Easy retro templates for sports fans

Sprint retrospective idea – Continuous improvement on different playing fields

Why run a sports-themed retrospective?

Sports retrospectives are great examples of fun sprint retrospectives that are inspired by a variety of different games and events from all over the world. This unlocks a vast equipment locker overflowing with team-centric analogies you can use to motivate, inspire, focus, and connect with your team.

Simply by reviewing your last sprint through the lens of a sport, the team will be gently calibrated to consider different words, phrases, and fresh perspectives in a game to the way they perform as a team at work, helping build appreciation for camaraderie, roles and strategies to win the championship.

Your choice of retrospective template can be informed by all manner of things, including –

  • Your team’s interests
  • An up-coming sporting event
  • A particular aspect of the sprint
  • A great sporting win or a noble sporting loss
  • A particular habit you hope to foster within your team

That’s right, these easy retrospective templates leverage your team’s interests and understandings in a particular sport to –

  • Appreciate the need to continuously improve and level up
  • Tackle retrospective anti-patterns
  • Shoot for an element of play in the workplace

as your team continues to deliver value.

Our easy sports retros

Our selectors have hand-picked a star-studded line-up of sport retrospectives to help your team hit their goals.

To get you started, we’ve created the following templates based on the sports we follow at TeamRetro (and yes, we’ve included some useful tips and icebreakers for each of them too).

You’ll find these templates under the Community Templates category when you go to create a retro.

American Football (NFL) retrospective






Not only is this a great retrospective to keep in mind in the lead-up to the Superbowl, but the American Football (NFL) retrospective also helps surface demarcation lines and limits that need to be kept in view.

It’s also a great tool to help train the team up to learn from past ‘interceptions and tackles’ and inform ‘the next plays’.

Q: Why is it always so cold at football games?

A: Because of all the fans!

Warm up with a quick icebreaker such as –

● When you hear the word “football” what color do you think of? Why?
● Which do you think is more important in life, offense, or defense? Explain why.
● Would you prefer to be known as a skillful player or a team player? Explain why.

Aussie Rules (AFL) retrospective







This retrospective can be used when your team is having trouble completing a task.

Having the ability to see what has been slowing you down and what you have achieved despite this, can be helpful in providing confidence when trying to complete a difficult task.

Q: What runs around a football field but never moves?

A: A fence!

Warm up with a quick icebreaker such as –

● Which code do you consider to be the ultimate version of ‘football’?
● If your team was losing at halftime, what would you say to inspire them to victory?
● If your team lost the Grand Final, how would you console your teammates?

Baseball retrospective






The baseball retrospective template is a great retro to use if you are looking to start off with a simple format to focus on the game and not the players.

Q: Which baseball player makes pancakes?

A: The batter!

Warm up with a quick icebreaker such as –

● What thoughts are you putting aside as you step onto the retro field?
● What could workplaces learn from the sports field?
● What’s your baseball snack – popcorn or hotdog and why?

Basketball retrospective






If you are looking for some strategies and tactics to work out your next winning shot, the basketball retrospective is a great one to try with your team.

This retrospective will help your team unpack those challenges and plan for the next sprint.

Q: Why can’t basketball players go on vacation?

A: They aren’t allowed to travel!

Warm up with a quick icebreaker such as –

● Space Jam was released in 1996 and Space Jam 2 was released in 2021. What sports-based movie would you remake and why?
● What makes a sports game worth watching?
● Would you rather your team won their final, or for you to be named the most valuable player of the season?

Cricket retrospective


Join your team at tea to review their last sprint.

The cricket retrospective template is great to use if you wish to support your team as they translate challenges into learning opportunities.

We recommend your cricket retro has limited overs.

Q: Why are cricketers so good at ironing shirts?

A: They know how to spot a crease!

Warm up with a quick icebreaker such as –

● Have you played a straight bat, been bowled over, or hit someone for six? Cricket has delivered some wonderful idioms. What are your favorite idiom or saying and why?
● When you were a kid, what was your favorite sport or game?
● Would you rather be an excellent batter or an excellent bowler?

Netball retrospective





Here if you need it!

The netball retrospective is another great tool to help your team reframe challenges into opportunities; it steps your team through their last sprint with the goal of defining change and improvement.

Q: Why are netball players considered the most IT savvy of all sportspeople?

A: They are always at the net.

Warm up with a quick icebreaker such as –

● Netballers aren’t allowed to step with the ball, but they can pivot; describe a time you had to pivot.
● Which do you prefer – a short, high-energy game or a long, low energy game? Explain why.
● What’s the perfect sport to play in the rain? Explain why.

