Getting a Group’s Attention

Jul 29, 2015

Ever wonder, hmm…how do people gain the attention of a group?

There are many techniques to use for getting the attention of a group. Here at the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation, we most often use, “If You Can Hear My Voice Clap Once.” This technique is usually used when dealing with children because it is a great way for children to have fun while paying attention. When I was a young kid, I remember this technique would always work when the group is too loud; after the claps, the group would eventually get quiet.

Being a former basketball player, I’ve seen multiple techniques coaches would perform to gain the attention of the team. Yelling is probably the most common technique used by coaches to command the attention of their players. This technique is not always the best, especially if you are dealing with children. With my basketball experiences, I have witnessed one fun and easy variation for gaining the attention of children. While working a basketball clinic, the clinic director mixed together a technique with basketball. He started off with using the technique “If You Hear My Voice Clap Once,” but ending was different. Since this was a basketball clinic, instead of clapping at the end, he wanted the campers to shoot like they were shooting a basketball. I thought it was awesome to use with the campers being at a basketball clinic. This specific technique may not be as successful if the kids aren’t in a basketball setting, but it wouldn’t hurt to try it. Or you could use an action related to whatever game or sport you are playing at the time.

Here are a few other techniques:

  • “Give Me FIVE” – This technique is usually used in classrooms, when the teacher would say “Give me FIVE” and the kids will reply with counting down from five, lowering the volume of their voices with each number until they are quiet at zero.
  • Light Switch On/Off - Another great technique especially when you are located in a room where there are lights available to use.
  • Freeze – This technique is great for when the group gets too noisy or if the children are moving.  Once they hear “freeze,” they will stop immediately.  Or you can have them freeze in a particular pose to mix it up.
  • Simon Says – In addition to being a game, you can also use “Simon Says” to gain the attention of the children with a couple short rounds before you move onto your announcements or next activity.
  • For more group management techniques, check out the “Getting Started” section of the Badges for Baseball Coaches Manual, which is available on our Materials page! (Tip: Filter for “Program Materials” to find this resource more easily.)

What is your favorite technique for getting a group’s attention?  Please share with us in the comments!