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Red Ball, Thank You


To understand the passing and sharing of focus.

Level of Difficulty:



Group Game


Start by standing in a circle.

Someone starts and mimes a red ball in their hands. Imagine a ball you might have played dodgeball or kickball with in grade school. Make eye contact with someone across from you in the circle and ask, “Red Ball?” That person then says, “Red ball, thank you”.

At that time, mime passing the imaginary ball. The person receiving the ball now asks someone else “Red ball?” and the cycle continues.

Be sure to make eye contact as you pass and receive the ball. As you build comfort and speed, feel free to add new, imaginary balls (lead ball, spiky ball, balloon ball), miming how each of those may feel in your hands.

For Remote Teams

Red ball thank you works well with remote teams. Ensure your web-cameras are on. In addition to making eye contact (looking at the camera) start each question with the intended recipient’s name. So the game will now be played:

“Maria, red ball?”

“Red ball, thank you”

Pass the imaginary ball through the camera

Practical Application:

It is common to respond to someone before they have finished a thought, or worse, a question. How does Red Ball, Thank You, remind us to slow down our conversation? How does eye contact reinforce who has focus and that we are paying attention?

If you are having trouble maintaining focus or if you are having trouble with folks talking over each other, explore introducing a physical red ball, Koosh ball, or “talking stick” to your meetings, where the holder of the item may speak while others listen.

See More General Warmup Games

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