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Team Building - Activity of the Month
March 2011, Hula Hoop Circle

This is a simple team building exercise that makes some important points. The props are inexpensive, and the preparation time will be brief.

It requires 2-3 hula hoops ( for a very large group, say of 50, three hoops might be best ).
  • Have the group members stand next to each other in a circle.
  • Have team members join hands. You need to participate as well.
  • Put one of your arms through a hula hoop before joining hands with one of the partners next to you.
  • Instruct the team that you, as a group, will now pass the hoop completely around the circle without releasing your hand grips with each other. (Caution them not to hurt each other’s wrist/fingers/etc. as they work to manipulate the hoop over each other’s heads, etc.) This is usually a humorous process, and the group will enjoy it. They will probably cheer when the hoop makes it entirely around the circle.
  • After pausing, you can discuss what it took to succeed, and then move on to the next step.
  • Quickly introduce one or two more hula hoops at equally spaced places around the perimeter of the circle.
  • Give the team the instruction that now they are trying to catch each other’s hula hoops. (Don’t allow time for discussion. Say, “go" quickly and start moving the hoops.)
  • Typically, the teams will frantically try to move the hoops around the circle, trying to catch the other hoops. What is interesting is that this sense of competition is self-defeating in the exercise. To solve the exercise, all they have to realize is that if they stop one of the hoops, the others will catch up and the objective will be achieved. Instead, they will probably continue to compete, and thus not accomplish the mission.
Ask questions such as the following to provoke discussion:
  • What was necessary to successfully move the hoops around the circle without releasing hands? Cooperation, agility, assisting each other,….
  • Are there examples in our real work/study together where cooperation and assisting each other is important? Examples? Why?
  • What did we do when we introduced multiple objectives, and the new mission? Started competing with each other. Cooperation ceased, Etc.
  • Are there times when competition can hurt our overall mission with work/study? What examples? Why?
  • How do we prevent negative competition?
  • When is competition positive? Why?
  • When is competition negative? Why?
  • Etc…..

Have fun as you learn,





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