A great activity for everyone


A thrilling and engaging game of balance, reflexes, and high-fives – Smack will leave you and your friends breathless with excitement!

By Jon Zajac

What is Smack?

The Smack icebreaker game is a fun and engaging activity that involves a small to medium-sized group of people. Suitable for ages 10 and up, this game is designed to test your reaction and balance, making it the perfect physical icebreaker. The aim of the game is to make your opponent lose their balance, and players must face each other with nothing else to hold onto, making it easy to be thrown off balance when they “smack” each other’s hands.

The Smack icebreaker game can be played in pairs or as teams, where every player will have to “smack” their opponents and throw them off balance until only one team has players remaining. This game is an excellent way to encourage teamwork, communication, and competition while breaking the ice among unfamiliar group members. Overall, Smack is a simple yet effective icebreaker that can help create a fun and engaging atmosphere for any workout or group activity.

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Rules for Smack

  • Split players into pairs, ideally with someone they’re unfamiliar with.
  • Have players stand face to face at an arm’s length away from each other.
  • Remind players they cannot touch each other until the game begins.
  • After a countdown, players stretch out their arms so palm touches the opponent’s palm.
  • Players tap each other’s palms repeatedly, as hard as they can, simulating a high 10 cheer with a push.
  • The aim is to make opponents lose balance; if they do, the smacking player gains a point.
  • The game ends when one player reaches 10 points or more.
  • An alternative way to play is to split players into two teams standing in a line facing each other.
  • Each player must “smack” their opponent and throw them off balance.
  • If a player loses balance, they are eliminated from the team.
  • The team with the most players remaining wins the game.

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Materials needed for Smack

  • Large space: You will need a spacious area where all players can stand around and move freely during the game.
  • Even number of players: Smack Game is best played in pairs, so ensure you have an even number of participants. The ideal group size is between 2 to 10 people, with no age limit as long as the players are 10 years old or above.

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Setting up for Smack

To set up for the Smack icebreaker activity, you will need to have a large space where all players can stand around comfortably. This is because the game requires a lot of movement and space for players to maintain their balance. Other than ensuring you have enough space, there are no additional materials or preparation needed to set up for the Smack icebreaker activity.

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How to play Smack

  1. Split players into pairs: I start by dividing the group into pairs, ideally with individuals who may not know each other well to maximize the icebreaker aspect of the game.
  2. Have partners stand facing each other: Each pair of players stands about an arm’s length apart from one another, making sure they do not touch until the game begins.
  3. Remind players of no-touch rule (until the start): I emphasize to my players that they cannot touch each other until the game officially starts; otherwise, it would compromise the balance and reaction challenges inherent in Smack Game.
  4. Initiate a countdown: Before starting the game, I give the players a brief countdown period to prepare themselves mentally and physically for the “smacking” motion.
  5. Direct players to touch palms: Upon starting the game, my players stretch out their arms with their palms touching, but they must not hold onto each other; only taps are allowed. This high-ten-like gesture is what I call the “smack” element in Smack Game.
  6. Ask players to repeat high ten motion: Players must repeat the smacking motion as forcefully as possible while maintaining their balance. If any player loses balance, their opponent scores a point.
  7. Determine a winner based on points: The game ends when one player accumulates 10 or more points, making them the winner of that round.

For a variation of Smack Game in a team format:

  1. Split players into two teams: Divide the group into two evenly-numbered teams and have them stand in lines facing each other for the team-based version.
  2. Have teams “smack” opponents: Each player tries to smack their opponent’s hand while maintaining balance. If they lose balance, they are eliminated from their team.
  3. Determine a winning team: The team with the most remaining players wins the game.

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Benefits of Smack

  • Builds teamwork: By pairing players with someone they’re unfamiliar with, Smack Game encourages participants to work together and communicate effectively in order to win. This can help build trust and strengthen relationships within a group.
  • Improves balance and reflexes: The repeated “high 10” motion required in Smack Game helps improve players’ balance and reaction time. This physical activity can be beneficial for overall health and well-being.
  • Encourages competition: With the goal of gaining points by making opponents lose their balance, Smack Game brings out a competitive spirit in participants. This can help motivate individuals to push themselves and strive for success.
  • Breaks the ice: As a group game that involves physical contact, Smack Game is a great icebreaker that helps participants loosen up and get to know each other in a fun and interactive way.
  • Customizable: Smack Game can be easily adapted to fit different group sizes and ages. By splitting players into teams and having them stand in a line, the game can become even more challenging and engaging.

