Unlocking the Power of Sports Puzzles: Boosting Team Building and Social Skills

 In today's fast-paced world, strong teamwork and social skills are growing as essential qualities in the workplace. One surprisingly effective way to achieve this is through the use of sports puzzles and sports jigsaw puzzles. These challenging activities not only entertain but also help build crucial life skills.

This blog will explore how sports puzzles can enhance team building and social skills, as well as the benefits they bring to individuals and groups.

Puzzles Foster Collaboration:

Puzzles, such as sports jigsaw puzzles, often require teamwork to complete. By dividing the puzzle into smaller sections, team members can work together to find the correct pieces and assemble the puzzle. This collaborative effort helps build trust and communication skills among team members, as they rely on each other's strengths and expertise.

One example is a project that involved Yale University Library Technical Services, the Workplace Culture Group, in partnership with Being Well at Yale in 2017. The mission was to introduce low-cost yet effective stress-reducing activities for staff to enjoy during break times. Among the activities were drop-in meditation groups, mindful coloring, and building jigsaw puzzles. The committee decided to set up a jigsaw puzzle station in a lounge area between departments. It was set up that way to allow employees from both departments to work on the puzzle together. Leaders of the project say that as employees collaborated, the puzzle began to take on a life of its own, fostering a sense of pride and ownership. The puzzle even earned a designated table in the lounge, becoming a beloved fixture in the workplace.

So, by working together on a sports puzzle, teams can develop these essential skills, which can translate to improved performance in other areas of life.


Sports Puzzles Encouraging Problem-Solving:

Consider this: sports puzzles often present unique challenges that require creative thinking and problem-solving skills. As team members work together to find the correct pieces and assemble the puzzle, they learn to think critically and collaboratively. This process helps develop their problem-solving abilities, which can be applied to various aspects of life, including personal and professional relationships.


Puzzles Strengthen Emotional Intelligence:

Engaging in sports puzzles can also help improve emotional intelligence. As team members work together, they learn to recognize and manage their own emotions, as well as those of their teammates. This increased self-awareness and empathy can lead to more effective communication and stronger interpersonal relationships.  

In Harvard Business Review, author Vanessa Druskat discusses how team-building exercises, such as sports puzzles, can improve emotional intelligence, leading to better interpersonal relationships and improved work performance. Druskat says “One of the most powerful norms we have seen for building a group’s ability to respond to emotionally challenging situations is an emphasis on proactive problem-solving.”

In particular, team-building exercises can help individuals develop their emotional intelligence by:

Improving self-awareness: Puzzles, including sports puzzles, require team members to recognize and understand their strengths and weaknesses, as well as those of their teammates.

Enhancing empathy: By working together on a shared goal, team members develop empathy and understanding of one another's perspectives and emotions.

Developing social skills: Jigsaw puzzles require effective communication, problem-solving, and conflict-resolution skills, all of which are essential for building strong relationships and improving emotional intelligence.


Promoting a Sense of Achievement:

When a team completes a sports puzzle, they experience a sense of accomplishment and pride in their achievement. This shared experience fosters camaraderie and strengthens the bonds between team members. Additionally, the sense of accomplishment can boost self-esteem and confidence, further enhancing social skills.


Enhancing Cognitive Skills:

Sports puzzles can also help improve cognitive skills, such as memory, concentration, and spatial awareness. As team members work together to find the correct pieces and assemble the puzzle, they engage these cognitive skills, which can lead to improved performance in other areas of life.


A 2018 study published in Frontiers on Aging Neuroscience found that “jigsaw puzzling recruits multiple visuospatial cognitive abilities and is a potential protective factor for cognitive aging.” Visuospatial refers to thought processes requiring visual and spatial awareness including perception and memory. Researchers found that participants who did a 40-piece jigsaw puzzle showed strong cognitive skills.



 Incorporating sports puzzles and sports jigsaw puzzles into team-building activities can be a fun and effective way to enhance team-building and social skills. By fostering collaboration, encouraging problem-solving, strengthening emotional intelligence, promoting a sense of achievement, and enhancing cognitive skills, puzzles offer a unique opportunity for personal and professional growth. It has been scientifically proven to be a fun and engaging way to build stronger relationships and improve team dynamics.




Building jigsaw puzzles help build collaboration at 344 Winchester | Being Well at Yale. Yale edu.

Building the Emotional Intelligence of Groups .  HBR.org

Jigsaw Puzzling Taps Multiple Cognitive Abilities and Is a Potential Protective Factor for Cognitive Aging. Frontiersin.org

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