How to Lead Games

How to lead Games

Theme
Running a Youth Group
Type
How To

When working with young people, knowing how to lead games well can be a real string to bow and helps a lot with behaviour management. Here we discuss some of favourite tactics on how to lead games in the best way possible.

  • Show Excitement

The number one rule for how to lead games is to show excitement for the activity both before and during the game. By actively showing you are looking forward to the activity, others will follow your lead. People are drawn to what excites others and will become far more invested and involved in the game if see others being so. Additionally, both teens (and Britons in general) often find it difficult to ‘be a bit silly’ and if you as leader can show by example that this is a time they can just enjoy, they will get a lot more from the game.

  • Be expressive

Closely linked with excitement, being expressive with word and action makes you much easier to focus on and puts across a sense of fun. Smile, project your voice by speaking to the furthest wall from you, try to use hand actions to emphasis what you saying. While crucial for large groups these tactics work just as well with small group, although we do advice maybe not projecting your voice quite so much!

  • Gather the groups attention before explaining rules

This is done best by having them easily able to hear and see you. A simple way of doing this is to have them make a large circle standing up and for you to stand in the middle of them. From this position you are their central focus and can easily explain rules and restrictions. When possible, the circle works best, but when it is not try and have something you can stand upon to raise you up and have them all facing you. Make sure there is no-one talking over you.

  • Try to make the rules as clear as possible

Before explaining the rules to the young people make sure you know them off by heart yourself. Practice giving the instructions to a wall beforehand, imaging it to be the young people. Try to make it so that you can explain each rule with a maximum of two sentences. This prevents waffle and makes everything a lot clearer. Remember to be expressive and excited especially when giving the rules as this is your main input and also potentially the least interesting part.

  • Have a practice round

Once you’ve explained the rules, give them a practice round to make sure that everyone understands and has had a go. It is important that before you have a practice round, you make it very clear it is a practice round to prevent confusion.

  • Involve other leaders

When you are leading a game, if there are other leaders who are not pre-occupied, invite them to join in playing. They don’t have to know any more than the young people, but having them involved gives the young people further allowance to enjoy it as more of their leaders are ‘letting their hair down’.  Additional leaders are also beneficial for behaviour management and building leader-young people relationships.

  • Try to use names

This is not always possible but when it is, it’s really useful. Using names creates a closer sense of community, improves their response to your requests and helps with behaviour management.

  • Try to keep everyone involved

Not all games lend themselves to this but one of the greatest benefits of games is they are shared experiences that create a platform from which friendships and community can grow.

In games where young people are ‘knocked out’ try and keep them involved by making them your judges who need to keep an eye out for cheating or are the deciding vote in close to call decisions. Try and come up with small jobs that will keep them focused on what’s happening. This becomes more important the larger the group or longer the game is but even with smaller groups its worth taking into account.

  • Make sure everyone is safe

This refers to be physically and emotionally. Make sure that you remove or minimalised any potential physical hazards before the game. If any remain make sure you cover them in the rules. Keep an eye out for bullying and don’t insist on a young person doing something they are uncomfortable doing.

  • Keep rules consistent

Young people, especially those in primary school, have a very strong sense of justice. Allowing something for one and then disallowing it for another can cause unnecessary fallouts. Clear, consistent rules ensure this won’t happen and no-one will feel cheated.

  • Be decisive with decisions

When leading a game you will have to make judgement. When you make a decision, be decisive and be relatively quick making it. This stops arguments and keeps the flow of a game going.