25 Team Building Activities for Football

football players doing a huddle with hands on ball to show team unity and spiritAs the beginning of a new season approaches, it’s important to remember why parents, coaches, teachers, communities and students work so hard to make a football team successful. Being part of a team teaches valuable life lessons beyond game day. Strengthen relationships with these team building activities for football. 

Building Communication 

  1. On the Clock - Learning to negotiate and use each other’s strengths is the key to teamwork — and to this activity. A list of activities is distributed to two teams, each with assigned point values. The team that achieves the highest number of points for activities of their choice wins. One task, such as running a lap, might be worth 10 points while completing a skill drill is worth 15. Players choose activities they believe they can accomplish in the best time based on the skills of their team members.
  2. Look ‘em in the Eyes - Nonverbal communication skills are also essential. Begin in a circle with your team. Using only their eyes, the first player signals another player to switch places. Play continues around the circle until all players have moved without any words or hand signals.
  3. Tag with a Twist - Instead of only making one player “it” at a time, two team members must work together to tag another member simultaneously.
  4. Build it with Bodies - Remember the childhood favorite “Simon Says”? In this teambuilding version, two teams compete to arrange themselves in shapes called out by their coach such as letters, numbers or pyramids. 

Coordinate football concession stand volunteers with a sign up. View an Example

Building Trust 

  1. Leading the Blind - In pairs of two, one team member is blindfolded and led onto an open field, while the other player must provide clear navigation instructions with their words only. The field is filled with a variety of obstacles, such as cones, balls, towels or other safe objects. Several teams of two compete simultaneously for the best speed, listening skills and accuracy.
  2. Blindsided - While blindfolded, all players must work together to complete a simple building task. Depending on the age of your group, consider everything from block towers to Legos to small tents.

Building Connections 

  1. Bridging the Gap - Divide a small number of supplies (consider chopsticks, paper clips, popsicle sticks, tape and glue) between two teams challenged to build a bridge over a bucket of water. Then test each bridge by placing coins on top one at a time until one of the bridges collapses.
  2. Joined at the Hip - Or ankle, or wrist. Teams of two compete in relays while tied together.
  3. Minute to Win it Games - Any variation on these short challenges can be easy ways to build team cooperation and lighten the mood. Genius Tip: Try one of our top 50 minute to win it games, from brain games to physical feats.

Building Outside Your Comfort Zone 

  1. Talk it Out - Organize short activities that require nonphysical skills, such as brainstorming ways to solve problems not related to their sport. Consider asking small groups to put on skits presenting their ideas on leadership, listening or mentorship.
  2. Take a Ballet Class - Of course, we know it’s good for agility training, but if you can’t convince the team to actually attend one in public, consider ballet videos with a focus on flexibility.
  3. Support Other Schools or Local Teams - As a team, attend and cheer on another sport.

Building Rapport 

  1. Watch the Movie Rudy - Did anyone say popcorn? Whenever players need instant inspiration, just remember how you felt at the end of this motivational classic.
  2. Beach Ball Questions - Using a thick Sharpie, write a variety of questions from simple (What is your favorite food?) to more complex (When is it hardest for you to concentrate?) on a large beach ball to be tossed around a circle. Players must answer whichever question their thumb lands on upon their catch.
  3. Go on a Road Trip - It doesn’t have to be far or costly to build camaraderie.
  4. Lost and Found - Two groups are presented with the scenario that they have been stranded on a deserted island and left with a list of 20 items. Each team must choose only five items to keep and explain their choices.

Building Responsibility 

  1. Volunteer as a Team - Completing service projects together is an excellent way to build strong bonds and give back to the community that supports your team.
  2. Host a Workshop Together - Mentoring younger players is not only a great way to promote your sport and raise funds, it can also strengthen teamwork and reinforce key skills.

Organize sports camp registration with a sign up. View an Example

Building Each Other Up 

  1. Make “Bank” Deposits - Team members are given a “bank deposit” notebook with their name on it to be placed in a central area such as the locker room. After practices and games, players and coaches are encouraged to make new “deposits” in the form of positive feedback notes and appreciation.
  2. Assign Secret Teammates - Using the secret Santa format, team members are assigned someone to specifically encourage for the week by leaving secret snacks, positive notes or encouraging quotes in their locker or gym bag.
  3. Teammate Trivia - Team members are given questionnaires including items such as pet peeves, favorite foods, superstitions, secret talents and more. These answers are then compiled and placed on index cards. Using a format similar to the game show Jeopardy, two teams must then compete to see who knows their teammates best.
  4. Team Practice Awards - Host informal award ceremonies or shout-outs for teammates based not on performance but attitude and effort during practice.

Plan practice snack helpers with a sign up. View an Example

Building Connections 

  1. Plan Team Nights Outside Practice - Although this seems like an obvious choice for building friendship, it’s often pushed aside by busy schedules and lack of planning in advance. Events like laser tag and pizza nights can add up to so much more than their surface value.
  2. Tower Power - Divide into teams of four or more to see who can create the tallest tower in five minutes using raw spaghetti noodles, mini marshmallows and scotch tape.
  3. Team Group Chat - Coaches or players create a daily calendar with questions designed for team members to respond to and share by text message.
While there are many activities designed to build team strength and unity, it’s really about spending enough quality time together to create shared memories and foster stronger relationships. 

Laura Jackson is a freelance writer based in Hilton Head, S.C. with her husband and two teenagers.