My daughter played on an AAU basketball team this spring. It was a great experience for her in so many ways. She got a lot of court time, of course, and met some really nice girls, but she was also extremely frustrated with the attitude of a couple of her new teammates. Recently at our first high school summer practice, when she was reunited with her old teammates, she ran to each and every one of them as they came into the gym and gave them a big hug.
“I love you guys,” she told them as we met in the center circle.
She didn’t always feel this way. My daughter is intense on the court and can easily get annoyed if her teammates aren’t working as hard as she feels they should. I recognize this trait. It was me. I have learned to let go a bit, to respect different personalities. She is learning.
Last basketball season we spent a lot of time doing team-building activities, allowing the girls different opportunities to get to know one another better, understand one another and in the end trust one another. You can see it in the way they play defense together (most of the time), talking and moving as one. It’s a beautiful thing.
Team dynamics ebb and flow throughout the season, so simple team-building activities help break up practice time and more important help cultivate, build and strengthen compatibility and friendships. Our girls make posters that embody their hopes and dreams for the season (that we display in the locker room), guide one another (blind folded) through obstacles and run good old-fashioned relays.
One simple activity that we use is “Two Truths and a Lie.” In small groups, or with partners, the girls take turns giving three facts about themselves. Two are true. One is a lie. Then the others, or other, try to guess which is the lie. This is always a hit and the players learn about one another, and get to know sides of their teammates that they might otherwise never know.
Whether you’re a team captain, a coach or you are in charge of employees at work, try some team-building activities and see what happens. You may gain a better understanding of those around you, perhaps learn something about yourself and at the very least, have a little fun.
links to more team-building activities: