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Adventure Based Training and Its Impact on the Team Cohesion and Psychological Skills Development of


What Can This Presentation Offer Our Industry? Feedback from our clients. ... Quicksilver. Kendall Hunt Publishing. Rohnke, K. (1989) ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Adventure Based Training and Its Impact on the Team Cohesion and Psychological Skills Development of

Adventure Based Training and Its Impact on the
Team Cohesion and Psychological Skills
Development of Elite Netball Players
Where are we headed with this presentation?
  • A report on my doctoral thesis 2002!
  • Rationale
  • A pictorial of The Journey To The Nationals
  • Methodology Strong Isomorphism
  • Findings of Mixed Mode Investigation
  • Implications for practice our Industry
  • Questions

What Can This Presentation Offer Our Industry?
  • Feedback from our clients. We must ensure we are
    taking them in the direction they need and want
    to go?
  • The need for strong Isomorphism in our programs.
    (Ensuring the program is tailored for the clients
    needs and mirrors their reality)
  • A learning tool for new facilitators

The Connection Between Sport Psychology and
My own journey!
The Connection Between Sport Psychology and
Blocking out distractions and focussing on task
Overcoming self doubt and fears
Mental skills learnt during during my outdoor
adventures transferred to my sport and life!
The question I often pondered was could I take
others into the outdoors and teach them mental
skills to help their sporting endeavours?
Motivation for the Study
  • Initial concerns for psychology skills training
  • It was boring, it put us to sleep
  • We just sat there and listened it was just like
  • Sport psychologys lack of support for my ideas
  • Why take athletes away from their normal
    training venue?
  • Dissatisfaction with previous adventure based
    training interventions from sport coaches.

Research Questions?Quantitative Hypotheses
  • Athletes who received an adventure-based training
    program intervention, would show increased team
    cohesion when compared to a control group.
  • The duration of the intervention will see
    longitudinal improvements in all four sub-scales
    of team cohesion, when compared to a control

Qualitative Outcome Questions
  • From an athletes or coaches perspective, what
    were the major outcomes of the adventure-based
    training program and how did they impact most
    upon the team in the following areas
  • What new skills or knowledge about themselves or
    other teammates did individuals take away with
    them from the adventure-based training camp?
  • How did the team or individuals within the team
    change as a result of their adventure experience?
    What new skills were developed that helped the
  • Was there any direct evidence that psychological
    skills learnt during the adventure training camp
    were directly transferable to netball training or

Qualitative Process Questions
  • From an athletes or coaches perspective, what
    processes during the adventure-based training
    weekend had the most impact on the team?
  • What elements of the training intervention had
    the most impact on athletes? Why was this
    significant for these athletes?
  • How did this camp differ (if at all), from
    previous adventure-based training camps, which
    the athletes had been on in the past?
  • How did the outdoor bush environment impact on
    the program? Was it an advantage or a
    disadvantage traveling away from their usual
    training venues?

NSW Netball Needs Analysis
  • A bunch of individually talented athletes with
    the ability to win the nationals but failed the
    previous year.
  • Cliques and negative behaviour toward each other
    on and off the court, was impacting on the team.
  • No mental toughness during the pressure of
  • Lack of mental skills to handle this pressure

In order to address these issues the intervention
was structured to ensure
STRONG ISOMORPHISM (Priest Gass, 1997)
The adventure experience had to mirror the
clients needs!
(Priest Gass, 1997)
  • Assessed, identified ranked client goals coach
  • Created a metaphoric experience that possessed a
    strong isomorphic relationship to playing as team
    at the national championships.
  • Provided opportunities to explore how resolution
    during the adventure would correspond to life at
  • Strengthened the isomorphic framework by using
    client language that mirrored their reality as
    netball players.
  • Constant review of activity selection to ensure
    clients were motivated. (If it does not move
    group towards your program goals then dont do
  • Conduct the experience with revisions. Look out
    for that teachable moment the program is not
  • Debrief focussed on how behaviours learnt would
    help or hinder netball training or performance.

