Today we took the entire team to the local bowling alley to have some fun together. In the past few weeks we've had numerous meets cancelled, and the idea of taking kids to a local business to compete and enjoy one another's company was simply too good to pass up! I know this isn't a traditional practice plan, but I wanted to discuss the importance of what happened today - team bonding.
Yes, we have had meets cancelled and athletes (and coaches) are starting to get "itchy", but today was absolutely wonderful. Experiences like this are what help athletes to feel like part of something "more". When this happens, athletes push even harder to compete for one another and not simply just themselves. Building a sense of team/family is an absolute necessity if you hope to achieve greatness as a team.
I watched as athletes that generally don't converse much at practice laugh and enjoy their time together. I watched as athletes from various lanes cheered one another on and had friendly competitions. The memories they built today will last much longer than just this season, and may be something they remember more than any meet we get to compete in as the year continues.
As we (Wisconsinites) continue to battle the poor weather we've been given please look for opportunities to have fun and build a family dynamic with your team. Things like bowling, a dodge ball tournament, some kind of relay competition, etc. can go a long way in keeping our frustrated athletes happy and motivated.
I will be working on approaches tomorrow to prepare for our 2 (planned) meets on Thursday. Athletes need to continue to get practice at approaches with how many meets they are missing. Approaches are all about timing, experience, and rhythm. Without meets this can be extremely hard to build!