Time: 15 – 25 minutes (10 – 30 people)
Requirements: a stopwatch, different balls or toys for pets
Objective: Icebreaker, simulation of flow and TeamWork – Varaiation of that is the BallPoint Game
(out of Erich Ziegler’s ‘das australische Schwebholz)
Get to know each other
The whole group is standing in a circle – including the facilitator, he is the starting and end point. The facilitator starts to throw a ball to a person – establish eye contact before you throw the ball – this is important for all participants!
The person who catches the ball call out loud her full name. It is important that the person who has thrown the ball memorizes the full name of the person who catched the ball, needed for the next round. Now the person who catched the ball throws it to the next person with the same purpose – the person who catches the ball call out loud her name and the person who has thrown it memorizes the full name. At the end of the first round the ball took a zigzag round through the circle, so that everybody gets the ball exactly once and the ball is back where it started – at the facilitator.
Note: everybody need to take care that the ball does not fall to the ground!
Get into the flow
Starting the second round.
The facilitator establishes eye contact to the person he has thrown the ball in the first round, calls her name out loud and throws the ball to that person again. The person who catches the ball continue, establishes eye contact to the next person of the first round, calls her name out loud and throws the ball to that person again and so on.
A second time the ball zigzags through the circle in same order as before. This order is maintained throughout the whole game.
Let the ball flow through the circle for two rounds. When starting a third round, more and more balls (or toys) are brought into the game by the facilitator.
Target is to get into the flow, take care that people are concentrated and that the group takes care of each other.
After some rounds, the facilitator removes every ball (or toy) which arrives at him until the whole flow stops as there are no more items in the game anymore.
Ask the group what they observed and how has it felt.
Starting the Teamwork Challenge
The facilitator steps out of the circle and picks up the Stopwatch.
The person who catched the ball from the facilitator in the rounds before is now the start and end point. The objective now is to reach the best time the ball, just one in this level, need to flow once through the whole circle in the maintained order. The time starts when the first person throws the ball and is stopped when it reaches her again.
You will reach about 1:30 min in the first round, playing this game with approximately 20 people.
Challenge them to do better – let them find their own shape – they don’t need to stand in a circle anymore but the maintained order is still a precondition and that the person who starts throwing the ball is also still the end point. It is also required that every person touches the ball exactly once.
Perhaps they will find a shape which looks like the following picture. Be aware that this shape requires that the person who starts throwing the ball runs to the end point after starting the game so that she is able to catch the ball at the end.
Maybe they will reach a time about 45 seconds now.
Challenge them that they can do better – best result for a group of this size is 13 seconds!
After 2 or 3 rounds they will probably shape into one big cluster, forming their hands recreating a tube top down. The first person drops the ball in the tube at the top, get down to the floor and catches the ball when it arrives at the ground.
Maybe they find a complete other solution.
What is important, they now will work as a team, trying to reach the best time.
Now you don’t have a group anymore, you have created a working team. They might reach a time about 10-15 seconds.
Ask them what they observed, how it felt to be challenged and how they feel right now.
Make a debriefing and close the game!