The Intervention
Journey to the Nationals From Storming to
  • Sequencing of activities sequencing of
    activities can improve team cohesion of groups!
    (Bisson, 1997)
  • Group formation activities (Forming)
  • Ice breakers. Categories, Have you ever (Ronke,
  • Group challenge activities (Storming)
  • Games requiring the team to function together
  • Group support activities (Norming)
  • Climbing, abseiling, giant swing
  • Group achievement activities (Performing)
  • Bush walking, team campout, group swim, caving

Friday Night
Goal setting
Psychological skills development
Awareness of ideal state
Hi! I am the leg of one of the under 17 NSW
netball players. Let me share with you part of
the journey that I had to endure through the
bush, cliffs, rivers and caves of Kangaroo
Valley! It taught me a lot.
We were getting wet in the first 5 minutes, but
it seemed easy. Everyone was saying it would be a
piece of cake
First up was the mother of all bush walks that
lasted over 12 hours
We began to have to think as a team
Things soon changed!
All us legs had to begin to work together!
I am glad we are all helping each other through
the difficult sections! NOT!
What is wrong with this picture? Are we working
like a team of netballers? Or, are we individuals
who are in the same netball team that dont care
about anyone else?
Over a break we talked about how we could
overcome the challenges the river posed!
The ideas were similar to what we needed to do on
the netball court
All us legs were beginning to step in time!
A Focus On Personal Mental Skills Centre, focus
on yourself, dont think about the things out of
your control.
Bush Walk
Setting up a double bind!
  • Metaphor of a journey to nationals.
  • Through the physical psychological challenges
    of a netball nationals campaign a team must stick
    together. During this section of the walk today
    you must work together all the way to the top.
    Dont leave the slower people behind.

Debrief We had two choices today. To work as a
team or to carry on our path of self destruction
where we play one out and forget about our
team-mates. What kind of behaviour do you want
your team to have at the national championships?
Theyre too slow, lets just go off ahead!
Just stay focused on the task. Dont waste
energies on distractions that will take us away
from our goals
Remember team rule 1, No Complaining!
Oh no, not more scratches! This hurts. We legs
were really complaining now.
Once at the top it gave us an opportunity however
to sit and reflect on who we were and where we
were headed
After hiking to the top of this mountain, how
would you utilise this location situation to
address some of the negative team issues that
were distracting this team from their goals?
By the time we got to the top of the mountain we
were aching and tired!
The power of the wilderness to heal problems!
We began the walk like a team of individuals, but
we started to pull together near the top
Used in this session were Mini Solo Reflection
Time Questions were given to ponder Strengths
weaknesses of team? Sharing circle used to share
ideas Facilitated problem solving session
Why did we have to come all the way up here to
sort this out?
A group in conflict with clique behaviour
damaging performance!
A question for the audience to see if you are
still awake!
This session was the beginning of us coming
together as a team
Here I am, you can see the big cut on my leg!
After a big day out we still were not off the
mountain, instead of complaining we finally
worked together
Upon Return To Camp The Pressure Continued
  • No cabins, no tents
  • Only a big tarp to sleep under. We thought we
    would be sleeping in cabins!
  • Showers from a billy. We stank so bad!
  • Then we had to cook clean.
  • By the time we got to bed it was midnight.
  • This was all about learning to deal with the
    unexpected situations that may occur in sport and
    being ready to deal with them!

5.30 AM The Next Morning As Twilight Filtered
Through The Morning Mist
The bagpipe alarm clock sounded
I dont work at this time of the day
5.30am! Well that is the best alarm clock Ive
ever had.. NOT!
Okay team lets swim across, we can do this
This is crazy
Block out the negatives. If youre tired at
Nationals you still have to play no matter how
you are feeling.
Learning to prepare mind and body for competition
After the swim we had to sit for an hour
preparing our minds for competition!
We then headed out for a day of caving!
For me, I have come to the realisation that I
will not be able to get out of this hole cave
on my own, we will have to do it as a team
Its dark like when we play at night
I feel so nervous like before a big game
Can anyone please tell me what the hell going
caving has to do with playing netball?
I feel like I do when I have to sink a goal under
pressure. My heart is racing
It reminds of the night before a big game, I feel
really anxious
Im not sure but I think it goes somewhere
You are kidding me arent you, there is no way
we can fit through that space
Dont worry I will support you
You let go and I will kill you
Its okay we have got you!
The coaching staff were in position to catch
support each player through the laundry shute!
I cant believe I am doing this
So in our earlier exploration to find our way
down here you all felt it was impossible to get
through the squeeze. This was with lights on
Rather than exhausting our energies on what is
not possible, what would it look like if we all
concentrated our energies on how we can work as a
team to get out of here?
What you just described to me then, sounds
exactly like the skills a team would need to win
a national netball championship. How about we
give it a try?
No way, it is impossible to get out of here with
out lights on! What? We have to hand our
headlamps in????
The whole weekend built a bond that was the
foundation from which we won the national
After this weekend nothing in our lives seemed
We are behind and were in a hole. Remember how
we worked together to get out of that cave. We
can do the same here. 1, 2, 3, out of this hole.
The Isomorphic Metaphor!
The connection between netball adventure
The goal goes in to tie the match
Centre, breathe, relax, visualise
We are a goal behind
Focus on the things I can control
I can hear the crowd screaming
My heart is racing
My body has frozen
10 Seconds to go
I feel like when I was caving
We have to either tie or win to go into the grand
Controlling the stress of caving transferred to
These same skills are exactly what you need to do
to maintain control and concentration during a
netball game
Breathe deep, exhale, feel your body relax, focus
on you!
It does not matter if we are on the bench we are
still part of the team
I hope you like the guided tour I gave you!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful,
committed people can change the world. Indeed, it
is the only thing that ever has Margaret Mead.
Any Questions Related To What We Have Just Seen?
Recommendations processes that guided this
research project
Recommendations From Existing Research
  • Neill (1988) lack of description from past
  • More info on instruction and facilitation. Will
    be available from in a paper back book
    by the end of the year J
  • Ewert (1982) whats happening inside the black
    box? It is no longer a mystery! Why how did
    change occur?
  • Martens (1987) positivists stifling sport
    psychology research through the removal of the
    person from the process of knowing.
  • Dale (1996) existential phenomenology and sport
    psychology. Emphasizing the experience of the

