Erica Marx

Zip Zap Zop

by for .  

quick energizer game to unite a group 



listening and attention
group cohesion


Group stands in a circle.  One player claps at another and says "zip," the person clapped at then claps at someone else and says, "zap" and that person then claps at someone else and says, "zop."  The pattern then repeats, "zip," "zap," "zop," and so on.  

Coaching Notes:

From Will Hines' How To Be The Greatest Improviser On Earth 

"The next time you do Zip Zap Zop, notice how often you are startled when you are clapped at.  

Someone claps at you and says, "zip," and you give a very small start. "Whoa," you quietly say before continuing the exercise by clapping and saying, "zap."  You had sunk into yourself and detached from the moment.

All that happens in this exercise is people saying "zip," "zap," and "zop," yet those actions continually surprise the people doing it.

This is what we're up against when we are trying to be present.  Your mind is constantly trying to pull back from the current moment, sneak to somewhere deep inside yourself, and just watch.

But you need to be present, ready to respond.  Bend your knees ever so slightly, lean foward, and be in it." 


Zip Zap Zop with Emotion:  name that the four improv emotions "Mad, Glad, Sad, and Afra(i)d" and play the exercise with one of those four emotions.  Start with one, pause the exercise and tell everyone to shift to another, and so on.  It can then be helpful to ask everyone what direction each of those emotions goes in (sad goes down, glad up, mad forward, and afraid back).  Then you can play where each person does whatever emotion they feel inspired to do in the moment (so not everyone is playing the same emotion).

Pyramid Zip Zap Zop: this is for heady, thinky groups.  The pattern is as follows: one zip, one zap, one zop; two zips, two zaps, two zops; three zips, three zaps, three zops; back down to two zips, two zaps, two zops, and back down to one zip, one zap, one zop.   So it would start like this: zip, zap, zop, zip, zip, zap, zap, zop, zop, zip, zip, zip, zap, zap, zap, zop, zop, zop, and then back down.  Each person is still just saying one word.  


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