Team building activities are important components of any organization, but especially a cheerleading squad. They promote better communication, leadership development and teamwork. Perhaps most importantly, they are spirited ways to unite the team. There are a number of different ways to facilitate team-building activities, so it is important to find activities relevant to your team's members.

First, when deciding on activities, take into consideration the age and dynamics of your squad. Are they middle or high schoolers? Is your squad small and intimate or large and diverse?

From there, consider any specific aspects of teamwork or spirit on which you'd like your squad to work. Do you feel trust is most important? What about communication? Maybe you think the best thing for a squad is to learn respect for one another. Whatever the case may be, tailor your activities to these specifications.

The best time for spirit and team building activities is at practice, either before or after (or as a middle-of-practice wake-up!). Depending on how long your practice session is, reserve some of the time for spirit-boosting activities.

Keep in mind, you don't have to plan a team building activity at every practice, but they should be done often in the early months of the season. It gives the team time to bond before games and competitions begin.

Check out these five fun team bonding activities:

  1. Mine Field
    In Mine Field, objects are scattered in an indoor or outdoor place. In pairs, one person verbally guides his/her blindfolded partner through the minefield. This is a great way for your cheerleaders to build trust with their teammates because it requires them to rely entirely on one another in order to be successful. Objectively, this exercise exemplifies how important trust is amongst teammates and how failing to trust one another can reap devastating effects on the team's overall performance.

  2. The Knot
    With your team standing in a circle, each person reaches across the circle with her or his right hand and grabs someone else's hand. Once everyone is grabbing another hand with his or her right hand, start again, this time with the left hand. Now, it's time to get out of the knot without anyone letting go of a hand. This activity teaches the power of communication and the importance of all working together.

  3. Design a Megaphone
    If you plan on using them during football season, let your cheerleaders add individual style to their megaphone before the season begins! Bring the megaphones to a practice session and plan an afternoon where everyone can design, paint, and draw on a megaphone. Everyone can add his or her own creative flair, whether it's painting their name or their favorite cheer items.

  4. Scavenger Hunt
    This is a game everyone knows how to play! Divide your squad into small teams and set them on their way. Your squad will enjoy some friendly competition while learning to work as a team.

  5. Guess the Teammate
    Gather your squad in a circle and have everyone fill out a form or list on a card a few of their favorite thingscolor, movie, book, cheer stunt, etc. Then, shuffle them in a hat or bag. Draw one card out at a time and read the answers aloud. Then, have everyone guess the owner of the card. Your squad will quickly get to know each other!

By focusing on team bonding, your cheer squad is likely to be more spirited! This will make it easier for the team to remain united during hard times, like a game or competition loss or an injury. Additionally, if your cheer squad is naturally spirited, it will be easier to think of ways to incorporate spirit into your cheers, routines, fundraising events, and more.

How does your team bond?