HARRISONBURG, Va., Nov. 21, 2013 – Last Sunday, the James Madison Softball team ventured over to University Park to work on team building exercises at UREC’s TEAM Challenge Ropes Course.
“The ropes course was an extremely fun way of testing our team’s strength and dependence on one another,” senior utility player Cassidy Clayton (Acton, Mass./Acton-Boxborough) said. “Without working together as one, the course would have defeated us, but with communication and some bravery, we got it done! We all had a great time taking another step toward becoming a mentally stronger team.”
UREC’s TEAM (Team Empowerment with Adventure for Madison) Challenge Course is a custom group adventure team building program. Programs are designed to encourage learning related to communication, leadership, trust, community-building and other custom outcomes.
The team spent the day completing activities in both the low and high ropes initiatives. The Dukes are the first varsity sport to participate in the newly-opened high ropes course.
“The high ropes course challenge put many of the aspects of softball into a completely different frame of reference,” sophomore pitcher/first baseman Jailyn Ford (Hot Springs, Va./Bath County) said. “It made us realize that we don’t have all of the same strengths, weaknesses or fears, and that we have to adapt and step up when faced with pressure. It formed a better sense of trust in me because I knew that I go let go of my harness and trust my teammates to catch me and have my back and I know they’ll do the same on the softball field.”
JMU softball will look to use it improved teamwork when it opens its season on Feb. 7-9 at the Red and Black Showcase in Athens, Ga. Last season, the Dukes set a program record for wins, going 42-17 and receiving their first-ever at-large bid to the NCAA Championship.
“My biggest take away was the amount of trust that we put in our teammates,” junior pitcher Heather Kiefer (Potomac Falls, Va./Potomac Falls) said. “We were over 100 feet off the ground, attached to a harness around our waist. The only people up there were our teammates. None of us had been in that situation before, which was pretty cool. The amazing thing was that no matter how scared we were or how bad we were shaking, we took the next step. We reach out, grabbed our teammates’ hands, put our trust in them and kept moving forward.
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