Fun Ideas for Halftime Contests

a young caucasian boy in a yellow shirt dribbles a basketball

By running a contest at halftime, you turn what could be a few minutes of boredom into an energizing time for your crowd. If you’re looking for a contest to use with fewer participants, try traditional competitions like field goal kicking and basketball shooting contests. To incorporate larger groups of contestants, opt for events like relay race and musical chair contests. Offer prizes like team t-shirts or items donated by local businesses to the winners.

Field Goal Contests

Popular halftime activities include the field goal contest at football games, and the halfcourt and progressive shooting contests at basketball games. For the field goal contest, select three contestants to participate. Place the ball on a tee at either the 20, 25, 30, 35 or 40 yard line. Each contestant gets one try to kick the ball through the uprights. If multiple contestants succeed, move the ball back 5 yards and have them kick again. Continue until you have one winner.

Basketball Traditions

For the basketball halfcourt shot contest, select one contestant to try and shoot the basketball from behind the halfcourt line. Making the shot wins a prize, ideally something significant enough to reflect the difficulty of shooting the ball from that distance. For the progressive shooting contest, organize two teams of two players each. The teams position themselves at opposite baskets. One player on each team shoots while her teammate rebounds. She has to hit a layup, free throw, three-pointer and halfcourt shot. The first team to succeed wins. If you only have one team, give them 30 seconds to complete all the shots.

Shoe Scramble Race

The shoe scramble race involves selecting 5 to 10 participants and having each take off his shoes. Have the contestants stand at the baseline or end line, facing away from the court or field, as you scatter the shoes around. On your whistle, the contestants turn and race to find their shoes. They must put their shoes on and then race back to the starting point. The first contestant to cross the line wins.

Relay Race

The relay race competition can be used at most sporting competitions. Organize two to four teams, with each team having two to four players. Have each team line up at the baseline or endline. One player goes at a time. He begins with a basketball, football or soccer ball and must dribble or carry the ball to the halfcourt line for basketball, the 30-yard line for football or the penalty box line for soccer. There, he must turn and pass or kick the ball to his next teammate in line, who acquires the ball and repeats what his teammate did. The first player must run back to the endline and be ready to catch the ball from his last teammate. The first team to have all players perform the activity wins.

Musical Chairs

The musical chairs contest works best for basketball, because you need to play loud enough music for the contestants and crowd to hear. Pick four to five contestants. Place the chairs at center court, one fewer than the number of contestants. Each contestant gets a ball. When the music plays, the contestants must dribble and walk around the group of chairs. When the music stops, they must race to take a seat. The player who is left without a seat is out. On the next round, take away a chair and repeat until there is only one player standing.