Teamwork and Problem Solving in Sports and Physical Education Games!

Problem solving is vital to good personal relationships and success for teams!  You may have heard the expressions “Two heads are better than one”, or “Collaboration is always best”.  This is the essence of this blog post.

Strategeizing as a team can be very difficult!  Imagine the different personalities on a team of 20 players.  You have some quiet, thoughtful and reflective members and some voicetrous Type A personalities all trying to work together harmoniously for a common cause. Imagine 2 completely different personalities working together as partners.  It takes dedication and work to understand each other.

I recently had a “light bulb” moment that was key to helping me understand my wife better.  My wife is the counselor and I am the PE Teacher at my school.  We are a team at home in our family.  We recently attended a pre-planning staff development session where we explored personality types in the form of a compass.  Each direction represents a personality type.  I was North and my wife was East.  North is a get it done, big picture type.  East is a details oriented, methodical type.  Imagine us planning a financial budget together – LOL!  It could go one of 2 ways.  With patience, understanding and a willingness to work together unselfishly, we could create a very effective and harmonious budget. (WIN) With a lack of these traits we could end up mad and disconnected with no budget. (LOSE)

The same applies to strategizing in the games we play with our students in PE.  We tend to quickly get our students divided into teams and ask them to think of a strategy that will help their team do best.   Most of the time we do this without much thought of their different personalities.  Keeping in mind that these are kids, we still expect harmony and respect among team members.  That is a tall order for anyone including adults.  I am not simply talking about the “problem” students who constantly do not get along with others.  This blog is assuming all students are able to generally get along with one another.

I believe it is a worthwhile endeavor to teach our students how to appreciate each other’s differences during PE.  This would help them strategize more effectively for a good game plan.  This would not only benefit them during the games we play but in other real life scenarios where teamwork is vital!

I placed a link below to see the personality test that my wife and I took.  Another tool is the “Would You Rather” poster that I use in small learning groups.  I will take a challenge such as the 100 push-up challenge and ask students to discuss their choice.  I make sure to tell students ahead of time to be respectful and listen without interrupting as each student in the learning group takes a turn sharing their opinion.  They may learn something new that they did not consider.  This activity helps students start to appreciate others opinions and thereby making them better cohesive teams.  Take these tools and customize them for your class.  Start out with just one small group and grow from there.

Please respond below with your thoughts and any additions that may make this more complete and helpful to others!  After all collaboration is best!

If you would like an editable copy of the “Would You Rather?” poster, email me at and I will send you a free copy.