• Mark Curtis

Speed Catch Game, Bristol UK

Submission by Babs Williams

Organisation: Phoenix Social Enterprise


Type: Intervention

Focus: Collaboration

Duration: 10 Minutes

First check ‘Has anybody played this game before. It is important to ensure that whoever played the Speed Catch game does not ruin the process or could maybe step aside and become an observer whilst others play. They can be used as graph plotters or timekeepers.


Can everyone hold their hands out in front of them. Get ready to catch the ball. Once you tough the ball and pass it to the next player put your hands down so people know who hasn’t had a go yet.

Players only need to remember one thing, namely ‘who threw the ball to you and to whom you threw the ball.’

Start with a practice round

This first round is just to set the pattern and will not be timed.

If the ball falls just pick it up and continue.

The game starts and ends with the Facilitator.

When the game start, everyone has both hands out in front of them ready to catch the ball. The facilitator throws the ball to a participant across the room.

Note: Remember to send the ball as far as possible across the circle.


When the ball has been caught and thrown by everyone and comes back to facilitator you have established the pattern. THIS IS NOW THE PATTERN of the game so just

remember who threw it to you and who you threw it to

Now repeat the sequence remembering the 2 rules

a) Everybody has to touch the ball

b) Everybody has to touch it in the order in which the pattern has been set.


One of the facilitator will be the timekeeper. Now he/she will time the round and see how fast we can get it round.

Plot the time on the graph.

Praise the group and ask if they think they can do it faster.

Try again.

If no one challenges the system, remind them of the rules.

  • You can prompt the group by saying encouraging things like ‘I am sure we can cut this time in half’.

  • Continue for a few minutes or until the time is unbeatable (!!), plotting the general graph each time.


Debrief using the following questions:

“What happened’

‘Notice what happened on the graph…’

‘When did the phenomenal change happen?’

What preceded that change? (Facilitator could circle incremental change and the

radical change and ask the participants to comment)

‘If I’d said to you at the beginning that you could play this in 4 seconds, would you have believed me?’

Slip into the discussion:

  • Power of assumptions – because we started by ‘throwing’ people assumed that was the game. What is holding you back from achieving your goals or achieving more than you think you can?

  • Using different strengths, team-work, collaboration, thinking-outside-the-box etc

  • Clear and shared goals are key to success

  • A small tweak to a system can have an amazing impact

  • If you think the same way, you may make progress but it’s likely to be slow – if you think big, use strengths and collaborate it can be phenomenally quick

  • If possible, give an example of how a SMALL CHANGE can have a BIG IMPACT

Case Study

  • Throughout the activity, it is observed that students increase their engagement and their teamworking. Many students naturally take on roles within the group, such as leader or facilitator.

  • The final round is usually a light bulb moment for participants when the solution is realised and this is generally very rewarding for them. Each round they encourage each other to exceed their previous time.

  • Key learnings are working together as a team, and finding individual roles within a team. Also a more objective look at the dynamics of how a team works most effectively.

  • Useful as a starter activity for any lesson, and particularly as an icebreaker with a new class. Alternatively, can be imbedded into employability skills teaching.

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