Thiagi Group

Stress Balls

by .  
10 - 155 + Low
Understanding the importance of communication and teamwork is an important requirement for high performance teams of knowledge workers. This exercise is an effective energizer that requires communication and teamwork. Ask participants to form a circle and throw a ball around to simulate the movement of a message. Change different variables such as speed, quantity, and complexity to create a mess.


To demonstrate the importance of communication, teamwork, feedback, and working under pressure on a complex task.





    Explain the game. Tell the participants that you will throw a stress ball to the person on your left. That person will throw the ball to the person on her left and so on until the ball comes back to you.

    Start the ball circulating. Throw the ball to a participant on your left and watch as it comes around slowly.

    Conduct a quick debriefing. Ask and discuss these types of questions:

    • How did we do?
    • What can we learn from that exercise?
    • How fast did the ball travel?
    • Can we move the ball faster?

    Start the second round. Explain that you will now repeat the process and time the event to see how fast the participants can get the ball back to you. Time the round and announce the results.

    Conduct another quick debriefing:

    • How did we do?
    • What impact did the timing have on the speed of the ball movement?
    • Was it more difficult to get the ball around this time? Did you have to concentrate more on the activity?

    Add a second ball. Explain that you will send two balls around, one after the other. Start the activity and find the time required for both balls to come back to you.

    Add a third ball. Explain that the third ball will travel in the opposite direction. Get the balls started and time the event.

    Conclude the activity. Thank the participants for focusing on the keeping the balls moving rapidly.


    Ask and discuss the following types of questions:

    • What happened as the speed and complexity increased? How did the behaviour of the team members change?
    • What did you learn from different rounds of the activity?
    • What if we added a fourth ball travelling in a random order?
    • How can we apply the lessons from this activity for managing complex projects where speed is a major requirement?


    Comments (1) (4.0 avg / 3 ratings)

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    • can you please explain the goal of the activity better. I do understand it is related to the stress increases but I am not able to understand other things. Can you please explain. Thanks in advance.

      over 4 years ago