Making it Fun Part 1 – Hidden Conditioning & Icebreakers

‘You can make more friends in 2 months by becoming interested in other people than you can in 2 years by trying to get other people interested in you’ – Dale Carnegie in How to Win Friends and Influence People
Today we’ll share 2 different types of ideas you can use in your practices:
1 – Icebreakers
2 – Hidden Conditioning
Don’t underestimate the value of starting your practice with some type of activity to switch your athletes’ mindset from school, friends, homelife, etc. to being on this team. Here are some great ideas (thanks to Will Drumright and James Leath for sharing some of these):
  • Rock, paper, scissors, cheerleader – Everyone pairs off and plays best 2 out of 3. The winner moves on and finds another winner, the person who lost becomes cheerleader (or entourage if you want a more masculine word) for whoever beat them. Continue until down to 2 people. Make a big deal about who has the best entourage before the championship match. You can have coaches watching the entourages throughout the whole process and give award to the final 2 players and also the 2 best cheerleaders.
  • ​​​​​​​Clumps – Start by everyone running around then leader yells out a number and the players have to form clumps with that number of people.
  • 1,2, 3 – Partner up. One person starts with 1 the other says 2, then the first says 3, and so on. (try to mess up your partner, different voice inflections, etc.) After a couple rounds change 3 to a clap. Finally, change 1 and 2 to Yee and Haw.
  • The Pigeon Game: You start telling a story, when the kids hear ‘Pigeon’- they race to the other side. You make it fun by trying to fake them out, i.e.: ‘there was a boy name PETER who really liked PICKLES…’
Hidden Conditioning Games
​​​​​​​Starting or ending your practice with hidden conditioning games instead of wind sprints can improve the ‘funness’ of your practices immensely. Remember – it’s a game and the #1 reason kids play sports is to have fun! Here a few great ideas:
  • Play your sport with a different ball. Way bigger or way smaller than the normal one.
  • Ultimate frisbee is a great game for conditioning for any outdoor sport
  • Dodgeball and tag are classics that kids always like. Instead of kids standing around after they are knocked out make them jog around the outside perimeter of your game.
  • Fox and hound – Hounds have the ball, foxes chase them, if fox tags you, you have to give them ball
  • Relay races
  • Four-corner tag – 4 players at a time – each kid starts in a corner and runs to the middle, then you yell out a corner number, and the kid from that corner has to tag the other 3 kids in 10 seconds.  You see some great open-field juke moves with this.

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