‘Toss Me Some Feedback’ is a fun blindfold activity that explores the importance of feedback, leadership and support from the team in order to achieve successful outcomes.
This activity can be set up with some basic equipment and helps support the development of coaching and communication skills.
Balls/beanbags (or similar items), blindfolds, stopwatch, masking tape and plastic buckets (empty boxes can also be used).
Medium to Large. Indoors or outdoors.
8 to 16 people (can be done with larger groups competing against each other).
- 5 minutes to brief and set up
- 4 x 10 minutes for team activity (rotate team roles) = 40 minutes
- 5 minutes to review and debrief
‘Toss Me Some Feedback’ Setup
Split the team into smaller sub-teams of four to seven people. Give each team one blindfold, one ball and one bucket. Tape a start line for each team on the floor. Place a box at least 10 feet away from each start line.
Toss Me Some Feedback Communication Exercise Instructions:
Each team needs to select a tosser, a retriever, a scorekeeper and an assistant. The aim of the challenge is for the team to score as many points as possible in the time provided.
- Tosser: Blindfolded and stands behind the start line. They must attempt to throw as many balls in the bucket possible.
- Retriever: Retrieves the balls and throws it back to the assistant.
- Assistant: Gives the ball back to the tosser.
- Scorekeeper: Adds up the successful tosses (score) for each round.
One point is scored for every ball the tosser gets into the bucket. As long the ball bounces into the bucket first, it will still count as a point. The challenge consists of 3 x one minute rounds with a different stipulation for each round.
Round 1: No talking.
The tosser tries to score as many points as possible with instruction from their team.
Round 2: Limited Instruction
The team can only instruct their tosser with either a “yes” or “no” but nothing else. The tosser tries to score as many points as possible with limited feedback.
Round 3: Full Instruction
The team are free to coach their tosser by providing any helpful information. The tosser tries to score as many points as possible with extensive feedback from their team.
If you have enough time at the end of the exercise, get team members to switch roles and run the exercise again. Use this as a point of discussion during the review and identify any learning lessons.
Suggested Learning Outcomes
- Communication (verbal, non-verbal and listening)
Review and Debrief Questions
How challenging was it to not receive any feedback? How did you overcome the lack of support from your team?
Did you notice any difference in performance and see any improvements between the rounds?
How did you feel being blindfolded? Did you always trust your team with the feedback?
Can anyone identify a time in the workplace/school/project etc when you have observed others make a mistake and simply watched, or you have offered to support and help them?
What type of feedback was the most effective? What would make it more effective?
Did you get frustrated at any point?
Did you as a team get better with every new person that took up the role of tosser?
What’s the difference between communication and effective communication?
Looking back on the exercise, is there anything you will take away or you have learned?
Tips and Guidance
When working with a larger groups, split the group into smaller sub-groups of 4-6 people and have them compete against each other to try and score as many points as possible. You can either have them competing at the same time or you can rotate groups and have them observing from the side whilst waiting their turn.
If you have more than 4 people in each group, double up on roles in the teams. For example, for a team of six, have two tossers and two retrievers.
Finally, if you’re British then you might want to change the activity name to ‘throw me some feedback’ or ‘launch some feedback’ instead to save any embarrassment and to stop the group calling each other ‘tossers’ for 30 minutes (you’ve been warned!).