I am currently an upperclassman at a university, and rising to a position of leadership in the school's rugby club. Last year, our team suffered a severe lack of leadership, and as a result failed to build camaraderie. We are young and we are talented, but we need to come together or I fear we're going to fail as a team this coming season.
Does anyone have ideas on how to better bring a team together and help build that bond that all great teams depend upon? I'm trying to organize team dinners and more social outings with the fairer sex, but any ideas would be appreciated.
Start with watching a play of game on TV and BBQ at someone's place.
After that make it a ritual that post practice you dine together, to blow off steam and talk.
Once people get used to each other socially. Beyond that it really is time together building a joint expecince.
I enjoy a game called Mafia. It is very easy to play and lots of fun if you have a large group. You can look up directions online but here is a basic rundown for say 15 people and one moderator.
1)Get a deck of cards and pull out 2 kings and 2 aces and then 11 face cards. Shuffle the cards and with everyone sitting in a circle the moderator deals everyone one card.
2)Make sure nobody sees anyone else card. I someone was dealt a king they are in the Mafia. If they were dealt an ace they are a night watchman or detective. All others are towns people. Have everyone put their card face down under their seat for the rest of the game. After you see what card you are dealt no one else should see your card.
3)The moderator tells everyone to go so sleep for the first night; everyone puts their face down and closes their eyes. Now the moderator tells the mafia to wake up and they look around and quietly agree on who will get knocked off that night. The moderator then tells the mafia to go to sleep.
4)Moderator tells the detectives to wake up and they agree on one person who they suspect as being in the mafia. The moderator gives them a thumbs up or down to let them know if they are correct and they then go to sleep.
5)Moderator tells everyone to wake up and he announces who was killed during the night.
6)Now everyone discusses who they think the mafia is. Once someone accuses another player of being the mafia and another player seconds that accusation then the accused is allowed to plead his case before a vote is taken. If the majority vote that he is the mafia he is killed also. If majority do not vote him then discussion continues until someone is voted out.
7)Moderator calls night time tells everyone to go to sleep and steps 3-6 are repeated until the mafia kill everyone or all the mafia are removed.
With some beers this can be pretty fun and once you play a few rounds it moves fairly fast. You learn a lot about each other and get to see peoples personalities come out.
I thought that rugby team building = beer + blood.
Is there a particularly tough rugby team available to hold an expo match with? Something tough enough that they must pull together to handle?
I absolutely like this idea the best. I'm thinking we can play an expo match against one of the men's clubs in the area. I've trained with a lot of their players, and a friendly but knock-down drag-out match against some big goons is a brilliant idea. Beers afterward, naturally.
So what have you done?
How did it go?
We haven't reconvened for the season yet, as it's still summer break. For right now it's just barbecues and training with the teammates who are still in town. I'll have an update once the season gets going though! Thanks to all for the constructive comments.
One suggestion would be setting up events outside of the party of competition theme. Doing some local volunteering as a team will give each member a sense of belonging in the community they help shape, regardless of where they are from. I am sure your university has resources readily available if you wish to give it a try.
My experience in team building is that the most important thing is stepping out of the comfort zone. For rugby players, rugby is the comfort zone. Sounds silly to write it as I have played, and there is nothing comfortable about it haha. It's about the social comfort zone.
The thing is: During a training and a match everyone stays in his specific role. You will not learn more about each other, because the roles are defined. To build a team, it's very important to leave those roles behind and discover each others personal secrets. Not the dirty things they did in high school, but the personality secrets. The scrawny quiet little fellow might turn out a powerful leader when things turn sour.
A BBQ and drinks makes friends and acquaintances. To build a team you have to push this band of ruffians to the point they start to fight. The point where they are exhausted, hungry and angry. This is good. This is the point where things start to escalate and leaders are born. Leaders need a crisis to show their skills and establish themselves as a leader. The point is that you must orchestrate this crisis so that the team will eventually figure out that they are not angry with each other, but angry at the situation, and they can only get out by working together.
This all is the same thing why boot camp works in the military, why hazing works in fraternity's (i don't know about american hazing, but here it's two weeks of dirty stinking sleeping (very little) in the mud hell combined with a genius amount of mental and moral chickenshit).
Crisis and hardship work in team building. Just remember you can't do it in a day. Take three days, take seven. One day things don't work.
Dinners are good, but they're only half the battle. Not everyone shares common ground or interests, nor are lots of people extroverts nowadays. Do something that you can all talk about later. At my command, the Chiefs regularly hold team building exercises when they've just graduated a new mess of Chiefs or if new ones have come to the command. Most recently, they organized a zip-lining trip at a local place here. After that, they all went back to one Chief's house and had a big cookout (with a few beers to loosen up) and talked and laughed about the trip. Smooth sailing from then on.
Trip to Vegas. One hotel room. One rental car. One expense account.