Spotting is a term used to describe an activity which aims to secure and protect the physical well-being of a person engaged in an activity. In practice, it may look like breaking or catching a person’s fall, but it may also be as simple as being alert for potentially harmful events or objects.
As a program develops, the momentum to assume bigger challenges – that is, greater perceived and actual risks – often increases. This may attract an individual or group to assume some more physically demanding and harmful activities.
Naturally, as program leaders, were are called to facilitate a safe outcome on these occasions, but there is enormous value in empowering our groups to partner this responsibility. And this is where spotting skills come in.
Spotting is perhaps one of the most difficult tasks to teach because, in most cases, people do not recognise the importance of being a spotter until it’s too late, ie someone falls or is hurt. It’s a bit like shutting the gate after the horse has bolted.
No matter your approach, here are some key points to remember when teaching effective spotting skills to your group:
“ARE MY SPOTTERS READY?”
“I’M READY TO… [WALK, RUN, FALL, etc]”
“[WALK, RUN, FALL, etc] AWAY.”
As the facilitator or program leader, it is (ultimately) your responsibility to prepare your group physically, emotionally and mentally for the task ahead. Here are a few questions you could ask yourself to decide if your group is ready:
Note, if you decide that your group is not ready, it may still be possible for your group to undertake your planned activity if you are prepared to do the spotting.
The following activities will introduce a bunch of fun and fully functional activities to help you teach safe and effective spotting skills.
Here are some other fun activities that you may find useful, too:
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