Team Building Activities for Youth Sports Teams
Go ask any sports coach what the most important aspect of being a player is and the vast majority will tell you the same thing: practice. Every player has innate abilities and talents, but practice is the catalyst that allows the best to rise to the top. What, then, helps a team grow and separate themselves? Trust.
A team is more than it’s individuals, it’s a group of individuals learning to put their teammates first and trust each other explicitly. Here are eight great team building activities to help build that trust between players and you can even see some of them in action!
Have the entire team line up in a large circle, holding hands with their neighbors. Then instruct two players to drop their hands, place the hoop between them and have them rejoin their hands inside the hoop. The goal is then for the hoop to pass all the way around the circle without anyone letting go of their neighbor’s hands. It might sound easy, but we promise – it’s not!
We’ve all played this one at some point in our lives. One individual holds the legs of another and helps guide them toward the finish line as they use their hands to ‘walk’ forward. Setting up pairs of teammates and having them race is a great way for two teammates that might be struggling to get along and communicate well.
3. Toss the Egg
Alright, this one can get messy so make sure you do it outside and make sure your players aren’t wearing their Imperial Point custom sublimated jerseys! (They can handle the mess, but save them for the games!) Teams are made up of pairs and are given a single egg. The pairs line up facing each other and must toss the egg (gently!) to one another. If the egg is caught and doesn’t crack, each person takes a step backward and repeats. This continues until only one team remains!
4. Scavenger Hunt
This requires a bit more work on the coaches part, but what’s better than a scavenger hunt? Separate your players into small, hand-picked groups, even pairs, and give them a list of items to find. This doesn’t have to be grand in scale or overly elaborate, it can be small and take place in a backyard, or even a ball field or gymnasium. Give them a time limit and award prizes to the teams that complete their lists the quickest. You might be surprised which team members step up and lead the charge.
5. Bridge Building
It’s amazing what you can do with some paper clips, popsicle sticks, glue, and tape. Divvy up the supplies into equal groupings and task your hand-picked teams with building the strongest bridge possible to span a bowl of water. Once the time is up, place the bridges over the water and begin placing pennies on top one at a time until the bridge collapses. Keep track of the number of pennies so you can determine who made the strongest bridge at the end!
This requires two large blankets, or straight sheets, a volleyball (or similar sized ball) and a volleyball net. Separate the team into two groups and have them each grab a portion of the blanket equidistant from each other. Once they’re set, toss the ball on top of one of the blankets and let the chaos ensue. Each team has to successfully ‘pop’ the ball over the net and into the blanket of the other team. Tell them if they manage to pop it ‘X’ number of times without hitting the ground, there will be a prize. This activity is great for increasing communication and learning to move as a group.
Grab a bunch of spare equipment lying around (knee pads, hats etc.) and scatter them across a field or large room. Pair the teammates up and grab a blindfold. One of the youths is tasked with crossing the ‘minefield’ with only the audible direction of their partner without touching any of the equipment. The team that crosses the fastest wins. You can even do this with multiple teams at a time to help the players learn to focus on a specific voice and drown out the rest!
8. Pizza Party!
Sometimes your team just need a bit of downtime to mess around and eat some good old pizza and ice cream. Don’t be afraid to give the team a night off and treat them to some expectation-free fun. It might feel like wasted time, but a chance to laugh and play instead of running drills might be just the pick me up they need.