Jul 22, 2021 • 5 min read
As adults, we often assume that getting the kids onto the fields and into youth sports is all that needs to happen to build a cohesive, tight-knit team. But in some instances, that isn’t necessarily the case, and building a sense of connectedness and belonging is a big reason why parents enroll their kids in sports year over year. Sometimes, the teams don’t just come together as effortlessly as we’d like. So how can coaches help ensure everyone on the team feels connected and included? Team building activities are a great way to bridge that gap when your team isn’t as close you’d hoped.
For starters, they help build relationships between teammates. Most team-building activities require a certain amount of problem-solving and learning to voice and listen to different perspectives on how to approach the task at hand. This aids in the development of social skills, communication skills, as well as leadership skills. Team building also forces your players to think critically about the situation at hand and try different approaches to solving their problem if the first approach didn’t work. This is a great lesson in analysis and feedback and that it’s okay to fail and try again.
Before you take your team out for a day of activities, remember exactly what gaps you are trying to solve for within your team: is your team struggling with morale and confidence or connection? Do your players already know each other from school? Or are these athletes coming together from different areas and don’t know each other at all? Are they struggling to communicate effectively on the field and work together as a team? Assess the current state of your team, identify any areas for improvement and choose activities that will help solve those. Once you know what you’re looking for, it will be easier to plan your day and choose the most effective activities to meet your player’s needs.
While the words ‘team-building activities’ and ‘icebreakers’ can make most adults cringe, that’s not the case for kids and teens. But be sure to maximize the fun potential in each of your games, because that’s what ultimately will help create a deeper sense of connection amongst teammates. Since sports is something that they already have in common, try choosing games that are more movement-oriented.
To get you started, we put together a quick list of fun team-building activities for teams of any age.
Team activities don’t have to just be for the players either, creating the best member experience for your team or club also includes your parents, so bring them in for some fun too. Get tickets for a local sporting event and go as a group or plan a BBQ where everyone can attend and bring their favorite dish to eat. Add your team event to your schedule on TeamSnap and you can even use the Assignments tab to have parents list the potluck meal of choice they plan to bring!
Don’t have TeamSnap for Teams yet? What are you waiting for?! Sign up for a free 21-day trial today. Or check out our club and league solution, TeamSnap for Clubs and Leagues if your team is part of a larger sports organization.