An original and challenging group activity where the objective is to catch an ever increasing number of balls. The activity becomes increasingly more difficult with pressure mountain all the time. A great planning and collaboration activity that can be done inside and outside.
Step-by-Step Instructions for All Catch
- Plan before the activity and collect a number of balls or other soft items you can toss around.
- When the group is gathered, hand them one of the balls.
- Inform the person who has the ball to throw it into the air, making sure that it goes higher than the tallest person in the group.
- The ball must now be caught by another person and not by the one who threw it in the air.
- If somebody catches the ball, this is a successful round of the activity. Another ball is then added to the group.
- When any of the balls are dropped, the whole activity must start at the beginning again with one ball.
- Groups must try to get as many balls as possible in the group, this can be very challenging and fun.
- When the group is finished, have everybody discuss the experience.
How to Play All Catch in more detail
This entire game or activity is very simple and easy to do, everybody can get involved. The only difficult part would be to get all the balls or soft items together. Whatever you use must have some weight, not too heavy and light enough to throw. Using items like balloons will obviously not work, people will be jumping all over the place.
The first step for the activity, is to hand over only one ball to the group. Inform participants that every time the word “Go” is shouted out, the person who is holding the ball must now throw it into the air. The ball or item must be tossed into the air higher than the tallest person in the group, try for at least 30cm higher. Once the ball is in the air, somebody else in the group must catch it.
When the group successfully catches the ball, another ball will then be added. If the group carries on tossing and catching more balls or items will be added each time for the next round. This is pretty simple but involves a lot of hand eye coordination. The game can become quite fast, and the more balls added, the more intense and challenging it becomes. Once a few items or balls are being tossed around, things can get very interesting.
The group most probably won’t be handling that many items to begin with, so what happens when the item is dropped? The group should be informed that if a ball falls onto the floor, this means everybody must start at the beginning with only one ball or item. This can become quite tricky, especially if the group has managed a few balls and somebody loses focus and drops it. Since the entire group is penalized, this helps to increase focus and involves more team work.
Here are some things to keep in mind when playing “All Catch”
- Whether it’s one ball or many balls, each ball or item must be tossed together when the word “Go” is shouted out.
- The ball must be thrown into the air that it reaches about 30cm above the head of the tallest person in the group.
- The ball or item must be caught by somebody else and not by the person who tossed it.
The game builds and becomes the most difficult when everybody in the group is holding a ball. Once this occurs and everybody successfully catches a ball, the next step is to still add another ball. Now one person will be tossing two balls at once instead of one. This becomes very difficult and challenging for the one who tosses the ball and the person who catches.
If everything goes well, have the group set a target for themselves to reach, this should be a reasonable target and not something impossible. Calculate the amount of balls that have been successfully been played. If there is time available the group can also see how far they can go, to gain the highest score.
You can also add a number of different variations for this activity, for example:
- Are there large amounts of people? Instead of forming one group, rather divide everybody into smaller groups of 8 to 12 people. In this case you can have competitions and work out strategies to see who can catch and toss the highest amount of balls.
- To make it more challenging, increase the distance the ball must go before it has to be caught.
- Hands Only – only your hands are allowed to touch the ball, this prevents anybody from being more creative.
- Vary your soft items, use different shapes and sizes, for example, small bean bags or soft toys.
- You can add a time limit to the activity, but in this case, groups don’t have to start at the beginning each time somebody makes a mistake.
Facilitating tips for All Catch
You may find that some people find it difficult and maybe embarrassed when they can’t catch properly. This can be especially true, if this activity has to be done in front of a lot of people. Here is where you should take the focus off the individual. Break the ice by having everybody take a ball in each hand and ask them to see if they can toss them in the air and catch both of them again. I’m sure there will be quite a few laughs, now let’s challenge everybody to try this in a group.
This is a simple activity and game to play, but it is always a good thing to be prepared. Make sure you have enough balls or soft items to work with. Always have a few more than needed, the basic amount would be about two balls for each person in the group.
Before starting, make sure everybody understands exactly how to toss and catch, for example can somebody catch a ball using their jacket? Is it okay to toss the ball even further into the air? For the purpose of being consistent then the answer to these questions will be no, but it all depends on what your goals are for the activity. You might want to include unique ways to toss and catch the ball as a way to include creativity and imagination into the game. Then the answer to these questions would be yes.
If you have a talented group playing the game and they have about 20 or more balls in the game, then it would be asking a bit much for them to start at one again if they drop a ball at this stage. In this scenario, it would be advisable to just return to a point in the game everybody agreed upon, in the middle somewhere, and start from there again. Do you have a really talented group? Start out with more balls, about half the amount of the members participating.
Some of the benefits of playing “All Catch that Ball”
- Improving on collaboration and team work
- Working on planning skills
- Developing coordination
- Helping to improve on goal setting
Questions, tips and reflections
The best way to gauge everybody’s experience of the activity, is to ask a few specific questions.
- During the activity, when did the task become difficult for you, and also the group?
- As you were playing, did you find your skills improving?
- Do you think the group came up with a successful strategy that lead to the final outcome?
- Was there anything else that played a role in the group’s success?
- Do you think the group established acceptable goals or do you think they were a bit too difficult?
- Can the groups actions and how they interacted with each other be relevant elsewhere?