Team building and team building exercises are extremely important for any team sport. They help bring players closer together, help players understand each other and can improve the overall performance of the team. Unfortunately, a lot of amaetur coaches and teams underestimate the importance of team building exercises, instead focusing purely on skills and fitness based training. While this can work in some cases, it is usually best to approach training with a balanced approach which includes some sort of team building.
Why is team building so important?
There are many reasons why you should include some sort of team building drills in your basketball training program. Most of these are centered around improving the performance of a basketball team as a whole, rather than making any single player better. Some reasons why team building exercises are extremely important include:
A team of weak players working together will usually beat a team of strong players who don’t:
This sort of thinking is hammered into young basketball players from the first training session that they take part in. Junior coaches tend to encourage young players by telling them that it doesn’t matter how skilled they are, but rather how good they are at playing for the team. As players grow up they soon realise for themselves that weak players who work together as a team are often able to beat strong players who play for their own glory – this is the essence of teamwork.
Unfortunately, a lot of people who join a team sport when they are a bit older don’t seem to realise how important it is to work as a team. They focus on improving their own skills and fitness, but won’t necessarily work on fitting into the team. This can be detrimental to both their own and the team’s performance.
Team building exercises can help create fluency on the court:
The best basketball teams seem to move with impossible fluency. Every player seems to know exactly where their teammates are, how they are going to move, and what the limit of their skills is. This is a result of team building exercises.
Once you really know your fellow teammates you will find that it becomes much, much easier to work together. As a coach you will notice little connections begin to develop between players – connections which make them work better together on the court. It is your role to grow these connections until you have a team of players who completely understand each other and the way they play. If you can do this, you will have a lot of success, no matter what league you are in.
Team building will bring weaker players up to the level of the team:
One major problem when it comes to playing basketball in a team is dealing with very weak players or with players who haven’t played before. While it can be tempting to simply put them on the bench for a while until they get up to speed – or at least to give them game time when the result isn’t in the balance – it is important to do whatever you can to develop these players.
Engaging in team building activities will help bring the skill level of weaker players up. It will help to even out the performance of the team as a whole. Everyone will understand better how the other players on the team perform in certain situations, and will be able to adjust accordingly.
Simple team building activities to strengthen your basketball team:
There are many, many different team building activities out there that you can use with any team sport. However, some are more appropriate to basketball than others. They will help you build your team up to be as good as it can be, and should be included in your training program regularly. Some of our favourite basketball team building exercises include:
A pre-season camp:
If you are playing in any sort of serious competition, then you need to do a lot of pre-season training to make sure that your team is prepped for the first game of the season. One of the best things that you can do is plan some sort of pre-season camp.
Make sure that all team members attend, and that they participate in whatever activities you plan for them. Try and include a lot of things which will improve both the skills of your players and their ability to work together. Make them complete tasks which require a lot of teamwork, and offer prizes for the groups which work together the best. Most importantly, encourage all of the players to engage with and get along with all the others. This will make sure that your team is a close-knit and friendly with each other as possible.
This is a relatively simple exercise which is suited to teams of inexperienced players who don’t know each other. It is a great way to get players to engage with the team, to learn their teammates names, and to
Simple put all of the players on the team in a circle with a basketball. The player who starts with the ball passes to another player, while calling the name of the person they pass to. Make sure that they vary who they are passing to, and introduce some sort of penalty for calling the wrong name (for example, push-ups or a suicide sprint).
This is a very good activity to encourage trust between players. First, you need to set up some sort of obstacle course that a blindfolded player would be able to make their way through. Choose one player to be blindfolded, and have the rest stand by. The blindfolded player must make their way through the course by listening to the advice of their teammates.
Team building is absolutely vital when it comes to developing a successful basketball team. Team building activities are usually simple and straightforward to do, and they can have a huge impact on the success of your team. Try a few today and see how much of a difference they make!