TeamThink: Games to Build a Team
Sometimes your team is working together like a well-oiled machine, ripping passes and laying on the points, all members working together as though they were one amoeba-like body, each just an extension of the other.
Yet, other times it feels as though your players are all working for completely different teams, utterly against each other: getting in the way, trash talking, and just generally not getting along.
When that happens, things can quickly slide downhill. If your team has conflict of some sort, addressing it and getting to the bottom of things should be your number one move. Next up, it’s time to rebuild your team’s spirit.
The usual drills will only get you so far. You’re looking for fun team building games that will re-engage your players and build their trust in one another back up again.
Team Building Games
Team building activities and games are supposed to be educational and enjoyable. They’re meant to help your team learn about each other - how each person thinks, works, solves problems, and has fun.
While these are designed for office use, they can certainly be beneficial to your team, as well.
Pair up individuals and instruct each person to take a turn. Person A shares something negative that happened in their life. It can be personal, or within the sport, but it must be true. Then Person A shares the same experience again, but only focuses on the positive aspects. Person B helps Person A to explore the silver lining of the bad experience. Afterwards, they switch roles.
Sharing personal experiences with each other helps team members become closer. This game can help the participants discover how they can reframe negative situations into learning experiences.
Tie a rope or shoe string between two chairs at about waist height and call it the Electric Fence. The plan is to get all members over the electric fence without touching it. They can’t go under the fence, and must be touching another member of the group with at least one hand at all times.
This can motivate a team to work together to brainstorm ideas, problem solve, and put their plans into action.
Break your group into teams of two to three people. Create a list of goofy tasks for each team to perform as a group. Get creative like take a selfie with a stranger, take a picture of a yellow car, etc. Give each team a copy of the list and a deadline whereupon they must have completed each task. Whoever completes the most tasks the fastest, wins.
You can also even create your own point system according to the difficulty of the task. This is a great bonding exercise that encourages teammates who may not spend much time together or get along with each other to work together. Give yourself plenty of time for this one. This could last an hour, or you could make it over several days.
Have the group form a large circle. If there are more than 20 members, form two circles. Have one person start with a softball, basketball, baseball, or football. They must throw it to someone else, but they have to say that person’s name first. Once the group starts to relax and seems comfortable, throw in more balls to increase the difficulty.
This helps your team actually see and acknowledge one another, and they start to have fun with each other. This is especially helpful early on in the season when you have a bunch of new team members.
For Mine Field, find a large open space: the gym, a parking lot, or the park. Place various objects all over the space: cones, balls, bottles, hula hoops, etc. Have the group pair up, and one person from each must wear a blindfold. Their partner must lead their teammate from the starting position to the finish using only verbal instructions, while the blindfolded person cannot speak at all. You can make things more difficult by mapping out a course route that must be followed.
This game focuses on trust, communication, and effective listening.
Create multiple bags filled with random goods, all unrelated to each other: clothing, hats, balls, cans, flowers, tape, you name it! Teams of three to eight grab a bag (without peeking). They’re given 10 minutes to put together a 2-3 minute skit that uses each of the items in the bag. Each person in the group must take a turn at speaking a role. Encourage them to be as creative as possible. For example, they can use an apple as a meteor or a paintbrush as a witch’s broom.
Acting and improv exercises can be a really humorous and energizing way to bring your team together. While some individuals may be more introverted, this can encourage them to get out of their comfort zone and connect with their teammates.
The ability to have your team bond together is priceless when it comes to time on the field or court. Silly games like these can go a long way toward creating a group that works together seamlessly.
Pittsburgh startup Hustle Training is quickly rising to one of the most popular sports drill apps out there. Their website, along with their mobile app puts players and coaches at the top of their game by providing skilled workouts and drills crafted by coaches, trainers, and professional players, and informative articles to take your team to the next level.