Team-building – a coach’s essential tool
Nine years ago I was searching for the perfect team-building activity for the collegiate
soccer team I was coaching. Not an easy feat. Maybe it was because I was so demanding…but I was looking for something that would challenge the players physically, emotionally, and mentally. So yeah, going out to a restaurant and a movie was not an option.
As I spend several hours searching through the web looking for the perfect activity, I fell on Kinadapt’s website – an outdoor training center. This looked interesting. Click on the page and what do I see – puppies! Okay, I have to be honest here. I am a biologist by profession. I love the outdoors, nature and most specifically wildlife. So seeing all these dogs just made me smile and completely won me over. Now, to see if they could meet my needs and expectations.
So the next step is a phone call. I’ve got my list of needs and expectations for my camp, as well as the objectives that I would like to reach with my team. I had a quick conversation with Peter, co-owner and kinesiologist and realized right away that this could work. We arranged for me to go down and see that lay of the land, and have a sit-down to plan exactly what we could do. Needless to say I was excited at the prospect, and hopeful that I might have found just the right activity for my team.
My first visit
I drove up to Kinadapt and spent, what should have been an hour or two, a whole day with the wonderful Kinadapt family. And yes, a friendship of respect and love was born. I absolutely fell in love with everything and everyone! With them I was able to create training camps for my teams that focused on physical training, communication, teamwork, leadership, and emotional and mental growth. The players were put through their paces and faced with challenges that created bonds within the teams that were stronger than I could hope for. The camps would vary from year to year as we focused on specific elements that were needed for each particular team, but the overall feel of the camps remained the same.
Many coaches would question how a camp that focused on setting up tents, canicross (trail running while being attached to a sled dog!) or hiking against the current up a river is relevant to a soccer team, I would have only one thing to say. I wasn’t only working on making a team. My goal was to help young female athletes become strong, independent women. I never saw my coaching as only winning a championship, but also of preparing these young ladies for a future out in the world. The skills and experiences that they lived at Kinadapt were something to take home with them – to apply to their studies, to their work, to their everyday lives.
These experiences are something that the Kinadapt team was key in developing and they would never have happened without the expertise, feedback and participation of the team. If you are looking to grow, to step out of your comfort zone, to challenge yourself and to meet an incredible team, then Kinadapt is the place to go.
Biologist, soccer coach and proud friend of the Kinadapt team