Basketball Team Building Activities

December 31, 2017
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When a new basketball team gets together for the first time, it’s natural for the atmosphere to be a little awkward. From this point on, they are teammates in name, but not quite yet in feeling. It will always be somewhat uncomfortable as everyone begins to gel together, figure one another out, and lay the foundation for the bonds that will drive the season.

The “getting to know you” process can form strong bonds if left to occur naturally. However, “naturally” also tends to translate to “takes a long time”-- time that most new basketball teams don’t necessarily have. In an effort to fast forward the process, the following team building exercises may be of use:

Step One: The Relaxed Team Outing

Forced introductions and getting-to-know-you speeches aren’t particularly useful; they feel forced, and can create a stilted dynamic, especially for those who are not confident public speakers.

The best way to unite players in the first instance is to let them spend some time together in a non-basketball setting. Go for a meal, to the movies, or head to a bowling alley. This gives everyone a chance to relax and be themselves, rather than forcing interaction in an unnatural way.

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Step Two: Team Communication

With the team already a little more familiar with one another, move onto a team communication drill.

  • The entire team lines up against the baseline of the court;
  • Everyone links arms, so the entire team is bound in a human chain.
  • They are then instructed to walk to the other baseline…
  • … but the catch is that they must all cross the other baseline at the same time.

This encourages communication; deciding what pace to walk at, and then ensuring everyone is ready to take the final step when they cross the baseline at the other end of the court.

Step Three: Deepening Communication

After the first two activities, the team should be learning to communicate and understand one another. This foundation can then be built upon with a blindfold test.

  • All but one player forms a circle, facing inward.
  • The remaining player stands in the center.
  • The player in the center is then blindfolded; the teammates surrounding them are not.
  • The center player then has to throw a basketball to one of his teammates.
  • They are guided by the other teammates into position to make a successful throw.
  • When their teammate catches the ball, they become the center player, put on the blindfold, and the process repeats.

This activity encourages effective communication, as the center player has to be guided into position to make the throw. It also encourages tolerance; some players in the center role may not respond well to directions, so their teammates will have to be particularly patient to ensure they are providing the right instructions. You can also try timing this activity if you want to add an extra stressor and enhance the communication skills that are so essential on the court.

The above activities should help a new basketball team bond together in a progressive, natural way, so everyone can look forward to the season ahead.

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