  • Overview of quasi-experimental mixed mode
    research design
  • Treatment Group n 23
  • Control Group n 11

  • The Group Environment Questionnaire Was
    Administered At 4 Time Measures
  • (Carron, Brawley, Widmeyer, 1985)
  • Measures Group Cohesion on 4 sub scales
  • Individual attraction to group on task
  • Individual attraction to group Social
  • Group integration on task
  • Group integration social

Quantitative Survey Results
  • (A) Analysis of variance tests were conducted
    across all three groups for each time-period.
  • (B) Effect size testing examined changes within
    each group for times 1-2, 2-3, 3-4.

Individual Attraction To Group On Task ATG-T
Individual team members feelings about their
personal involvement with the group task,
productivity, goals and objectives
Lines considered not to be parallel thus
interaction occurred
Repeated measures analysis showing interaction
between groups and time on the ATG-T sub-scale.
Effect Size Change ATG-T Subscale
Comparison of effect size change for three groups
across time for ATG-T subscale.
Individual Attraction to Group Social ATG-S
Individual team members feelings about their
personal involvement, acceptance and social
interaction within the group.
Lines considered not to be parallel thus
interaction occurred
Repeated measures analysis showing interaction
between groups and time on the ATG-S sub-scale.
Effect Size Change ATG-S Subscale
Comparison of effect size change for three groups
across time for ATG-S subscale.
Group Integration on Task GI-T Subscale
Individual team members feelings about the
similarity, closeness, and bonding within the
team as whole around the groups task.
Lines considered not to be parallel thus
interaction occurred
Repeated measures analysis showing interaction
between groups and time on the GI-T sub-scale.
Effect Size Change GI-T Subscale
Comparison of effect size change for three groups
across time for GI-T subscale.
Group Integration Social GI-S Subscale
Individual team members feelings about the
similarity, closeness, and bonding within the
team as a whole around the group as a social unit
Lines considered to be parallel thus no
Repeated measures analysis showing interaction
between groups and time on the GI-S sub-scale
Qualitative ResultsExistential Phenomenology
  • What was the athletes story? Dale (1996)
    recommended hearing from those involved in the
    research as to whether the intervention was
    beneficial to them as individuals or as a team.
  • Was the learning transferable to Netball?
  • Did it help in netball competition?
  • The participants told their story!

I believe the athletes story has a very strong
message for our industry and how we conduct
Qualitative Outcomes
Improved on court performance
Change outside of netball
Process Factors That Helped Achieve Outcomes
Lewins Change Theory
4 Years Later
  • Many of the athletes that participated in the
    intervention are now playing in the National
    Netball League with the Sydney Sandpipers. The
    Under 19 Coach in now the coach of this team.
  • Talking to her last week, she was telling me how
    the adventure experience from this intervention
    is still having a powerful impact on the
  • Maybe an area for follow up research!?

Implications for practice
  • Ensure programming addresses the needs of the
    client. Include clients in the planning phase.
    Facilitate the program at a level appropriate for
    desired outcomes.
  • Sequence activities to suit stages of group
    development (Bisson, 1997). Activities need
    strong isomorphism!
  • The correct style of facilitation and metaphor
    development for the clients needs can greatly
    enhance the experience. Greater emphasis on
    training facilitators in our own programs and the
    tertiary sector can help ensure quality
  • A Change Agent that can teach, inspire,
    motivate, and lead a group to a new level of
    personal performance is critical in the adventure
    process with athletic teams and all clients.
  • Sport coaches and sport psychologists should
    consider utilising experiential teaching methods
    in their sports.

