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Archive for the ‘Team Supplies’ Category

Fire Up Tryouts with These Spirit Boosting Ideas

Posted by Stumps Spirit on July 5, 2013

You build the best teams with the best performers, and the best tryout performances come from the kids having fun and playing hard without self-consciousness. Help the process along by encouraging team spirit and minimizing jitters from Day One of tryout practice. Here are three ways to do it.

1. Warm welcome. A distinctive sports welcome banner or sign should catch participants’ eyes upon arrival and is especially appreciated if the sport or activity is one that does not normally capture a lot of popular attention. Increase the “mileage” with personal greetings as players arrive if at all possible.

For a large school or group where many of those trying out don’t yet know each other, you might consider providing adhesive name tags the first day.

Start right away to notice and verbally reinforce the best demonstrations of positive attitude, hustle, support for others, and the sense of humor that uplifts and never denigrates. You can also chat about behaviors outside of practice, particularly nutrition, sleep and others concerned with players taking care of themselves.

2. Ice breakers. Often, tryout participants arrive with their own teams. There’s nothing wrong about coming in with friends, but if you let them, they’ll tend to stay in their personal comfort zones even though it’s important for everybody to feel comfortable with everybody.

Break up cliques systematically by never allowing participants to form their own groups for warm-ups and other small group activities. Instead, have them count off and keep mixing up the groups frequently.

Counting off is also handy for corporate-style team-building exercises, which we recommend for large and/or disparate tryout groups. These activities are usually a little silly on purpose, because nothing is as cohesive as shared laughter. Consider these team-builders to open a practice, or lengthen break times a little to include them. We particularly like the subgroups to do list-making such as “Five Things We Have in Common” (no body parts or clothing!) or “Five Shared Favorite Things” and then present their lists to the rest.

3. Something unexpected. Pull out a surprise every once in a while for a shared pleasurable experience. These can be things or activities.

When it comes to the first category, rest assured that many ideas – even for personalized spirit products — are quite easy on the budget. For example, you could replace the labels on a case of 20-ounce bottles of water with customized labels for less than $12, personalize static (“window cling”) car decals for as little as 25 cents, or outfit all but the largest tryout groups in temporary spirit tattoos for well under $10.

Another way to go is to have activities in your repertoire that you can pull out during “time for something completely different” moments or reserve for the ends of practices. We particularly like stress-lowering exercises such as deep muscle relaxation, yoga relaxation poses and breathing exercises — all skills that are helpful to spirit and state of mind, with the bonus of being completely portable.

Have a tryout spirit boost you don’t see here? Please share in comments!

Posted in Cheerleading, Football Spirit, School Spirit Items, Team Supplies, Team Unity, Volleyball | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Decorate for Your School’s Own March Madness

Posted by Stumps Spirit on March 12, 2013

While the History Channel claims that March Madness was born 74 years ago with the “first-ever NNCAA men’s basketball tournament,” high school teams everywhere know that small town school spirit has played an important role for decades. The squeak of basketball shoes on gymnasium floors, roaring crowds, and the swish of basketballs bouncing off the backboard and falling down to bounce on the shiny floor, while the audience holds its collective breath for just one second, a second when time stops, before erupting into screams of delight while their favorite players rush back up the court, dripping with sweat and motivation…This is March Madness, and it is catching once more.

Illinois and Indiana both claim to have started March Madness with high school basketball playoffs, but whether you’re playing in the Midwest or coast-to-coast, school spirit has an insatiable thirst this month. Give in to the enthusiasm and make sure your players and biggest fans have enough to drink with durable polycarbonate or plastic water bottles personalized with your school’s name, the year, certain player’s names, or even just “March Madness!” You could toss these out during basketball games to get the crowd even more pumped up, or sell them as part of a sports fundraiser.

Next, advertise your school spirit with banners for pep rallies, star players, and all the big games that are happening this month. Weave your school colors through fencing and around the hallways using gossamer or even durable, flame-resistant poly vinyl. Nothing is more exciting than walking into your high school or college gymnasium to find huge signs promoting the team and the starting players surrounding by bright streams of school colors.

Speaking of color, you can use lots of it to spruce up the hallway in your high school with affordable graphic banners that are designed for lockers.  Personalize them to match your school colors as well as with names. These can be used for all your superstars, too; marching band, the yearbook, or even just that special person in your life that needs a little bit of motivation as the end of the school year looms, but is still very far away.

Finally, be sure and surprise boys and girls, women and men’s basketball superstars with Big Heads; use them in the crowd or attach them along the walls or fencing with their number and cheer them on throughout March Madness and for the year to come. Remind them who their biggest fans are and frighten the opposition with your school spirit, to boot!

Posted in Decorating, Fundraising, Pep Rally, School Spirit Items, Spirit Week, Stumps Spirit, Team Supplies | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Effective Uses for Noisemakers During a Basketball Game

Posted by Stumps Spirit on January 21, 2013

Everybody knows the feeling: a tight game, incredible suspense, emotions running high. With this scenario comes the question of how to put your team over the top and the answer is to create a sound that cannot be denied!

Here are ideas for using sound and noisemakers the most effectively.

Coordination. We have many options for noisemakers including voices, bodies or “special equipment”. Select sounds for the various team actions and situations and use them consistently. For example, foot-stomping and/or hissing can be used during free throws, whistles for bad plays, cowbells for scores and so on. You probably already have some conventions (which may differ from these examples) and that’s great! You don’t have to change the routine, just build on it for a better, well-coordinated repertoire.

Rhythms. Speaking of coordination, we recommend teaching fresh rhythms to use with percussion-type noisemakers such as bams. The classic rhythm example to use is the opening of Queen’s “We Are the Champions,” but there’s nothing wrong in finding your own catchy rhythm to use with percussion, with or without voice. We like these routines for warming up the crowd, for your team pulling ahead, or for any other celebratory situation.

Visual pairings. We are visual creatures, so don’t neglect the visual as well as the audio. Pair them up! One easy way is to use color, with as many fans as possible wearing team color shirts, morph suits and team supplies such as signs. You might also provide wearable props, such as hats, for a row or block of spectators. Wearable props might be about team colors, or it might consist of a visual salute to a holiday game or tourney, such as Valentine’s or a Mardi Gras event theme. (Imagine, for example, a block of fans or band clad in Mardi Gras glitter top hats next month.)

Another visual to pair with noise is dance moves, which has reminded us of the Interlude Dance. Below is the video, which includes step-by-step instructions as well as group shots in various settings, making it fun to watch whether or not you already know the dance.

Your fans needn’t get as involved as the Interlude people but having a few good moves is a wonderful thing, is what we’re saying.

Got a few good moves yourself? Share them in the comments!

Posted in Basketball Spirit, School Spirit Items, Team Supplies | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

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