3 Team Building Icebreakers for Your Young Athletes
Whether it’s the start of a new season and you have new players on your team or you’re just trying to boost team morale, team-building icebreakers and activities are crucial for the performance of your team on and off the court or field. Planning some icebreaker activities before jumping right into practice can help you train more effective teams with stronger communication and problem-solving skills.
This is a variant of hot potato, and it’s a great way to kick off practice or a team event when you have new team members joining. It’s essentially a name game, with the goal being to help your newly formed team learn one another’s names and communicate clearly with each other.
Stand in a large circle (you can participate in this round, too, if you’d like!). Go around the circle and have everyone say their names. Once everyone has had a chance to say their name, toss a tennis ball or softball to anyone in the circle. Now, they have two seconds to call someone’s name and throw the ball to that person. If whoever catches the ball can’t remember anyone’s name, the “bomb” explodes and they’re out of the round. Continue until everyone left in the circle knows everyone’s name!
Divide your team into small groups of 3 or 4 people. Instruct each group of team members to find three things they have in common with one another. Encourage them to find weird or funny things they have in common, if possible. After 10-15 minutes, regroup and have each small group share what they found in common with each other. After every team shares, have everyone vote on the funniest or strangest commonalities! This exercise is a great way to help individual players get to know one another and is a great confidence booster since each player gets a chance to see that they aren’t the only one with quirky, awkward, and weird qualities.
This one takes a little more prep time, but it’s well worth it. You can customize this game by making your own cards or find a premade version to use online.
Print enough bingo cards for each player to have one card. Have players use washable markers, pens, or pencils to mark each bingo square. Unlike regular bingo, these cards will have fun facts, such as:
- I have broken a bone.
- I’m afraid of clowns.
- I’ve been to Europe.
- I am bilingual.
- I know how to waltz.
Now, just like plain ol’ bingo, have players search for someone for which the facts on their bingo card are true. The first person to get five in a row wins.
When you’re coaching a new team, it’s vital that your players respect one another, understand one another, and communicate well with one another. Team-building icebreakers and activities promote problem-solving skills, communication skills, and boost team morale.