TEAM. BUILDING. Two fateful words guaranteed to cause everyone in the office to break into a cold sweat and start nervously eyeballing the fire exits.
Forget unsociable hours, forget employee benefit packages, and forget office politics. Nothing instils fear in the minds of business leaders, HR departments and employees alike quite like walking the team-building tightrope.
From blood chilling revelations spilt forth in the horror of the ‘confidence circle’, to trust-falling straight to the floor as your colleague is distracted by a passing bluebottle, to listening to Graham from Accounting’s sonnet about his Guinea Pig at last year’s poetry seminar – the apprehension that team building induces is often justified.
But when you do get it right, a team-building day can have tangible value for all involved. So before you recoil in horror, Christy Gregan, star of the London Titans and Team GB U23 Wheelchair Basketball teams has 8 reasons that Wheelchair Basketball is the new ultimate team-building day.
1) Get out of your comfort zone: If you want to encourage your staff to move out of their comfort zone, then you have to do the same by choosing something daring and different. Wheelchair Basketball is an innovative choice of event that will take people into the unknown.
2) The novelty factor: Most people across the UK, let alone in your office, won’t have even thought about trying Wheelchair Basketball, let alone actually gone out and experienced it. Rather than rolling out the same tired, clichéd day, doing something new will be enriching and rewarding.
3) It’s a great leveller: No matter how athletic and coordinated you are, the sensation of not being able to use your legs is very difficult to acclimatise to for an able-bodied person. Adaptability, determination and proficient problem-solving are far more important than sporting prowess. A few people might just surprise you…
4) Teamwork over talent: When everyone is in the same leaky boat of having no idea what they are doing, cooperation and communication hold the key to success. Without effective communication to devise individual roles, team tactics and to react to danger, your leaky boat will be sinking.
5) Open to all: From international through to local level, Wheelchair Basketball is played by people with a vast range of physical functionality. It’s one of the few activities where anyone can get involved: someone with a spinal injury can compete against someone fully able-bodied.
6) CSR: Despite being invaluable to their local communities, many Paralympic sports clubs are under-exposed and underfunded (the London Titans Club that I play for receives no central sports funding and relies on donations). Days that raise awareness of and funding for these clubs are the days that keep the sport alive and inspire the next generation of Paralympic stars.
7) Brains, brawn and strategy are all needed: The sport caters to a range of abilities – some people will have the stamina to get up and down the court all game, some the strategic mind to work out who is best served defending or attacking, and some the presence of mind to spot and snuff out danger. Part of the challenge is matching individuals to roles to maximise your team potential.
8) Most important of all – it’s a riot: Fast-paced, physically demanding (it is a contact sport) and mentally challenging: Wheelchair Basketball is popular for a reason – it is great fun!