Team-building exercises have gotten a bad rap lately. They’re not just about passing an executive stress doll around the office, or the much-mocked trust fall. They’re actually a great way to get everyone on your team on the same page and feeling good about being part of a unit, so that out on the field you can get back to kicking butt and taking names. Here are five activities that will help turn your squad into a more cohesive and well-oiled sports machine.

There’s a reason that Native American tribes performed war dances before going into battle: It gets you fired up
and creates a sense of unity.

War Dance
Seriously. A war dance. Not only is this something that you can all do together to build team spirit, it’s also something that you can call on before the big game to get everyone riled up. There’s a reason that Native American tribes performed war dances before they went into battle: It gets you fired up and creates a sense of unity. Everyone will feel a little silly at first, but when you sprint onto the field like a bunch of warriors ready for battle, who will be laughing then? Sure, maybe the other team. But they’ll stop laughing when you begin running up the score.

Dumb Outfit Pub Crawl
Nothing builds team solidarity quite like separating yourself from the crowd. What can do that? Your appearance. Plan a pub crawl for the whole team, but with the caveat that you all have to wear something stupid—the same something stupid. Think Santa Claus outfits in the summer or Zubaz pants or ugly sweaters. This creates a shared sense of identity that will translate into greater nonverbal communication on the field. Also, you’ll probably have a lot of killer stories to tell… or not tell, as the case may be.

Paintball Sunday
You want to really see your group start acting like a team? Bring them to the paintball range for the day. They’ll have to get a sense of cohesion real quick, not to mention the ability to think on their feet and come up with both long-term and short-term strategies and tactics. After all, nothing forces you to start working together quite like the threat of getting shot in the butt by a paintball gun.

Ah, this must be the “Attractive Girls in Black Hoodies” pub crawl.

Scavenger Hunt
Unlike the sport you’re playing or even the paintball battle discussed above, scavenger hunts don’t have a lot of “I” attached. Especially if you pair people up or put them in groups of three. You won’t want to win for an end-of-season trophy or to avoid getting shot. You’ll want to win for each other, your teammates. Linking two or three people together creates a sense of camaraderie at a very basic level. A huge scavenger hunt also creates a sense of togetherness at a macro level because you’ll all be laughing your butts off as a group.

Of course, it’s not always about other physical activities and competitions. Pick a local charity, one that everyone on the team feels reasonably passionate about. Then make it a side project of the team. You guys all work together to raise as much money or put in as many man hours as possible. This brings to your team a cause even more noble than coming in first in the league, if you can believe it. That cause will translate into a greater sense of cohesion both on and off the field. And hey—helping out in your community is nice too.