Team building exercises hit Aussies for six

January 11th, 2011


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Team building was widely regarded as a key part of the England cricket squad’s success in retaining the Ashes in Australia. Before leaving for Australia, England’s cricketers headed to Germany for team building activities that included boxing and commando-style assault courses, hiking and various other activities. Indeed, England head coach Andy Flower faced criticism from the press when James Anderson – spearhead of England’s bowling attack – suffered a rib injury during a boxing session and was omitted from the team’s opening tour game in Australia.

In an irony, not missed down-under, it was the Australian cricket team that first embraced team building exercises in a major way, when their former coach John Buchanan sent the squad off to the bush for a boot camp prior to the 2006/7 Ashes series. The Australians famously won every game in the five-match series.

So what is the value of games for team building?  Do team building ice breakers really work? And can corporate team building activities add value to a business?

Peter Ward, who runs a paintball centre in the Midlands, said: ‘We get corporate team building groups coming to us all the time. Their feedback is that the experience is hugely beneficial because it helps break down barriers and forces people to communicate.’

He added: ‘I can’t speak for the England cricket team but I would have thought that exercises where you learn to understand and trust your team mates must help them enormously when the going gets tough.’

Former Royal Naval Officer Jack Broadley, who runs a consultancy specialising in team building, believes team building activities such as the ones undertaken by the England cricket team ‘force individuals to react quickly to change and learn in challenging environments’.

Broadley’s view is that team building activities help communication because barriers to dialogue are removed. ‘When you put people on a level playing field they can’t just rely on rank or hide behind their desks. It is about developing authentic communication,’ he says. So if Australia wants to win the Ashes back, maybe the team should book a group activity day.


  1. Ted says:

    England have some great players at the moment so we need to start looking for some answers from our boys if we are gonna win them Ashes back any time soon (gutted Aussie)

  2. Habi says:

    Well done to David Hussey – six fours and a six! More please!!

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