Aug. 16, 2009
Photo Gallery: Offensive players at the Leadership Reaction Courses
FORT HUACHUCA – After three days of practices at Fort Huachuca, the Arizona Wildcats turned their attention to team-building exercises with U.S. Army Soldiers on Sunday.
Players thoroughly enjoyed the sets of leadership reaction courses and combat simulations they participated in a year ago with the soldiers and this year were given an entire day to compete in the challenges.
The team was split into two large groups, with offensive players opening the morning session at the leadership reaction courses and the defense heading to the combat simulator. Each group had a full two hours at the morning stations, before coming together for a team lunch and then switching stations in the afternoon.
Coaches and players have praised the overall experience for two straight years in helping the Wildcats build the necessary camaraderie for a winning football team. But, perhaps no practices, meetings or motivational speeches can enforce the necessary communication, teamwork and leadership skills that are required as players try to complete the leadership reaction courses.
Assigned with various tasks as directed by U.S. Army soldiers, players must complete each course within a certain time limit. Making matters more difficult, most courses include water and other hazards that, if breached, result in a failed mission.
On Sunday, a handful of players found themselves taking a cool dip in the water after falling off a platform or other obstacle. Even so, the failures are as much of a learning experience in communication and teamwork as the successes, and every player enjoys the opportunity.
Several coaches, including coordinators Sonny Dykes and Mark Stoops, looked on from the safety of the observation platforms. And while the experience was enjoyable for them to watch, the primary concern was making sure all players completed the courses safely.
The Wildcats will spend Sunday evening at the fort before returning to Tucson on Monday morning. It will then be back to football as UA is scheduled to host a 5:30 p.m. practice at the Rincon Vista Complex.