There’s no better example of teamwork in action than on the sports field, where how well the players communicate and use every member’s skills to their advantage is so often the deciding factor between winning and losing. Watching a great sports team in action is truly a joy to watch, and for bosses trying to motivate their employees, it’s natural to want to nurture teamwork.
And aside from improving their teamwork skills, getting your staff involved in team sports is a great way to help them bond with their peers and alleviate stress in a healthy manner. So what are the best sports for encouraging teamwork, and how can you get your potential superstars involved?
What are they already interested in?
If you’re considering starting a company sports team for your office, then obviously you’ll want to get the employees involved in the decision, and maybe even try out a few different options before you settle on your final choice. If some of your employees are already active members in a sports team, then they might have valuable contacts that can help you get started, or they could even act as the team coach!
If your staff tends to be quite young, then they might not be all that interested in more traditional sports like baseball or football. But be sure to offer these sports to them before dismissing them altogether as, for all you know, some of them may have recently looked for the best baseball cleats for fake grass because this is the sport that they want to play going forward and they actually enjoy it more than you think. If, after presenting this question to them, they don’t want to partake in these activities, now is the time to offer them a different choice. Be open to new ideas like Dodgeball, Kickball and 4-Squares, and even sports you might never have heard of before like Smash Ball or even Aqua Cricket or Field Polo (no horses required!). You never know what new talents you might unearth if you’re willing to experiment a little.
Consider the overall fitness level:
Let’s admit it, the average office worker today is not exactly at the peak of physical fitness – and that’s one of the most important reasons for encouraging your staff to get involved. But you also can’t expect to throw them in at the deep end and not ruffle feathers.
Soccer, for example, is one of the best sports for encouraging cardiovascular fitness, but top players can average a running distance of seven miles during a match – seven miles! If you’re going to consider a sport like this, then you’ll need to have your players spend time training, building up their fitness slowly, and doing drills that don’t require as much legwork to begin with. But if you start with shorter matches, and placing the least fit players in positions that don’t require as much running at first, a sport like this can be a great benefit both for their teamwork skills, and their health and wellbeing too.
If you’re dealing with a real mishmash of fitness levels, ages and gender groups, then it might be time to get more creative. Canada Paintballing for example, offers a great option with their ‘Average Joes’ style of paintball, which is a great leveler. Anyone can play by adapting their style to their own strengths and weaknesses, and teamwork is absolutely essential if you want to ensure a victory! It also gives the tacticians and good strategic planners a chance to shine in an otherwise pretty physical game, so everyone feels included and part of the team.
Build excitement by getting employees involved:
For the more introverted and creative members of your team, the very idea of having to take part in mandatory sports can be daunting. Make them feel included by running a contest to come up with the most creative team name, or getting involved in aspects that suit them better. This could be acting as part of your own office cheerleading squad, catering and helping the more ‘physical’ members warm up, being the team first-aider, or coming up with their own ways to help. It doesn’t really matter how, as long as everyone feels they can play their part and –more importantly – have fun doing it. Make getting involved rewarding for everyone.
Make it convenient:
If you’re lucky enough to have a swimming pool, basketball court or sports field nearby to the office, then it’s going to be a lot easier to pick a sport (or range of sports!). If you don’t, you might have to make arrangements for your staff to get transport to and from the venue you decide on.
Another big no-no for encouraging teamwork is making it a hassle for your employees. Players who really find they enjoy the games might love the idea of meeting up on the weekends, but most of your staff are not going to be keen at all. Make sure games take place during work times – Friday afternoons are a great option – and that there’s plenty of chance to mingle and get to know each other too. Do it right, and the camaraderie you can build throughout your company with a team sport can reap massive rewards for everyone.