Basketball Team Building Exercises

Basketball team celebrating

Team sports, especially basketball, require members of a team to function as one unit to maximize efforts to win the game. On offense, a team must move with precision, and on defense players must have trust in their teammates to help. Building a team on the court is not always easy, but if you are able to mold your players into a team, success will follow.

Blindfold Maze or Obstacle Course

Divide players into groups of three. Blindfold one player. The blindfolded player's two partners guide her verbally through the maze or obstacle course without physical contact. The guides are challenged with balancing communication and giving instructions. This exercise promotes working together by players and also gives the coach a chance to find verbal leaders and to identify players that step up in challenging situations.

Tangled Knot

Divide the team into groups of four to nine players. Each group forms a circle facing each other. Players reach across and grab another player’s hand or forearm. Once each player is holding on to another player, each player reaches across the circle again and grabs onto a different player’s hand or forearm so that each player is holding onto two different players. At this point the groups should look as if they are tangled in a knot. Through talking and teamwork, the group tries to untangle itself without breaking any of the hand holds. When the exercise is complete the group is in a circle again.

Team Passing

Players divide into groups of five to eight and form a circle. Team members pass a basketball around the circle calling the name of each player when they pass the ball. The object is for every player to pass the ball to each player in that group only once. This creates team bonding and allows players to learn the other players’ names. This is especially beneficial with a new group of players.

Catch the Name

Divide players into groups of four to six. Players form a small circle with one player in the middle. The circle should be small enough that the player in the middle can reach and touch each player in the circle. One player in the circle begins by calling the name of another player in the circle, which makes that player “it.” The player who is "it" then calls another player’s name making him “it.” The player in the middle must try to tag the “it” player before the “it” player can say another name and pass the title of being “it.” Once a player is caught, he changes places with the player in the middle of the circle.