is fine), pick up your neighbor's cup and place it in front of the player to your left. If everyone does it all at the same time, then good. If not, try again. Sometimes the timing can be off or a player reaches for the wrong cup. Give the command to start again.

Once the players get comfortable with this drill have them start picking up the pace, emphasizing that everyone must move their cups in unison. A distinctive "Kloph" sound will let you know it's working. The intensity rises as the pace quickens, and eventually everyone is working together to perform the same task.

After trying the same direction for awhile, or once the team has gotten really good at going a particular direction, ask them to switch the direction of the rotation.

Everyone is working for the same goal, and it requires each player to play at a level as high as their weakest player. If someone's slower at it, the whole pace will be slower, but eventually that player will start getting better. That's the point of teamwork - finding the hardest workers, who can co-exist with other players and make the entire unit stronger.

I use this drill as a tension breaker, as something fun if we need to tone down our focus. The reaction at first is generally chaotic, but eventually everyone understands the concept and the lesson it teaches.