As many coaches have realized, team chemistry is critically important to the success or not, of your team. Strong relationships between teammates actually give you a huge competitive edge on the court.
And to bring this full circle – the closer knit the team is, the happier they will be at practice and the more likely they’ll be to sacrifice personal goals for the better of the team.
The unfortunate thing is that you can't force these relationships to form. But you can provide the settings to allow them to flourish. How? Team activities outside of the gym. Sometimes, without the coaching staff present. Encourage your captains to host these events through all parts of the season - yes, even now!
Some of our favorite ideas are listed below.
Check out the great video created by InVideo recapping our 15 ideas.
1. Go Kart Racing $$$ Everyone loves a little friendly competition doing activities from their childhood.
2. Buddy Mini- Golf $$ Pair up vets with rookies and send them off to play mini-golf.
3. Meal Packing - FREE Host or venture to a non-profit organization to give your time packing meals for those less fortunate. Search "food packing volunteering" to find a place. Rise Against Hunger & Feed My Starving Children are a few examples.
4. Bond Over Ice Cream $ Most people love a good dessert. Keep the gathering simple and take the team out for ice cream. When I was in school we used to go get Froyo as a team and no one ever complained!
5. Sports Game $$$ While basketball is our game, consider a team outing event for another sport. Try out a MLB or NHL game.
6. Indoor Sky Diving $$$$ Here is a team building activity for the more adventurous teams. Try an indoor skydiving event. At iFly, you can participate in a safe yet heart-pumping adventure!
7. Cooking Class $$ Cooking is a great team building event - believe it or not. This will allow smaller groups to bond and share responsibilities in creating a (hopefully) delicious meal! Through a service such as Kitchensurfing, you can hire a professional chef to come cook a fancy meal for you in someone's home or a school kitchen.
8. Escape Rooms $$ Escape rooms are a great bonding activity that requires leadership skills, teamwork, logic, and patience.These have become a popular team-building exercise for good reason! Search "escape rooms" to see if any are in your area.
9. Laser Tag $$$ Laser tag will not only get people's hearts racing but provide some friendly competition. What athlete doesn't love that?
10. Build the Tallest Tower / Egg Drop Challenege $ Using whatever’s provided (marshmallows & toothpicks are a classic), teams must build the tallest free-standing structurethat survives without support for 6 seconds or longer. Another similar game is the classic egg-drop challenge. Allow time of 30 minutes per team and offer the winners something we all love - Gatorade!
11. Bowling $ There’s most likely a bowling alley near every town on earth, so there’s no excuse to not make an afternoon of it sometime. It’s a great icebreaker, and, when not taken too seriously, is fun for everyone.
12. Go to a Movie $$ If your team is in need of a mental break, take them all out for a movie!
14. Scavenger Hunt $ A scavenger is a great team bonding exercise that helps break up cliques by encouraging people to work together for a common goal. However, something like this does take some planning and creative minds!
15. Paintball $$ Paintball is a fun activity most players don't get to try. Set clear rules before you start to avoid injuries. Divide the group into two teams and have at it!
These are all great ideas that your teams would love, but we understand that budget will play a factor for most programs. Try to treat your team to at least one big outing a year - and aim for free events otherwise. Looking for more? We love this list of youth team building exercises where many can be done right in your gym.