Henry A Kissinger once said, "The task of the leader is to get his people from where they are to where they have not been."
This being said as a coach it is your task as the leader of your team to get your team to where they haven't been before.
The first consideration you must take into account is the over all age of your players. Athletes will respond differently to team building exercises depending on the age group that they fall into. For instance elementary age students 5-12 years old will be most likely be excited about team building activities.
Middle school age students 12-15 years old will have a greater tendency to think that your "team building activities" are silly and will treat them as such. High school and olde will generally see and understand the concept behind the activity and will participate accordingly.
There are a several different ways to promote team building with in your group. The main idea behind these activities is to unify through understanding and anticipation of other players skills.
The better your team members understand each other the more unified they will be and the more fluidly they will play as a team.
So lets start with team building activities for the appropriate age groups beginning with the younger students. For younger students a good activities is a slower version of what as kids we used to call "the whip".
As most of you remember although the person in the front is moving slowly the person in the back pretty much as to run to stay connected. The goal of the leader (the first person in the chain) is to move in a way that they do not loose the person in the back.
Once that person has successfully led the team around the court once, have them shuffle to the back until the person who started reaches the front of the chain and everyone has had an opportunity to be the leader.
This activity teaches younger students to empathize with each team member and position within the group. It also helps them to understand the concept that everyone on the team is important and vital to the success of the group.
For middle school age players you will need to be a little more creative about team building. A great way to promote unity within your team is to use your drills to encourage participation. Activities like bump passing the ball clockwise around the circle until it has made it all the way around the circle w/out hitting the floor.
Or zig-zag passing, this means making two lines each player bumps the ball to the person standing diagonally from them making a criss-cross or zig-zag along the line. Use two balls starting on opposite ends.
This skill not only encourages concentration, and coordination but the success of the group depends on equal participation of each team member.
The goal is to get the balls all the way down with out hitting the floor. By mixing up the lines based on the positions you can encourage the athletes to work with teammates they usually don't spend time with off the court. The more they interact face to face with their team mates the more they will be able to anticipate their teammates, style and abilities.
High School age and higher are pretty easy. Anything from fund-raising activities, to actual games can be used as opportunities for building unity within the team. As the coach you will have ample opportunities to enlighten and lead your team to new perspectives.
For example say your working on a fund-raiser and notice one of the team members is kind of off to the side not participating as much as the others. Find another team member to invite the player who's off to the side to do some kind of special task together.
An anonymous compliment box can be helpful as well. To do this put each team members number in a box shake it up and have your team members pick a number. The number they get is the number they give a compliment to about the game or practice.
If they draw their own number it's okay, sometimes giving themselves a compliment about the game can be more challenging than complimenting someone else. And can provide an opportunity for that person to critically evaluate their own performance.
Once everyone has written their compliment have them put it back in the box. Then hand out each of the players the compliment with their number on it. This works best when it is anonymous. If they don't know who made the positive notice about their skills it promotes a positive attitude for all of the teammates instead of just the one who actually wrote the compliment.
Basically the only rules to the box is that the compliments have to be honest and sincere. Which with older players should happen pretty naturally. If you are working with a team that has interpersonal conflicts, it might take a few weeks of the compliment box before things start getting better. Don't give up it will improve.
At the end of the day building unity within your team will be more than just one or two team building activities, t will be the little ways in which you as the coach, lead, inspire, and encourage your team to new heights and "places they have not been before".