Fun, finale-type activity. Physically exhausting and emotionally
Works for kids through to corporate programs. Ideal for
adolescents and possibly youth at risk. Especially with older
adults, be careful with this activity, especially if they are unfit or
if overexertion is contraindicated (e.g., heart problems).
- Use for any size groups,
indoor or outdoor. Ideal is large group outdoors. Pick a soft location e.g.,
In traditional 1 on 1 tug-of-war it is
mostly strength that wins, with a few tactics.
In multi-way tug-of-war it is mostly tactics
that wins, with some strength.
Lay out the ropes, etc. as shown in diagram below.
Participants should prepare appropriately e.g., watches and hand
Divide into groups and make sure the groups appear to be of similar
Brief group on normal tug-of-war safety rules, basically:
no wrapping or tying rope around anyone or anything - only hold rope
watch out for rope burn on hands - let go if rope is moving through
watch out for rope burn on body - let go if you lose footing
First command from the Tug-of-War master is "take the strain".
This is only to take up the slack, that's all. The
Tug-of-War master makes sure the centre ring is stable and centered.
This needs strong leadership because teams are always keen to add extra
Second command is "Go!!"
Teams attempt to pull the center ring or knot over their finish line.
This can rarely be achieved by strength alone and instead will require
guile. Teams can swivel to cooperate / compete with other teams, then
switch directions, etc.
Conduct several rounds. Continue, say, until one team earns 3
victories and the Tug-of-War title.
Allow teams plenty of time to physically recover and debrief/plan after
Team building groups may wish to discuss what the secrets to success
were in this activity - and whether these lessons apply elsewhere.
4 way powerpull with 20 loops for double handed pulls or 40 loops for single handed pulls by a large group
Or make your own 4 way tug of war with several
good quality ropes each ~60ft+ with attachment e.g., via knots, splicing
Time ~30-60 minutes
Brief Description: Fun, physically demanding, competitive team
activity. Several teams pull against each other, requiring
communication and tactics as well as strength to outmanoeuvre and win.