Queens Park Rangers have had a horrendous campaign so far this season and with the possibility of relegation looming large, manager Gareth Ainsworth looks to have turned towards some bizarre team-building methods.
Appointed on the back of his successful 10-year stay at Wycombe, Ainsworth replaced former manager Neil Critchley just last month.
The 49-year-old spent 7 years at QPR during his playing career, which likely influenced his decision to take up the managerial job.
Ainsworth faces the mammoth task of keeping The Rangers in the Championship, the side currently sits in 19th position, 7 points off 22nd-placed Blackpool.
The ongoing relegation struggle added further significance to their league tie against Blackpool last Wednesday, and in preparation for the game, Ainsworth employed the use of a peculiar team-building tactic.
Gareth Ainsworth motivates QPR players using Haka
As part of a team building exercise before the match at Blackpool, the entire squad gathered in a small conference room, following which, Ainsworth provided a brief idea of what was about to happen.
He propped it up as a ‘great experience’ and deemed it ‘worthwhile’, before directing everybody’s attention towards the room’s entrance.
As seen in this clip, a loud horn blares loudly as the doors open to reveal a man sporting ethnic and indigenous clothing.
He skips into the room and goes on to perform an authentic ‘haka’, the vigorous dance usually executed by New Zealand’s Rugby teams.
His 30-second long display is met by applause from the players, but a glance at their expressions tells a different story.
At best, a majority of the squad looked dazed and confused, the general sentiment seemed to be one of shock rather than motivation.
We’ve heard of peculiar team-building methods before, Mikel Arteta’s light bulb analogy instantly springs to mind, but this was certainly on a different level.
Acquiring the services of an authentic Maori Haka performer is a noble idea, but in practice, it’s likely to fall flat, and the reaction of QPR players is just the perfect example.
Fans online were similarly confused by this tactic, and many even likened its silliness to the various methods adopted by Michael Scott of ‘The Office’ during his conference room escapades.
Did Gareth Ainsworth’s motivational initiative work?
Simply summing it up as ‘no’ doesn’t nearly do justice to how miserably it failed.
QPR lost the all-important game against Blackpool in abysmal fashion, as they were on the receiving end of a 6-1 battering.
The shocking result was painful enough but the publicized Haka session just added further insult to injury.
Following the loss, fans online flocked to the clip and ruthlessly trolled Ainsworth for his team-building method. Some even attributed the horrible defeat to the presentation, suggesting that the Haka ended up having a negative impact.
While all this remains speculation, what we do know for sure is that Gareth Ainsworth will think long and hard before organizing another strange team building exercise for QPR.