Team Building Activities for Teenage Athletes

These team building activities are carefully selected to help teenage athletes to develop as a cohesive coordinated team. Out perform your rivals by learning these teamwork skills:

  1. communication,
  2. leadership,
  3. understanding and respecting individual’s roles,
  4. knowing each other’s abilities to predict positions and play,
  5. trusting and depending on each other
  6. morale and motivation.

I have chosen team building activities for teenage athletes that are not just about playing games, but specifically improve key teamwork skills that boost overall team performance as well as individual skill. as part of an outstanding team.

Team Cooperation

teen girl athletes talk to coach playing softball
Team building activities for teenage athletes

One of the key challenges that coaches face in training teenage athletes for teams is to get the players to work together. In young children, you will always see every child following the ball around a sports pitch all trying to get it themselves. By the time they are teens, they are beginning to learn that by spreading out and passing the ball around they have a better chance of winning.

Understanding and sticking to a particular role on the athletics team will also help teens to be better at working together as a team.

Sports Team building games that develop cooperation

Human pyramids

Teenagers seem to love the physical element of this is they are good friends. How high can you build a human pyramid or tower?

Egg Toss

How far can you throw a raw egg to your fellow teen so that they can successfully catch it?

The levitating Stick

This team building activity involves the team getting into two rows facing each other. Everyone holds out their index finger and you place a lightweight cane or stick so that it rests on everyone’s fingers. The team then have to lower the stick to the ground whilst keeping their fingers in contact with the stick.

What happens is that someone will usually apply more pressure on the stick and it will go up a bit. Someone else realises that their finger is not longer touching the stick so they raise their finger. The stick then ends up magically levitating up into the air as everyone lifts their fingers.

It takes coordination to get the stick to the ground.

Trust and Prediction

Getting to know what your team mates will do in a situation is vital to winning and outperforming your opposition. Teen athletes have to be given some special team exercises that encourage them to learn each others strengths, abilities and behaviours. By doing so, teens can then begin to trust one another, and know how thir team mates will respond to situations.

Knowing how other teen athletes perform on the team enables players to pass the ball into space knowing that their team mate can run fast enough to get there and know that they will be expected to find that space.

Teen athlete team building trust exercises

The Wall

Find an assault course that has a ten foot wall in it. The team has to get everyone over the wall. It takes planning, as the strongest person who can lift the other up onto the wall may not be the best person that everyone else has to then pull up the wall.

Electric Fence

This is one of the most popular trust building activities for youth groups. Set up a fence made of rope with large squares. This can either be ready made or you can use several pieces of rope to make a spider’s web sort of arrangement. The team then have to get every teen through the electric fence without touching the ropes. Lots of trust required.

Canoe catamaran trust

Using two canoes, balance beams between them and the team leader sits on the beam. Teams then canoe a course around the lake.

Getting teen athletes to communicate with their team

Teens are very good at keeping their intentions to themselves. Oh yes they post everything on social media, but when it comes to being on the playing field, teachers have to really encourage them to tell each other how to work together during a game or competition.

Shouting out and calling for a ball, or giving directions will help teens to improve. These team building activities give teen athletes the opportunity to try out new skills by improving their communication techniques and understanding just how important to success communication is.

Communication team building activities for teen athletes

Crate Stacking

You need proper climbing gear for crate stacking. Rig a safety line and pulley high above the place where you will be stacking your crates. The stacker has to stack the crates into a tower as tall as they can, whilst balancing on the top. They need to wear a climbing harness, and helmet, with someone belaying them from the ground.

The team have to pass the crates up to the stacker. Takes guts and teamwork.

Sailing

One way to get the team to work together is to send them on a sailing day. The skipper will teach them how to work as a crew, and they will not only learn how to work together, but also learn a new skill.

Get the Canister from Toxic Area

This is a popular team building challenge. Set up a can inside a taped off area. Give the team some equipment to retrieve the can without touching the ground inside the area. One variation I have done is to attach an ammo box up a tall tree containing supper for the team. They have to use climbing gear to climb up the tree, retrieve the box and return without dropping it inside the area. Inside the box can be anything you want that they can cook over an open fire. We had two chickens in ours. We plucked and prepared them while others in the team made the fire. Lovely.

If you aren’t that adventurous, you can just put sweets in the can.

Motivating teen athletes through team building activities

Football Teenage Athletes working as a team
Learning from success to develop teenage athlete teams

To make it easier to motivate teams to win and concentrate on improving, the hypothesis used to be that teens should learn about what they did wrong when they failed or lost. Research has shown that teams dramatically improve their morale and winning chances by actually focussing on what they did well and expanding on it. Scientists had athletes watch replays of every game where they performed well, and compared their season’s results with teams who tried to learn from their mistakes. The positive focussed teams significantly outperformed their rivals throughout the season.

So, to boost teen athletes morale, you need to run some challenging team building activities where they are likely to succeed by working together. You will have to show them at first how to succeed, but once they get it, their morale will begin to lift and you can start increasing the level of challenge. You will be quite pleasantly surprised by the positive outcomes from all of the teens. Smiles all round and high fives.

Morale boosting team building activities for teen athletes

Balance on a brick

How many people can balance on a brick at once? You can use any surface to hand, such as a milk crate. Or how many teens can you get in a phone box or in a car.

Target Practice

Use any projectile to hit a target. Water, paint or flour bombs are the best. The team has to build their contraption for launching their ammo. See which team can fire it the furthest, or get closest to a target. You can also have a battle firing at each other. Eye protection is advised. Get building those trebuchets, catapults, water bombs slings and ballistas.

Parachute Games

Take one large parachute and get your teen athletes to use it to flip a ball as far as they can.  Coordination and communication is key.  You can also use two parachutes to pass the ball back and forth. You can buy some great parachute games books on Amazon.

More team building activities for teens

Team building activities for teens.

Physical team building activities

Human pyramid team building activity variations