Skills Converged Training Resources

Icebreaker: Name Juggle

Ice breaker: Name Juggle


If you are running a course with many people who don’t know each other, it can take a while for everyone to learn everybody’s name. To make everyone feel more comfortable with each other, you can use this exercise to accelerate the name learning process. It is quite upbeat so it can also energise people and prepare them for the rest of your course.


State the name of a person and pass a ball to him or her and keep passing the ball.

What You Need

  • 4 to 6 balls for a group of 8 to 12. These can be tennis balls or small stress balls. Anything that is safe to throw at someone else is ideal.


  • Ask the delegates to form a circle. Include yourself in this circle.
  • Explain that you are going to throw a ball at someone.

Phase 1:

  • Pick someone.
  • Ask their name. For example, she responds, “Jane”.
  • Say, “Hi Jane, I am Peter. Catch the ball!”
  • When Jane gets the ball she should say, “Thanks Peter.”
  • Jane should select another person, ask his or her name and repeat the process.
  • Continue until everyone has participated.

Phase 2:

  • Next, explain that you want to make it more challenging.
  • State the name of a person and throw the ball at him or her. Say, “Mary, catch the ball!”
  • This person should thank you by name and follow suit: “Thanks James. Robert, catch the ball!”
  • Take it easy and allow mistakes. Simply expect everyone to master the names as they keep throwing the ball.

Phase 3:

  • While the ball is still been thrown, casually take out a new ball from your pocket, pick a person and say “X, catch the ball!”, and throw the new ball. Expect a pleasant surprise. Now there are two balls to juggle. After a while add another ball. Use as many balls as half the number of people in the group.
  • Stop the ball throwing exercise when you think the group has learned enough and there is nothing more to gain.


Explaining the Exercise: 2 minutes.

Activity: 10 minutes

Group Feedback: 0 minutes.