Building communication in your team sports team is essential.

Everyone on your team should be working towards the same goal!Cohesion, communication, and collaboration aren’t just perks for teams of teen athletes, they’re requisites. Team building activities can help any team work better together.

Whether you’ve got a group of seasoned teens that need a refresher course to revitalize their team spirit or a newly-made team that needs to establish some camaraderie, we’ve got you covered. 

We’ve put together a list of four easy, fun team building games help teams of teen athletes work together.

1. Duck and Cover

Duck and Cover is a simple, straightforward game that works as a great introductions game for new teams that don’t know each other well yet.

Check out this video for a quick explanation and demonstration!

2. Duct-Tape Skis

This game is all about using communication in smaller groups. You’ll need some duct tape, objects to move (that will make sense in a second), some buckets/baskets, and (most importantly!) your team.

The rules are simple: split into groups of 8 or more– 10 works best.  Scatter objects between two sides of a basketball court or large room.  Give each group two rolls of duct tape.  Using the duct tape, each group must connect their feet together (ankle and below).

1 or two people from each group will not be connected.  They will be designated “repair people.”  Then as a group, they must move to pick up objects (one at a time) scattered through the field and drop them into buckets (or baskets).  If at any point the duct tape is broken or becomes unlinked, the repair people must run out to find a way to reconnect their group together.

The game is over once all of the objects are retrieved.  One long round or multiple rounds can be played.  Notice the word “team” is never used.  They were split into groups.  The game is only over after all objects are retrieved.  All of the groups could have worked together to harvest the objects and end the game faster, yet they will communicate competitively instead of collaboratively.

Here are a few useful debriefing points to hammer home the lessons from this game to your team:

  • What challenges did you overcome?
  • How could we have completed this faster?
  • Do you think you were in the correct role?
  • Who was on your team?

The answers to these can help them realize that thinking as a group is difficult, but that working together, listening, thinking outside of the box, and sharing ideas can solve problems, save time, and make life easier.  We aren’t always in competition and helping one another can be valuable!

3. Slow Motion Tag

Here’s a great game that will get your team moving!

Everyone is it.  Every time a whistle blows you must make a step – can be a big step or a small step, its up to you.  If you choose to tag someone they are “frozen” (take a knee).  If a frozen player is tagged they are back in.

  • Players will start to form alliances most likely or try and team up
  • Players might think that goal was to somehow “win” although it was never stated.

Processing questions:

  • Get into groups of three and discuss what were the instructions
    • It was a very simple explanation but there will likely be three different thoughts of what the game was in each group of three
  • What was the objective of the game
    • Although no specific objective was named, there will likely be strong feelings of what the purpose of the game was
  • What did you “hear” versus what was “explained”
    • Whatever was communicated at the start, everyone defined it a bit differently
  • How important is Great Communication?

4. Don’t Touch Me

This is an amazing game for communication because it is all in the way they perceive the directions that were given. Get the group in a circle each standing on a spot or marker of some kind with the partner of their choosing across from them on the other side of the circle.  Place an item in the middle of the circle, I like to use a road cone.  There are only three rules to the game.

  1. You must make “contact” with the item in the middle
  2. You must switch “positions” with your partner.
  3. You must say the phrase “don’t touch me”

The goal is for them to do this in the fastest time possible – give them multiple attempts to better their time.  Make sure that all ideas are heard and then the group decides if it would like to try that idea together, not just one commander in the group telling everyone what to do.

Take away: even though you stress the quoted terms, “Contact” and “Positions” they still perceive that they must run across the circle, touch the item, and change spots with their partner.

  • The simple solution is to make eye “contact” with the item in the middle and simply stand like your partner was standing to switch “positions”

A simple processing question could be, “What did you hear me say when I explained this challenges to you?”  You will likely get several answers.   And then follow up with, “How could I have communicated this better to you?”

These four games are a great way to make introductions, work on team cohesion, or build better team communication. Find even more great team building games in our other blog posts!