Enjoyment Factor: 7/10
Teamwork Rating: 6/10
Leadership Opportunity: 6/10
Age Range: 14+
Activity Time: 1 Hour
Set Up Time: No Set Up
Equipment Requirements: Low
Trust falls are another activity that I in no way take credit for but include as there really is a lot of value in the activity when it is done correctly. I like to use them to break up a theory session during the Leadership Development Program as it gets everyone up and moving and can really enhance the bond within a team.
There are a number of progressive stages that I liked to work through before building up to a fully fledged trust fall. But basically the idea is for a person to to fall back from a raised ledge of 3-4 feet to be caught by their team mates. Sound scary and risky? Well it can be and is definitely scary for some and risky for everyone when not carried out properly. It can also be hugely rewarding however, particularly for those that are nervous about fully trusting in others and this physical demonstration is a good way to work on that. Like I said though I like to build up to a trust fall with a number of similar but progressive activities:
- Split the group into pairs that are of a similar size. If they are slightly dissimilar that is no big deal.
- Then take it in turns for one person to lean back and be caught by the other.
- Key points are: it is very important for the person leaning back to keep their body stiff and lean back from their heels not their hips.
- The person doing the catch should be in a split leg stance with one foot around 12 inches in front of the other and both hands up with palms open and facing the person leaning towards them.
- The catcher should have their hands straight out in from of them and when the faler begins to lean back lightly shadow the movement taking more of the weight the further back they go.
- This activity can be progressed until the catcher is supporting the full body weight of the person falling back.
- It is best to start with a gentle rock back and let the person move fall further back each time as both become more comfortable with the practice.
- What not to do: As a catcher your job is to make the person falling back come to as smooth a stop as possible - their safety is literally in your hands. Do not wait until they are falling back to jolt your hands towards them were you will either cause them to come to an abrupt halt which will be uncomfortable at best but potentially dangerous or you will not be able to stop their momentum and drop them
- Note: a person falling back requires more force to stop the faster they are moving.
- That is why it is important to shadow their movement as soon as they begin leaning back gradually taking more of their weight as they get lower.