Monday, April 29, 2013

Your piece of the puzzle

Last year I had my team participate in a team bonding project. When I first started I though it was going to be just fun and it turned out being one of the most powerful projects of the season.

As a team we were a little disjointed, we were senior heavy and many of them had caught the senioritis bug and were not working to their potential.  The underclassmen were struggling to carry the team and motivate the senior girls that should have been motivating them.  It resulted in weak practices, some very poor performances and the team missing opportunities that could have been amazing.  I had seen the project on Pinterest and figured that it wouldn’t hurt to try.

Find a jigsaw puzzle that has at least as many pieces as you do team members.  Each teammate gets a puzzle piece.  If you have extra, you can take one or give the extras to the captains and managers.

The directions are to decorate the blank side any way they want.  They can color, paint, glitter, add stickers, feathers, etc.  The only rule is that they have to leave the puzzle piece in tact so that we can assemble the puzzle.  Make sure that all decorations are firmly attached.

I handed out the pieces to the puzzle, gave them the directions, and two days to decorate the puzzle.  At practice, I had them get their puzzle pieces and assemble the puzzle with the original image facing up on a board.  Once they had all the pieces collected and assembled, they flipped the puzzle over to reveal the team puzzle.  There were a few girls that did not bring their puzzle piece, so the puzzle was not complete. 

It was interesting that the girls that were the least invested in the team were the ones that did not participate.  The message sent to the team was that you have to do the work to be part of the puzzle and no team is complete without all of its team members.  The team members that did participate were able to see themselves as a part of the bigger picture and it actually motivated them to work harder at the remaining practices that season.  They even started pushing the girls that were slacking off more.  They saw the potential they had and knew that in order to complete the puzzle every piece was important.


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