Playtime: team building and learning at leading sports facilities

July 1, 2022

Playtime: team building and learning at leading sports facilities

Hockey at the Real Club de Polo de Barcelona, football at Girona FC’s Montilivi stadium, golf at La Roca golf course,climbing at Sharma Climbing Gavà and paddle surf ing on the Barcelona Beach: Johan Cruyff Institute promotes team building among its master‘s students by organizing visits to leading sports facilities that provide learning and lots of fun

One of the main attractions of the master’s program is the opportunity to build relationships and alliances among students, and this is one of the objectives of the Playtime activities organized by Johan Cruyff Institute. Playtime is an initiative through which students get to visit stadiums and unique sports facilities with a triple objective: to get to know different sports disciplines and have a good time practicing them, to strengthen their relationships through this type of team building initiative and to learn about different management models.

Johan Cruyff Institute organized a total of five Playtime activities for the 2021-22 academic year: a visit to the Real Club de Polo de Barcelona to play hockey; a football match at Montilivi (Girona FC’s stadium); golf at the La Roca del Vallès golf course, an introduction to climbing at Sharma Climbing Gavà and, just before the end of the course, a nice trip to Barcelona’s beach to play beach volleyball and test their balance with paddle surfing.

Playtime: team building and learning at leading sports facilities

The students played field hockey at the extraordinary facilities of the Real Club de Polo de Barcelona.

Climbing is on an upswing in popularity and new users are arriving every day to try this extreme sport. As a result of this boom accelerated by Alberto Ginés‘s gold medal at Tokyo 2020, facilities for practicing this sport have expanded at a good pace, taking advantage of a business opportunity that must be accompanied by good management of the facility. Hence, it was the sport chosen by Johan Cruyff Institute for one of its Playtime activities, organized with the aim of visiting and testing one of the most important climbing facilities in Spain: Sharma Climbing Gavà.

The students of the three on-campus master’s degrees in Barcelona—the Official Master’s Degree in Sport Management, the Blended Master in Sport Marketing and Management, and the Master in Football Business in partnership with FC Barcelona and Barça Innovation Hub—had the opportunity to get an inside look at the operations of the largest climbing facility in Spain, which has also been promoted by the famous climber Chris Sharma. This was another scenario in which students were able to do networking and team building outside the classroom, in dynamic environments that provide extra value and always with sport as the central theme.

Playtime: team building and learning at leading sports facilities

Students tackled Sharma’s tallest walls.

Paula Muro, program manager of Johan Cruyff Insitute’s online programs, says that the choice of this climbing wall for a Playtime activity is because “it is totally different from other facilities that we normally visit”. According to Paula, “we chose it because it is a sport that could and has managed to create team building with the group.”

“We chose the climbing activity because it is a sport that could and has managed to create team building with the group” – Paula Muro, program manager of online programs

Adrià Vilar, a student of the Official Master’s Degree in Sport Management and a participant of this session, also said that “discovering a place like this, which I would never have gone to on my own, always encourages you to try new things, and even to come back. It is a good proposal from Johan Cruyff Institute to promote climbing to a young audience like us.”

This is how the fifth Playtime activity of the year went at Sharma Climbing Gavà

The fourth Playtime day began with a welcome from the center’s instructors and a tour of the different facilities where the students then took an introductory climbing class. The instructors divided the students into three groups, so that the 21 Playtime participants at Sharma Climbing Gavà went through each of the climbing areas of the center. They received basic safety explanations and did some stretching exercises to get ready before grabbing their climbing shoes to start climbing.

In the first area, with free and boulder climbing walls, the students climbed walls of up to 4.5 meters. The aim was to begin to familiarize themselves with climbing shoes and holds, and to learn the best moves and positions for easy climbing.

After gaining some confidence, in the second zone they tackled the higher walls of Sharma, in the ropes area. With a harness on, and a partner holding the climber’s rope, they climbed a wall while trying out the new techniques learned during the afternoon. This activity strengthened the relationships between the students, who were rope partners during the activity.

In the third and last zone, the participants had to climb a wall with a self-belay. The instructor explained that, despite appearing to be the safest area, it was the one that caused the most accidents as a result of user negligence. Each student had to hold on to the belay and that was the beginning of the participant’s experience.

Playtime: team building and learning at leading sports facilities

Practicing golf technique at La Roca Golf course.

Leisure and learning, hand in hand during Playtime sessions

After about two hours at Sharma, the students took off their harnesses and climbing shoes to rest while they talked about their experience with their classmates. One of the instructors of the initiation class, climber Leslie Romero, expressed her satisfaction with the session: “It has been a fun day of initiation into the world of climbing. Now they know what indoor climbing is like.”

After the end of the experience, faces of happiness and satisfaction: “I found the experience quite fun and, moreover, now I understand my friends who do climbing and the passion for this sport,” explains Nicolás Diez, a Chilean student of the Official Master’s Degree in Sport Management.

Although Playtime is a day to have fun, it is also a learning session where students come to get to know how a sports facility works from the inside. The monitors also dedicated some time to explaining how Sharma is managed and give tips on the management of climbing competitions. In the opinion of Manuel Subías, a student of the Official Master’s Degree in Sport Management, who had already visited other climbing walls, “Sharma has very good facilities compared to others, with the added bonus of a very attentive staff that provided help at all times.”

“These activities bring us a little closer to the reality of facilities and helps us to understand how they work and what we could contribute” – Manuel Subías (Official Master’s Degree in Sport Management)

In addition, in relation to the management of the center, Manuel admits that a Playtime day like the one experienced at Sharma “brings us a little closer to the reality of facilities and helps us to understand how they work, what we could contribute to others that we might get to know or where we could go to work.”

Taking advantage of the heat and the proximity of the sea, Johan Cruyff Institute also prepared a Playtime morning of purely leisure activities for its students: beach volleyball and paddle surfing on one of Barcelona’s beaches. The summer holidays have already begun.


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The main objective of the Official Master’s Degree in Sport Management is to guide you in your development as an integrated sport management professional and train you in the use of management tools to recognize business opportunities, establish strategies, anticipate changes, optimize resources and analyze information with sound judgement.

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