?Questions and Comments?
I can do it!
For more Information contact
Putting the Team Before Self
  • Under 19 Coach At one point in the cave, I
    was asked to spot the girls as they came out that
    vertical hole. At that time all my instincts were
    telling me to get out of the cave, I felt like I
    could not breathe and I was losing control, and
    panicking. However, I focused, and realised that
    to learn to breathe, centre, relax, and gain
    control for the better of the team was more

Developing team-work in the face of extreme
stress and anxiety.
  • Under 19 player I felt we were pushed both
    physically and mentally to the edge of what I
    could take when caving. I just wanted to get out
    of that cave and end it, but you couldnt do a
    thing, you were stuck. Instead of freaking out
    you had to stay in control to help those around
    you so we all could get out. You had to trust
    yourself to get through it.

Improved Relationships Decreased Dysfunction
  • Under 19 player Our talk on the mountain made
    me feel that people would listen to me. I could
    share my feelings honestly, this helped me trust
    everyone. Up unto this point I felt like I was
    not part of the team, I did not connect with many
    in the team and felt like no one was interested
    in my feelings or what I had to offer. It was
    good to see we finally found a way to talk about
    the problems in the team.

Transfer from the Adventure Environment to
Netball was Clearly Evident in the Data
  • Extract from phenomenological interview with
    Under 19 player The game was so close and we
    were behind with several minutes to go. During a
    time out we had talked about how we had to really
    lift if we were going to narrow the other teams
    lead. The rest of the team just hustled, they
    chased down everything, and turned this into
    attack feeding me the ball. We were one goal down
    with only about ten seconds to go, and the other
    team had the ball down the other end of the court
    attacking. Marion however intercepted a pass and
    threw this giant bomb right at me, I caught it
    with only a few seconds left on the clock. My
    heart was just pounding it felt like it was
    trying to jump out of my chest. My muscles felt
    heavy, like I could not control them, and I was
    all light headed. I had a flash back of lying in
    that squeeze section of the cave talking to you,
    the feelings I was having were the same, however
    this time I immediately knew what I had to do to
    gain control. I briefly closed my eyes, took a
    breath, and told myself to relax. I felt this
    unbelievable sense of calm. I saw myself using
    good shooting technique and the ball going into
    the net. I opened my eyes, and took the shot it
    went in. We tied the match. We knew this was
    enough to get us into the final the next day.

Improved Social Relations Platform for Improved
  • Under 17 coach To get away from the netball
    environment allowed the team to get to know each
    other in another dimension as people and not just
  • Under 17 player Waking up at sunrise to the
    bagpipes and swimming across the lake, made us
    feel like we were all doing these hard things
    together, no one complained, we just got in and
    did it for each other.
  • Under 19 player During the caving, the coaches
    were crying and scared, they went through what we
    did. Instead of a them and us feeling between
    the coaches and players, we all felt as one,
    working toward the same goal.
  • Under 17 player Once we got out of the caves,
    we hugged her (the coach). After this we could
    talk to her, it made her more approachable and
    easier to talk to. We seemed to really trust her
    decisions and coaching much more.

Team Cohesion Caving to the Court
Transfer Of Skills Can Does Occur
  • Under 19 Team Captain I did not go into the
    cave with the girls because of my ankle, but I
    was there when they came out, it was amazing to
    see the emotion and relief when they made it out.
    Whatever occurred in that cave it helped us win
    the nationals without a doubt. The team came up
    with this call out of this hole, for me, I
    thought it was a bit silly to begin with as I
    could not relate to what it was supposed to mean.
    The others told me about it, and how they thought
    they were going to die, but because they all
    stuck together, they got out of the cave.
    Whenever we were in trouble we would use this to
    our advantage, and everyone would just put the
    extra in to get us over the obstacle. I can still
    vividly feel the power and enthusiasm of the
    others, it made a difference to the way we

Changes Outside Netball
  • Under 17 coach During caving, I wanted to turn
    the light on when we were trying to get out of
    the cave with lights out. I was so scared. I felt
    I had no control whatsoever over my body, my
    thinking, I could not get it together. I got more
    out of this training than just things to do with
    netball. I was so emotional for days after this
    weekend. I would just keep breaking down in
    tears. I am someone who has always been able to
    do anything I tried, needing no help from others.
    Outside netball, I always try to take too much
    on. To get out of the cave I had to let go of the
    control I usually have, and rely on others to
    help me. This has taught me to ask for help, and
    that asking for help is okay.
  • Under 19 player Not only did the weekend teach
    us how to be good netballers, it taught us how to
    be the best at life.

