Getting a group of teenage teammates to work together can be disastrous if they are not connected to each other on a more personal level. Whether you are coaching your son's soccer team or your daughter's softball team, it is imperative that the teens bond as a team if they are going to be successful. Plan team building games that will both bring the teens together and allow them to have a blast while doing so.
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Getting to Know You
Plan games that help the teens get to know each other if they don't already. For one activity, form groups based on similarities. You can say, "find a group of people who have the same amount of siblings as you do." Once groups are formed, the teens do a mini interview of each other, regarding whether they are the oldest, youngest or middle sibling. Call out a new category every five minutes so everyone can meet different people. For another game, have the kids play people bingo, giving them bingo cards with things like "has a cat" or "has learner's permit" on it. The teens must go around looking for people to sign the spaces on the cards if they match it.
Put the teens into small teams for some friendly competition that will require teamwork. You can give the teens a deck of cards and have them race to build the tallest card tower. They must reach a certain height and have it stand for 5 seconds to win. You could also have the the teams compete in clothing relay races, where each person on the team has to run to a location and pick an article of clothing. When everything has been collected, they must race to dress one member of the time in a silly outfit, like a clown suit. Another idea is to have the teams form a human knot by standing in a circle and grabbing hands with two people across from them. The team who can get out of the knot first, without breaking hands, wins.
Trust is an important part of team bonding. Put the kids into pairs to do a blind trust walk. Create a winding obstacle course that one teen has to go through, blindfolded, while their partner talks him through the course. If the blindfolded teen bumps into or steps on anything, the team must start over. You could do a group trust walk as well, having every member of the team blindfolded except for one. Take turns having people take the lead. Another idea is to challenge the teens to get everyone standing on a low balance beam without falling. The first person stands on one end of the beam and helps the second person pass him to stand next to him on the beam and so forth. If anyone falls, the team must start over again.
Strategic Team Thinking
Have the team work on strategic challenges that require them to brainstorm and strategize together. Have the teens stand on one full-sized bed sheet, a "magic carpet." The teens must figure out how to turn the magic carpet over without anyone stepping on the ground in any way. Another idea is to use tape to create a "river" and tell the team it is filled with piranhas. They can only cross using several magic stepping stones (cardboard squares) in the water. However, once someone steps on a stone, one person must have at least one foot on it at all times or it will sink. The team must also stay connected by holding hands to get across and cannot break it until the entire team has made it to the other side.