Team Work Put To The Test
Blackpool took their match preparation to new heights yesterday, as the squad visited Challenge For Change in Manchester.
Rather than tackling each other in training, the players had to tackle an assault course, high wires and a 13-stage aerial trek, in an effort to acquire new skills, knowledge and an understanding of themselves.
It required elements of leadership, problem solving and team work, relying on constant communication. Some even faced phobias and left with new found confidence.
"It takes you out your comfort zone, it's all about team work, team building and trust. You learn a hell of a lot about the players," said manager Gary Bowyer.
"The staff at Challenge For Change do a fantastic job and it's been a worthwhile exercise for us. It's done with the game in mind, you get a lot of team work in and problem solving that the players will have to do on a Saturday as well. There is a reason and a purpose behind what we're doing with it."
The facility, a purpose-built inward bound centre near Media City, previously welcomed the manager when he was in charge of Blackburn Rovers, while Super League sides Salford City Reds and the Wigan Warriors have also been known to visit.
"We set different team challenges that work on team work, communication and personal development as well," said Innes MacDonald of Challenge For Change. "We also work with lots of Primary Schools, High Schools and disability groups, with a wide range of different activities.
"For the Blackpool lads we've set some quite physical challenges on the ground and then a number of different physical activities in the arena that work on their team work, which hopefully they can carry forward on the pitch."
The overall experience is one that the players could only benefit from, with fit-again striker Jamille Matt intrigued by it all.
"I've found it quite interesting, it's different to what we normally do, you've got to think and work together to get through the challenges put ahead of you," he admitted.
"We did some tasks at the start where we had to think outside the box a little bit and you've got a few lads that can't do that, so it was a bit tough."
Winger Henry Cameron was another player left impressed, and he could see how the scenarios relate back to football.
"We can bond together and use the time to get to know each other better, and what our strengths and weaknesses are," he said.
"There were some challenges where if one person dropped, you all lost. We all had to pull together to do it, like on a Saturday when we pull together as a team."
For further information about Challenge For Change, please click here.