Thursday, December 15, 2011

Human Shield Obstacle Course

Alternative names: --
Objective: Team-building; Warm-up; Explosive energy; Agility; Fun
Typical length of drill: 10-15 mins
Materials needed: A full track or just four cones to mark the inside track line; minimum 11 participating skaters
Skill level required: None
Description: In this drill your skaters will make an obstacle course around the track for each other using their bodies.  I'm going to describe how the drill was originally set up by its creator, and then it is up to you to change it so that it suits YOUR needs.  You will need 10 people to volunteer to be the obstacles at the start of the drill, once everyone has gone through the course once you switch the obstacle -persons so that everyone gets to do it at least one time.  Here are the obstacle positions:

  • 2 people balled up on the ground as turtles: You will jump over them
  • 2 people standing next to each other in a wide stance, making a wall with a narrow space in the middle: You will squeeze your way through the space
  • 3 people in a row with legs spread apart widely: You will crawl through the tunnel shaped by their legs
  • 1 person standing really close to the inside line: You will jump/leap along the inside line to get by her/him (AND stay in bounds)
  • 1 person standing at the end of the course waiting to chase you: You will run away from her/him as fast as you can, until you reach the goal line
  • 1 person at the goal line to be the buddy who cheers you on the whole time and high-fives you when you cross it.  After high-fiving the buddy you stay and become the buddy for the next person going through the obstacle course.

    Illustration of the set-up. Click to view larger.

    This is a team-building activity and a self-esteem booster so the cheerleading buddy at the end is a totally necessary part of the course.  It also teaches the skaters how to be supportive of each other, and even helps some of them to come out of their shells.

    CherryF jumps over the turtles

    Coco crawls through the tunnel after she's squozen her way through the wall

    When we do this with our league, many of our skaters choose to wear their knee pads while going through the course because they get so into it that when they dive (literally) into the tunnel they risk injuring themselves.  People really run through this course :)

    Tigre (L) begins to chase Dyna (R) right after she has hopped over Kata (center)

    Even though our version here is pretty condensed (only covers half the track) you could totally spread the people out around the track more, and really make your skaters weave around a lot, and force them to use their agility -- in the photos you might notice that the tunnel is located close to the outside line while the wall and the inside blocker are located close to the inside line.  This adds a little bit more challenge to it.  I also like to imagine a huge league doing this with like 50 skaters, all spread out in crazy ways around the track, making like this really intricate obstacle course that involve motions too, like lots of squats and the person going through the course has to wait for a certain moment in the motion to pass/jump/crawl around/behind/under the obstacle.  Perhaps we should create video game -like levels of this drill with increasing difficulty and obstacles in each level.....?

    Additional notes: This drill was dreamed up by Team Finland's 2011 assistant coach, Tigre Force (pictured above).  By dreamed up I literally mean that she saw it in front of her as she was going to sleep on a warm July evening in 2011.  Tigre Force will do some guest blogging for us very soon and post other awesome drills that she's into.  She's also got a great little blog of her own called Travelling In the Name of Derby where you can read all about her derby excursions and coaching/skating experiences.

    1 comment:

    1. We did this tonight, with a few modifications, on skates. It works well with fewer girls as we had a decent sized line waiting to go through. Modifications, if you are interested: skate bag to jump over at the apex, no sprinter at the end. Otherwise, we kept most of the obstacles - good fun watching people try to get through our shortest members' legs with an army crawl and full gear.