Team building using a challenge rope course experience in youth sport: A case study


Team building (TB) has been associated with many benefits in a sport setting including increased group cohesion (Martin, Carron & Burke, 2009). One promising strategy for conducting a TB intervention is through challenge rope courses, as they have been found to increase cohesion in education and adventure therapy settings (Glass & Benshoff, 2002; Long, 2001). Yet, to our knowledge, challenge rope courses have not been examined empirically to determine their effectiveness as a TB intervention in sport. The purpose of this study was to examine whether a TB protocol delivered through a challenge rope course could increase group cohesion in a youth sport team. Participants (n = 10, Mage = 12.3) from a competitive female U14 ringette team participated in a TB challenge rope course intervention. Prior to and after the intervention, participants completed a questionnaire to assess group cohesion. Following the intervention, focus group interviews were conducted with the players and a personal interview was conducted with the head coach to further explore the efficacy of the intervention on the group’s dynamics. Results revealed that task cohesion significantly increased pre-post intervention. Many themes, such as increased trust, teamwork, communication and cohesion, were also identified post- intervention by both players and the coach during interviews. Collectively, the findings offer preliminary support for the efficacy of a challenge rope course TB intervention to enhance group cohesion in a youth sport setting.