It's a given that sports teams should be good at being teams right? Well yes, but the reality is it doesn't come naturally for many. Different personality types, egos, levels of experience, ages, practice pressure, limited time to prepare and changes within the team are just some of the factors that impact a team's ability to work well together.
And just as with any other aspect of a sports team's preparation, working on improving the dynamics within the team should be regular and purposeful.
Below is a range of free downloadable teamwork activities for teams, quick little exercises, ice breakers, energisers and warm ups to add to your training sessions that, overtime, will help build a better understanding within the team. Some are generic, non physical and others are sports specific and physical. You'll need to assess what is right and appropriate for the team you are working with.
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Set up your participants in pairs, facing each other, about a meter apart. Place a cone or ball on the floor in the middle. On your call or whistle it's the first person to pick up the object.
Other variations available
How good are your players at balancing?
Ask them to stand on one foot for 20 seconds or more with their eyes fixed on a point in the distance to help with stability.
Progression: Now can they do it with their eyes closed?!
This is an exercise/primer to give players a better understanding of what peripheral vision is and how they can work to improve it.
You'll need straws and toothpics for this activity.
A great warm up and laughter generating activity!
Participants work in pairs, facing another pair. One front participant tells another what they like about them with the person behind using hand gestures to reflect what's being said.
Simple, fun and nostalgic, bringing out the most basic of teamwork principals in the participants.
Works for groups of 5 or more and includes both active and passive roles to make it inclusive for all types of people.
A fun challenge in pairs where reaction time and concentration will determine who gets hit on the fist!
Participants listen to the call of the facilitator/coach and have to respond. When the word "hammer" is said, it's the quickest to respond who wins.
Great team game where the teams have to form letters of the alphabet in the quickest possible time.
Encourages communication, reaction time, decision making and teamwork
Balance activities to create connection and laughter between players in your team. You can start with easy challenges in pairs and progress to more difficult with 3, 4, 5 or more players.
Create laughter and teamwork with this simple exercise. Get teams to stand in line behind each other. Place an inflated balloon (or water balloon) between each player in the team.
Objective of the challenge is to race from the start to the finish line, balancing the balloons without touching them with their hands or without them popping. You can also use sports balls.
Fun, physical challenge in pairs. Can also be used as a warm up/primer before doing more contact drills in contact sports.
Aim of the challenge is for one player, who starts on the back of their partner, to work their way the whole way around their partner's body and back to the start position.
This can be done walking, running or tackle, depending on your group and the sport their training for.Also known as last man standing.
Create a grid with a start and end line. One person is on it in the middle. The rest of the players need to cross over from the start to the end line without being touched. If they are touched they are on the tagging team in the middle.
Funny how a message being passed from one person to another can change so dramatically!
In this game of actions, teams have to relay an original set of actions all the way along the line to the front. It defeinitely won't look the same as when it started!
Other variations available.