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Whether the game is home or away, the team needs to remain ready to hit the court or field running. There are different challenges for the team coach and the chaperones when the game is away and a long bus ride stands between the team and their opponent. Some coaches might choose to let the team members catch up on some sleep as they ride the highways and byways to the game, but there are a few more innovative ways to keep the momentum going. It is important for all team members to realize that the bus rides to and from games help to build team unity.
Play A Game
Playing all-inclusive games helps keep the team’s energy level up. One team favorite is an app called Heads Up! by Warner Bros. The game is simple. A player holds a “card,” which is the screen of an iPhone, on their forehead, and asks yes or no questions to the rest of the team until they guess the word on their head to win one point. There are many categories to pick from like movies, music and animals. Once the word is guessed, the phone is passed along, face-down, to another player. Here is a fun twist: the front-facing camera on the iPhone records the entire game to be shared on social media or sent to Ellen Degeneres, the celebrity who made this game so popular when she featured it on her show.
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Another team energy booster is to have a full team karaoke-style sing-along. The best karaoke app is Sing! Karaoke by Smule Support. The app has sound effects and encourages singing video duets with popular entertainers. Skill level is inconsequential, Sing! Karaoke is about having fun with the team and just being yourself among friends. The giggles and camaraderie that ensue are a great team builder.
Eat Sufficient Protein And Good Fat
The usual team fare on a bus ride is bagels and cream cheese or other starchy or high carbohydrate snacks. The team has to learn the importance of eating high protein and good fats before a game, especially when a long bus ride lies ahead. Protein and good fats early in the day before a game will increase a feeling of fullness and lower the craving for junk food and sugary drinks. On the bus, granola, trail mix, protein bars and other high protein snacks will satisfy the appetite of all the players.
Treat Home Games And Away Games The Same
There is plenty of time to have fun on the bus ride, but also to discuss important and valued strategies and theories of play. It is important for the coach to stress the fact that a game, whether it is played on home turf or away, is the same. It is a competition to be played and won by the team. Teamwork and camaraderie win the game.
Discuss The Game Plan
Another set of discussion points includes the actual game plan for the day. The bus ride to a game is the perfect time to talk about the defensive plan, time-outs, substitutions and the tempo of the game. The coach should reinforce the behavior standards and player expectations including respect and good sportsmanship.
Bring A Survival Pack
There is always someone who needs something. It is the responsibility of the coach and/or chaperone to be prepared for any of those special needs by bringing along a survival pack. Pack a survival kit with a plastic grocery bag in case someone starts vomiting, wet wipes and hand sanitizer for quick clean-ups, and tissues, bandaids and a little extra cash in case a player needs to buy a snack or drink.
Take A Charter Bus
When a coach can finagle it, a charter deluxe motor coach is a far more comfortable and entertaining choice for a long ride to an away game. A deluxe motor coach has reclining seats for added comfort, a PA system so everyone can hear announcements, TV and monitors to watch a movie or show, plenty of room to change and the ultimate luxury of an on-board restroom. And of course, safety is essential: it is imperative that the team has an evacuation plan in the event of an accident or emergency, and allowing enough lead time to get to the game destination gives the team time to get dressed, stretch, do some warm-up drills and see the athletic trainer for any necessary injury taping and support.
This article was written by Nancy Burgess of Examiner.com for CBS Local.