Swinging the Other Way

Swinging the Other Way
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Swinging the Other Way Exercise

Swinging the Other Way is a powerful trust-building exercise for collaboration and developing support skills in small groups.

Form a group of 8 to 12 people (spotters), and stand in a circle. Invite one person (the faller) to stand in the middle of the circle, with their feet together and arms crossed on their chest.

It’s also a good idea to ask this person to keep their body firm. The spotters position themselves with one foot in front of the other, hands-up in ready position close to the faller.

When they are ready, the faller will lean or fall in any direction they choose. Pivoting from their ankles, the faller should try to keep their feet stationary at all times.

Initially, ask the group to support the weight of the faller all the way around the circle. For purposes of sharing the load (think ‘safety’) it is necessary for at least two spotters to be in contact with the faller at all times.

It is recommended that, early on, you pass the person who is falling completely around the circle so that each person has a chance to support their wooden colleague, as well as gauge their weight and momentum.

Upon completing the initial circle, the group may then pass the faller randomly back and forth across the circle. Note, I said the word ‘pass’ and not ‘fling’ – this is critical.

As the group gains confidence and competence, allow for the circle to widen slightly to afford bigger leans and falls. Let the rocking motion continue until about 30 seconds have elapsed or the person falling does not want to continue.

See also  Take Two

Repeat these steps with as many volunteers who wish to participate as the faller.

Moment of Reflection
  • How did it feel to be the faller? Why?
  • As a faller, what helped you feel comfortable or uncomfortable?
  • As a spotter, what did you observe? Did your role differ from other trust-building activities?
  • What else do you think or feel has changed as a result of this group experience?
  • What have you learned that helps us understand how to look after one another?

The topics of this publication: teamworktrustintegrationreflectionempathycooperation, interactions, foster relationships, collaboration

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