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Moonball

What: A classic activity popularized by Karl Rohnke in several activity books.  Can be used as an initial icebreaker, an energizer between classroom sessions, or a focused problem-solving initiative.

Group Size: From 4 - 40.

Space Required: a large, relatively flat open space with a high ceiling (e.g., a gym) or no ceiling (e.g., a football field). 

Time Required: 20 to 40 minutes.

Props Required: one 16" inflatable ball. 

Objective: for the group to hit the ball aloft as many times as possible (or to a predetermined goal) before the ball touches the ground.

Rules: 

  1. Each hit equals one point.
  2. You may hit it with any body part. 
  3. No player may hit the ball twice in succession.

Variations:

  1. Two points for kicks.
  2. The team scores one point when everyone on the team has touched the ball before it hits the ground.  With a large group, a score of one is excellent, a score of two is world class!
     

Facilitator Notes:

  1. It's hard to describe the value of this game on paper (or electronic medium, ... pixels?).  The task and rules are easy to understand so a new group, or one that has never participated in experience-based training, can easily begin.  The play itself is engrossing, the individual task -- hitting an inflated beach ball up -- is doable by even the most non-athletic participants, the center of attention is the ball rather than the players ... Despite its non-threatening nature, the activity can provide the basis for intense team development in the areas of goal setting, individual roles, and work processes.  It's a gem.  TRY IT.

  2. I was asked today why the activity was called "Moonball" when I use a beach ball with the map of the earth on it; why wasn't it called "Earthball?"  I'm guessing (but it's plausible, anyway) that the creators of this version were also well-versed in the New Games movement of the 1970s -- one of their signature games involved an inflatable ball that was 6' (that's six feet) in diameter and was named "Earthball."  Perhaps a similar game with a smaller ball might rightly be called "Moonball?"
 

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