The Importance Of Facilitating To Client Needs
  • Under 19 player The camp last year was just
    like fun games. However, this years camp we were
    just thrust into the thick of it. There were no
    easy options, like when we had to climb to the
    top of the mountain, we then had to remain
    together to get down again, otherwise we would
    not have got out. Last year, you were not put
    into a situation where you had to push yourself.
  • Under 19 player The first camp we went on, the
    leaders used all the buzz words about being a
    team, then they had us do low or high rope
    activities, like all stand on a log together and
    we were supposed to be a team. We didnt have to
    push each other. This years camp was individual
    and group focused and we were all pushed hard,
    and we had to work together to get through it.
  • Under 19 Coach The adventure camp last year
    was at a superficial level, and I felt this is
    where our team was as well. This year was REAL,
    and it allowed us to get down to the deeper
    issues that I knew were affecting the team, and
    holding back performance on the court. I knew if
    we could solve the problems we would begin to see
    the talent, the girls really had.

Wilderness As A Healing Place
  • Under 19 player The outdoors provided an
    environment where everyone was equal. The
    coaches, new and old players were all the same
    you could say what you wanted to anyone without
    feeling threatened.
  • Under 19 player The outdoor environment
    provided an atmosphere to air grievances, which
    we had not been able to do back in Sydney.
  • Under 17 player Being out in the bush was new,
    and provided a safe place for us to communicate.
  • Under 19 player Why did we have to come all
    the way up here to sort this out? Couldnt this
    of happened in Sydney?

Bisson, C. (1997). The effects of varying the
sequence of categories of adventure activities
on the development of group cohesion. Unpublished
doctoral dissertation. University of Northern
Colorado. Greeley. Priest, S. Gass, M.
(1997) Effective leadership in adventure
programming. Human Kinetics. Champaign. Ill. USA
(Back) Rohnke, K. (1995). Quicksilver. Kendall
Hunt Publishing.    Rohnke, K. (1989). Cowstails
and Cobras II. Kendall Hunt Publishing.    Rohnke,
K. (1984). Silver Bullets. Project Adventure
Inc. Publishers.
Back to Friday Night
GEQ Sub Scale Explanation
  • Individual Attraction to Group Task ATG-T
    Individual team members feelings about their
    personal involvement with the group task,
    productivity, goals and objectives. Eg I do not
    like the style of play of this team.
  • Individual Attraction to Group Social ATG-S
    Individual team members feelings about their
    personal involvement, acceptance and social
    interaction within the group. EG some of my
    best friends are on this team.
  • Group Integration Task GI-T Individual team
    members feelings about the similarity,
    closeness, and bonding within the team as whole
    around the groups task. EG Our team is united
    in trying to reach its goals for performance.
  • Group Integration Social GI-S Individual
    team members feelings about the similarity,
    closeness, and bonding within the team as a whole
    around the group as a social unit. EG Members
    of our team do not stick to together outside of
    practices and games.

Quantitative Data Analysis
Traditional Significance Testing (Neill in press)
  • Cohen (1994), significance testing has not only
    failed to support the advance of psychology as a
    science but also has seriously impeded it
  • Significance testing can lead to false
    conclusions, ie) type I or type II errors
  • Type I errors falsely conclude an effect when
    there is none. Controlled by .05 error rate
  • Type II errors falsely conclude no effect when
    there is an effect. Controlled by increasing
    sample size or increasing critical alpha to .10
    or greater.

Traditional Significance Testing
  • 35 of outdoor ed studies may have reported false
    conclusions through type II errors (Hattie,
    Marsh, Neill, Richards, 1997)
  • Significance testing was designed to give binary
    answers, ie) either yes or no
  • Significance testing only tells whether an effect
    has occurred, but does not tell whether one
    program was more or less effective than another
  • Outdoor ed research could benefit more from
    understanding how much change occurred. (Neill,
    in press)

Effect Size
  • Effect size measures how much change (or
    difference) there is between two sets of scores
  • A negative ES score indicates a reduced score
  • A Score of 0 indicates no change
  • A positive ES score indicates an increase in score

Effect Size
Effect Size Definition
  • The major new statistical tool, which is
    recommended for adoption by outdoor education
    researchers and evaluators, is called an effect
    size (ES). The ES measures how much change or
    difference there is between two sets of scores.
  • In mathematical terms, an ES is the average
    difference between two sets of scores in standard
    deviation units. An ES measures, for example, the
    standardized change in raw scores between the
    beginning and end of an outdoor education
  • Neill, (1999).