At first glance, from the very connotation of the words, it would appear that the “game time” would be the easiest, happiest, portion of any meeting. Well, it can be. OR it can be a real moment of truth.
A well-organized and disciplined game period can sweep the boys into a meeting’s closing moments in an atmosphere of expectation and message responsiveness. Or the opposite tone can be set: The message of the evening may be meaningless- despite the excellent effort of the speaker – because of the sour effects of a poorly-operated game time.
How can you make each game count? Anybody can toss out a ball and tell the boys to have fun. But few leaders can properly lead a game without preparation. The suggestions provided below are given in a checklist format below. As you prepare to select and lead games, follow through the checklist to ensure your own preparedness.
In selecting a set of games a leader needs to anticipate various factors:
- Know the number of boys you expect to attend.
- Know what the facilities are like. Will you be playing out of doors?
- Know which games have been overused. Select some new games. New games are important in a weekly program. Leaders must keep the program from becoming stereotyped. Boys are retained week to week through a variety of games, so keep them guessing. Maintain an air of mystery around the game program. My son remembers how much he loved the mystery of not knowing what game was planned (or not) for that week.
- Consider the age group you are working with. Many stockade boys are not fully developed physically. Their coordination may not be able to respond as quickly and accurately as an adult may think. Though competition is good, keep it low key, especially for the younger ages. Many boys will find it emotionally difficult to be the loser. Games that require a high degree of team effort will not work with younger boys. Most young boys are still very individualistic in their play.
- Know the game rules! Anticipate all questions or problem situations that might develop. Have the skills of the game mastered so you can pass them on quickly and accurately. Asking the other leaders “have I forgotten anything important” can be a helpful way to head-off any gaps in the rules you may have forgotten.
- Be sure you have help in leading the games. Adult help is absolutely necessary for larger groups of boys. The older boys of a group can also be of assistance. It is important that each helper understand what you are going to do and how you want them to help
You have your games. Your plans are firm. Now it’s time to lead them.
- Be sure you have the groups undivided attention before you try to explain the game!!!!!!!!!!!!
- Using a military or team formation to get the boys quiet and ready to listen will be helpful.
- Don’t yell. If you need to yell it means that the boys are not listening. Quiet them down before explaining the game. If they start to get loud, quiet them down again before continuing.