UVU basketball takes a course in team building at the to Recruit Candidate Academy

July 31, 2016 GMT

OREM - The men’s basketball team at Utah Valley University constantly participates in a series of drills and exercises to improve shooting, rebounding, and defense, but when it comes to improving team chemistry, sometimes you must be a little creative.

On Saturday afternoon the team took a break from the practice floor to participate in a different set of drills.

The Wolverines made a visit to Recruit Candidate Academy (RCA) which is UVU’s Utah “para-military” firefighter academy for a team-building activity.

With a roster that includes players from all parts of the country, UVU coach Mark Pope figured the best way his players could develop chemistry was to be put in situations where they had to rely on each other.

“We have several team-building activities that we do throughout the year,” Pope said. “I wanted to get my guys into an uncomfortable situation and have them experience something they’re not used to, because when you make them uncomfortable, you put them in teachable situations.”

The players went through numerous exercises in a CPAT obstacle course that included a stair climb, hose drag, equipment carry, ladder raise and extension, forcible entry, search, rescue, and ceiling breach-and-pull. Candidates are required to complete the test in less than 10 minutes.

They were also paired up to take on the challenge of navigating their way through a dark maze.

“We thought the maze was the best part because you’re with a teammate and you had to focus on teamwork,” said sophomore guard Hayden Schenck. “When you’re in there its pitch black, you can’t see anything so you have to come together. Honestly that was the really fun part because you can’t see and you can’t do anything so you talk to each other and communicate and just push through it and when you get out of there you’re very happy to see daylight. It was a really fun experience.”

The experience gave the players a taste of what firefighters go through and

“It was an awesome time getting to see the things they go through on a daily basis,” said sophomore forward Telly Davenport. “We learned how hard it is to be a firefighter or anybody in this field of work, so it was a good time.”

UVU will return to the court for practice in preparation for its season opener. The Wolverines will play Gonzaga on Nov. 11 in Spokane.