22 October 2008 — Leave a comment

Sometimes called Benchball, this is a classic youth work team game that has similarities to netball and basketball.

Numbers: groups of around 10 or over (even numbers make the teams fair).
Suitable for: anyone.
Preparation time: none.
Venue: any open space or hall.
Safety First: This is a gentle physical game that requires people to stand on a chair or bench. Care should be taken to avoid falls.
Equipment needed:

  • Two sturdy chairs or benches
  • A standard ball (e.g. beachball, volleyball)

The game:
Divide the group up into two teams and then place a chair (or bench) at each end of your playing area. One person should stand on the chair opposite their team ready to catch the ball – they act as the net or basket.

Play starts when the referee throws the ball onto the court. Both teams have to pass the ball down the court and try to get it into the hands of their team-mate on the chair. No-one is allowed to run with the ball so passing and teamwork is essential. Like basketball or netball, chairball is a non-contact sport so no-one should be grabbing or pushing.

If the team-member on the chair catches the ball, they get a point for their team and then swap with another member. This way the team rotates around and everyone should get a go on the chair. The game ends either after a certain period of time, or when a team reaches a pre-set number of goals (e.g. Ten).

If you have a bench, you could play a version where the person who scores a goal joins their team-mate on the bench. In this version, the number of players on the court slowly drops while the number of catchers on the bench increases. The idea is that the team who gets all their members on the bench first, wins. However if anyone falls off the bench, they have to go back on the court until they score another goal.


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I am a qualified youth worker, writer and consultant based in Littlehampton, UK. I've worked in the voluntary youth sector for over 12 years, am married to Kirsty and we have two daughters named Hope and Eloise. Check out 'Journeying Together: Growing Youth Work and Youth Workers in Local Communities' and read my opening chapter.

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