This game helps participants to understand how challenging it is to get feedback “in under the radar” without raising the intended recipient’s defensiveness. Participants will enjoy trying to get beanbags into a target. The beanbags represent their feedback, and the target represents the recipient’s heart.
o Proverbs 15:1, 18; 21:23
o Beanbags (three per team – if you can’t find beanbags to buy, you can make simple ones with small ziplock bags or drawstring bags filled with beans or rice)
o Posterboard (1 sheet per team)
o Markers (2-3 – Red, Green and Black if you want it)
o Masking tape
o Note cards (3 per team)
o A bag or pouch with material that you cannot see through (1 per team)
o Create a target on the posterboard. Start with a 6” x 6” circle in the middle. Then draw concentric circles around it, making each new one about 6” bigger all around.
o Write point values in each of the circles. The center circle is worth 50 points. The next, bigger circle is worth 25. The next, bigger circle is worth 15. The next one is worth 10, and if you have any edge left on the poserboard, you can mark that worth 5 points.
o Buy or make your bean bags.
o Place the posterboard targets on the ground, and mark a boundary for the throwers with a piece of tape on the floor. It should be about 8-10 feet away from the target.
o Mark three more lines of tape on the floor at 25%, 50% and 75% of the way between the throwing line and the target.
o Cut the notecards in half, and put a large, colored dot on each one (Make 3 with RED dots and 3 with GREEN dots for each group.)
o Mix up the 6 half-cards, and put them into a bag/pouch.
o Practice the script.
Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):
- “Giving feedback isn’t easy.”
- “We want our feedback to be taken to heart by the person we are giving it to.”
- “Their heart is our target.”
- “If the feedback doesn’t make it to their heart, they won’t do anything about it.”
- “And even when we give feedback with a pure heart and a desire to help the other person, there is no guarantee that our feedback will hit its target.”
- “There are many things that can rise up and block our feedback from reaching its target, and one of the most common obstacles is defensiveness.” (Ask a volunteer to come to the front and represent the person to whom you want to give feedback.)
- “When we are trying to send our feedback to its target…” (Demonstrate “feedback” flying through the air in the direction of the volunteer with your hand.) “…if we don’t skillfully send it into the target area, the person’s defensiveness radar will see it coming….” (Have the volunteer make a beeping sound to represent a radar system, and ask them to speed up their beeping as you get closer.) “…and the defensive walls will go up!” (Have the volunteer put up their hands and block your feedback from reaching its target. Then, thank and dismiss the volunteer.)
- “So, let’s play a game that demonstrates this difficulty.”
- “It’s called ‘Under the Radar,’ and your goal is to throw a beanbag onto a target to earn points.”
- “You will have to stand here at this line to make your throw and try to hit that target.” (Demonstrate so that participants get the idea.)
- “That would be challenging by itself, but it’s more difficult than that.”
- “I’m going to divide you into a team of three and then make you compete against another team of three.”
- “Three people will get a chance to throw their ‘feedback’ onto the target, and the team that they are competing against will get a chance to block them.”
- “Here’s how it will work.”
- “Each person throwing will get three chances to hit the target, but before they throw, they have to draw three cards out of this bag.”
- “Inside the bag are eight (6) notecards – three with RED dots and three with GREEN dots.”
- “If they draw a card with a RED dot, the other team gets to put a person on one of the strips of tape between the throwing line and the target.“
- “This person represents defensiveness on the part of the person receiving the feedback.”
- “They have to stand on the tape, but they can do whatever they can from that point to try to block your ‘feedback’ from reaching its target.”
- “If the person throwing draws two RED dots, two of the opposing team get to stand on the tape marks (different ones).”
- “If he/she draw three RED dots, three of the opposing team get to stand on the tape marks.”
- “If less than three RED dots are drawn in the three draws, not all opposing team members will get to stand on the tape marks.”
- “Those not on tape marks are not allowed to interfere with the throws.”
- “GREEN cards are good for the throwing team and keep the opposing team off the tape marks.”
- “After drawing three cards from the bag, the thrower should make three throws and see how close to the center of the target that he/she can get while trying to avoid the defenses of the opposing team members on the tape marks.”
- “After that team member has made their three shots, add up the total points.”
- “Then, move the opposing team members off the tape marks, and let the other two team members take turns drawing three cards and take three throws while avoiding the defenses of any opposing players who get onto tape marks because of RED dot cards.”
- “When all three team members have thrown, the opposing team gets their turn to throw and see how many points they can accumulate.”
- “The team that has the most total points (from all nine throws) wins.”
- “Any questions?” (After addressing questions, divide the group into groups of three and pair up the teams of three against each other. Then, have them choose who will throw first and let them play. When they are done, recognize or reward the winning teams, and have them return to their seats to work through the following debrief questions.)
1. What was challenging about the game?
2. If you compare the game to giving someone feedback, what comparisons can you make?
3. What types of things make people’s defensiveness go up?
4. How can you give feedback in a way that won’t make people defensive?
5. Read Proverbs 15:1, 18 and 21:23. Do these Scriptures give you any additional ideas?
- “Sometimes, you only get once chance to send that feedback in there, so you want to make sure that it has the best chance possible of hitting it’s target.”