Manager Gary Bowyer hailed a team-building exercise as one of the key factors behind Rovers’ dramatic victory over Leeds United.
During the international break, the players visited Challenge 4 Change activity centre in Manchester, where they took part in a series of challenges, including an assault course, tyre pit, high ropes, leap of faith and aerial trek, designed to improve team-work, communication, trust and leadership skills.
And the ‘inward bound’ experience certainly had the desired effect, as 10-man Rovers came back from a goal down to secure a third straight win at Ewood Park.
“We did a team-bonding session at Challenge 4 Change, where the players learnt a hell of a lot about each other – about trust, communication, desire and helping each other out – and it really came to the fore,” said the Rovers boss.
“We are always looking for that extra ‘something’ that will give us the edge over other teams and it’s really brought the group closer.
“The coaches were excellent at emphasising the importance of team-work and the challenges they set ensured the lads had a lot of fun, but also needed to work together as a team to succeed. We will be using them again as part of our quest to continually improve.”
After falling behind to Souleymane Doukara’s first-half strike, Rovers came roaring back after the break, with two-goal hero Jordan Rhodes completing the comeback in the 88th minute after former Leeds forward Luke Varney was brought down in the box.
Speaking after the game, Varney was also quick to praise the visit to the purpose-built centre.
“We’ve had a long wait for the next game after the international break, but we’ve done a few bits off the pitch that have really helped us and I’m really glad that they’ve come to fruition and we’ve done ourselves proud,” he said.
“When we got there, we all took it on and it was a great example of togetherness and the spirit we’ve got. We’ve got different age groups, but we all came together, we all pulled each other through, it was fantastic. There was lots of team building and games, and Chris (Whiteley) said that no-one’s ever lost after visiting the centre, so I’m sure we made him proud.”
Trainer Chris Whiteley, of Challenge 4 Change, said: “This day gives them something to fall back on when the season gets a bit tough. The guy next to you will be your best mate forever. All you’ve got to do is trust him and rely on him, because he will do the same for you. If you trust each other more, you’ll be a better team.”
Challenge 4 Change is a registered charity. To donate visit www.justgiving.com/onerovers
. All money raised will be used to fund local community groups to visit Challenge 4 Change.