Sound Ball

Purpose
To increase spontaneity, teamwork, and participation and to decrease the tendency to think ahead instead of listening.

Participants

5 to 50. Best with 10 to 25.

Time
12-30 minutes.

Setup

Large empty room or space.

Flow
Ask players to stand in a circle.
Pretend to hold a ball in your hand. “Show” this imaginary ball to everyone. Tell players that they will be throwing this ball around.
Explain that you are going to throw the ball to one of the players. Before you throw the ball, you will make a special sound.
Instruct everyone to keep their eyes on the ball and get ready to catch it. Before catching the ball, the player should make the same sound that you made.
Make a sound and “throw” the ball to someone. Make sure that this player makes the same sound and catches the ball.
Explain that the catcher can now throw the player to any other player, making a new sound as the ball is thrown. The receiving player repeats the sound and catches the ball. This player throws the ball to any other player, making a new sound.
Once the ball is being thrown around at a fairly brisk pace, introduce another imaginary ball and start throwing it. When the group gets proficient at it, you can have three or four balls in play.

Debriefing
Stop the activity when you the group gets into a flow and it appears that many of the participants are engaged and having more fun. Conduct a debriefing discussion.

Elicit and emphasize these ground rules for creative collaboration:
• Pay attention to the present. Be in the moment. Don't think ahead.
• Build on the ideas of others. Make the next obvious sound.
• Embrace failure. Don't censor your behavior.
• Make your partner look good. Play to team-win.
• If in a brainstorming session: All ideas are ok. Since there are no such things as “good” and “bad” sounds, this is an opportunity to practice “throwing out” ideas or sounds without worrying about whether they are crazy or stupid.

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