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Skills built with Smack

  • Balance: Smack Game requires players to maintain their balance while repeatedly pushing against their opponent’s hands. This helps improve overall balance and stability.
  • Reaction Time: The quicker a player can react to their opponent’s movements, the more likely they are to maintain their balance. Improving reaction time is essential for success in this game.
  • Strength: Although not a primary focus of the game, pushing against an opponent’s hands does require some upper body strength. This aspect of Smack Game can help build functional strength.
  • Teamwork and Communication (in team version): In the team version of Smack Game, players must work together to knock their opponents off balance while minimizing their own losses. Effective communication and cooperation are crucial for success in this variant.
  • Self-confidence: Successfully maintaining balance against an opponent can build self-confidence, both in a physical context and more generally. This can help players approach new challenges with greater assurance.
  • Body Awareness and Control: Smack Game demands that players pay close attention to their body positioning and movements. Improving body awareness and control can benefit overall coordination and movement abilities.

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Why I like Smack

As someone who enjoys bringing people together and facilitating positive interactions, I find the Smack icebreaker to be a fantastic game for several reasons.

Firstly, its simplicity makes it easy for anyone to understand and play, regardless of their age or physical abilities. The rules are straightforward, and there’s no need for any special equipment or preparation, making it a convenient game to organize at any time.

Secondly, the physical aspect of the game is a great way to get people moving and engaged with each other. The fact that players have to face each other and maintain balance while “smacking” their opponent’s hands requires focus, coordination, and communication, which can help build trust and rapport between players.

Additionally, I appreciate that the game can be played in pairs or as a team competition. This flexibility makes it suitable for different group sizes and dynamics, allowing organizers to adapt the game to their specific needs and goals.

Furthermore, the game’s high-energy nature and fast-paced action make it an entertaining and enjoyable experience for all involved. Laughter and excitement are common reactions to playing Smack, creating a positive atmosphere that can help break down barriers and encourage socialization.

Overall, I believe that the Smack icebreaker is an excellent choice for anyone looking to facilitate meaningful connections and foster teamwork in a fun and engaging way.

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Tips for making Smack more inclusive

  • Tip: Allow for modifications based on physical abilities Make sure to inform players that they can modify the game to accommodate any physical limitations or discomforts. For example, they can reduce the force of their “smacks” or widen their stance for better balance.
  • Tip: Use gender-neutral language Instead of saying “opponents,” you could use terms like “partners” or “players” to create a more inclusive environment. This change can help make the game more welcoming to all participants, regardless of gender identity.
  • Tip: Encourage respectful interactions Remind players to be mindful of their partner’s personal space and comfort level during the game. They should avoid aggressive or inappropriate behaviors and focus on maintaining a fun and safe atmosphere for everyone.
  • Tip: Offer a variety of pairing options While pairing participants with someone they are unfamiliar with can be beneficial, also consider offering the option for friends to play together. This choice can help create a more inclusive environment by allowing individuals to feel more comfortable during the game.
  • Tip: Consider cultural sensitivities Be aware that some physical contact games may not align with certain cultural norms or beliefs. Ensure that participants are informed about the nature of the game and offered the choice to opt out if they feel uncomfortable. Providing alternative activities can help maintain an inclusive environment for all.

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Reflection questions for Smack

  1. What did you think about the Smack icebreaker game? Understanding participants’ thoughts on the game can help facilitators determine if the activity was effective in achieving its goals.
  2. How did you feel when playing the game? This question can help facilitators gauge the emotional impact of the game and how comfortable participants were with the physical contact involved.
  3. What strategies did you use to try and make your opponent lose balance? Understanding the techniques used by participants can provide insights into their problem-solving abilities and creativity.
  4. How did you feel when your opponent successfully made you lose balance? This question can help facilitators understand how participants handle competition and setbacks.
  5. Did you find it challenging to maintain balance while playing the game? Understanding the level of difficulty experienced by participants can help facilitators adjust the game’s rules or consider alternative icebreakers for future sessions.
  6. What did you learn about yourself through this activity? This question can help participants reflect on their strengths and weaknesses, as well as their ability to adapt to new situations.
  7. Did you enjoy playing the game with someone you didn’t know beforehand? Understanding participants’ experiences with interacting with unfamiliar individuals can help facilitators assess the effectiveness of the icebreaker in fostering connections and building rapport.
  8. Would you like to play this game again or try other similar activities in future sessions? This question can provide feedback on participants’ overall satisfaction with the icebreaker and their willingness to engage in similar activities in the future.

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About the author

Jon Zajac

Jon Zajac

Founder & Chief Icebreaker

I started Icebreaker Spot because I truly believe that strong connections are the foundation of successful teams. I wanted to create a platform that would make it easy for people to find and share icebreakers and team building activities, empowering them to build trust, foster collaboration, and ultimately, achieve greatness together.

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