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Willow in the Wind Exercise

This exercise requires a team of eight to 12 people. It can be conducted in a conference room, hallway, or foyer. Everyone stands is a circle, almost shoulder to shoulder. The coach explains the exercise mechanics to the team. A volunteer to start off is called for. The volunteer stands in the center of the circle, crosses his or her arms in front of his or her chest and closes his or her eyes. (Handkerchiefs may be provided). The remaining team members place one foot forward and bending slightly at the knee, stretch their arms toward the person in the center. The volunteer then locks their knees, keeps their feet in place, and fall's forward. Encircling team members catch the volunteer and push them back-up. The volunteer then falls backward or to the side, and once again is caught and pushed back up by the encircling team members. This continues for about 45 seconds or a minute. The coach stops the exercise and asks for a new volunteer. The process is continued until everyone who wants to volunteer has had an opportunity to try to be the willow. At this point the exercise stops and the coach asks participants to relate their feelings and experiences while being the willow. When everyone has shared who wants to share, the coach asks for thoughts and feeling about being in support? Which was easier? Why? In which role did you feel more comfortable...trusting or being trustworthy. Then the coach might ask, "How do you think your learning from this exercise could be useful to you as you learn to work together as a team?"

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