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Why playing improves team cohesiveness?


What did you feel when you were a child and played?

What I remember is that I gave myself passionately to the game and forgot about the world, time ceased to exist and I embarked with my friends on an endless adventure. With the experience of the game, I discovered important values for life; friendship, honesty, bravery, courage, joy, managing relationships, respecting, fighting, being competitive, winning and losing. Playing in the streets, as I knew it, was a fascinating school of life.

Playing as a training methodology works because it involves action, and movement, therefore, our more analytical and rational mental self stops working, leaving giving more protagonism to our emotions and feelings,

and disabling the personal armour in which we normally hide, to protect ourselves.

When we play we act more naturally, this relaxes us, levelling the relationships between the participants and releasing tensions. And this is the turning point, the moment in which the group is able to see and feel like a team because each one of the members has become their own leader and recognizes themselves more and better in their strengths and their weaknesses, playing creates a common ground of fairness and fellowship in which we feel safe. Everyone is at the same level, when the ego disappears, the team reappears.

When we play, we enter into an authentic expedition of the senses and emotions, we feel more ourselves again thanks to that contact free of prejudices that we have with others and of course also to the magic of nature and movement.

More than discovering new aspects or learning new things, I think that we rediscover ourselves, it is as if we opened the lid of our box of knowledge and skills, and they came out with pressure, often surprising us since we know more than we think we know.

The game also reveals negative or contradictory feelings, such as fear, insecurity, prejudices and judgments, preconceived thoughts, negative thoughts, stress or the self-talk of "it's impossible".

All these conditioning factors are there, but we need to identify them, confront them and give them a real form or as we colloquially say, face them in order to get rid of them, in order to work and develop the most positive and proactive aspects of our personality.

The figure of the facilitator or the coach is essential to bring in the balance between the conditioning factors that bring the negative feelings and the positive feelings, and help each person to extract the essence of the learning, to be applied in life or in the context of the team. Knowing how to create this safe space for everyone is an art, that requires skills of compassionate listening and non-judgemental attitudes.

So I will describe than "Experiential Learning" as the art of blending together the artful skills of facilitation combined with action, physical exercise, play, laughter, fun, and nature.

We are social and gregarious, we need the group and other fellow beings to have mirrors to look at and measure ourselves, it is thanks to this that we can change and be better versions of ourselves. The positive part of a crisis like we are living in this current times is that we will end up confirming without any doubt how much we need each other.

This article was written by: Roberto Brown. Facilitator and Coach.

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