Olympics 2020 retrospective





Let the games begin!

This retrospective can be used to celebrate a milestone, an end of an epic, or a significant moment in your team’s life cycle.

Of course, you can be creative by adding in other elements such as Ceremonies or Highlights.

Q: What’s the name of the fastest dinosaur at the Olympics?

A: Prontosaurus!

Warm up with a quick icebreaker such as –

● If you were an Olympic sport, what would you be why?
● Would you rather take part in a team or individual sport? Why?
● What sport would you want to break the Olympic record in and why?

Rugby retrospective





This retrospective is focused on building momentum and helps your team identify elements that need to be taken ‘out of play’ so things may progress.

Q: If you have a referee in rugby, what do you have in bowls?

A: Soup.

Warm up with a quick icebreaker such as –

Ask each participant to bring the most unusual item they have on their desk to the retrospective meeting and –

● Explain why they think it’s unusual or
● Suggest how it could be incorporated in rugby or
● Describe how it could be used to fend off an alien invasion.

Soccer retrospective






If you’ve had a particularly rough sprint, the soccer retrospective is great to use to celebrate the efforts of the team in addressing the issues and risks you encountered along the way.

Finishing your meeting with gratitude check out such as ‘who would you like to thank for helping you through?’ is a wonderful way of reinforcing the importance of teamwork when times are tough.

Q: The Musketeers SC started the season with three wins and a draw. What were the scores?

A: All 4-1 and one 4-all.

Warm up with a quick icebreaker such as –

● What carpark behaviour do you think should be given a red card?
● How would you describe your day (so far) if it were a soccer match?
● When was the last time you yelled with excitement and why?

Tennis retrospective





Ladies and gentlemen, the players are ready!

If your team is new to agile, unforthcoming, or just shy, our Tennis Retrospective is here for you!

With five tennis-inspired topics (and you can always add more!), your team is positioned to drill down into the detail of their last sprint.

Q: Why should you never fall for a tennis player?

A: To them, love means nothing.

Warm up with a quick icebreaker such as –

● What would you love to ace today?
● What’s your current (non-work) game, set or match you’re keen to progress?
● Would you prefer to be an icebreaker or a tiebreaker? Explain why.

Volleyball retrospective




Mine! Help! Out!

Another great retrospective to help your team drill down into the specific details of the last sprint.

Have your team acknowledge the inputs of the other team members that contributed to each topic in the retrospective. Encourage them to focus on examples that showcase team spirit and collaboration.

Q: Why did the volleyball player get kicked out of the party?

A: They spiked the punch

Warm up with a quick icebreaker such as –

● As a kid, did you prefer to play indoors or outdoors?
● What could you use a volleyball net for (apart from playing sport)?
● What sport would a supervillain play?

These, like all of TeamRetro’s templates, can be edited and adjusted to ensure they address the needs of your team.
If your team’s sporting passion isn’t reflected by the above templates, TeamRetro lets you create and save your own templates.

Tackle retrospective antipatterns with sports retrospectives

As well as the direct benefits your sports retrospective delivers in support of the continuous improvement of your product, it can also support the continuous improvement of your team.

The way you facilitate your meeting can add to your play book for intercepting common anti-patterns.

We’ve included examples of some simple but effective plays, named after the anti-patterns they address, for you to try.

The Groundhog Day Play

Repetition is great when you’re first learning something or if you need to get a whole pile of things done quickly, but if over-used, it can have an opposite effect.

In the absence of variety, we can switch off, and start to think of other things to compensate for the monotony we’re experiencing. We lose both focus and interest.

The Play –

To steer your team away from entering a retro Groundhog Day loop (or save them if they’re already in one).

Change things up by –

  1. Have a team member share a story or say why they love a sport and how teamwork comes into play in that sport.
  2. Changing the retrospective format as each sports theme is a little different to the next.
  1. Take your retro outside and maybe even play a little game to embed understanding…if you can!

Not only will these changes disrupt the grind, but they will also help side-step standard responses and inject fresh energy into your retrospectives.

Passive Participants Play

Passive participants are team members who turn up to the retrospective meeting, but don’t contribute. There could be an almost infinite number of reasons for this, so addressing this issue needs to be done gently. It might be that they don’t feel safe to speak up, or don’t feel like their contribution is relevant at the time.

The Play –

To open the channels of communication with that passive player.

Reach out and start a conversation with your quiet team member –

  1. Ask them which sport they follow or play
  2. Invite them to nominate which sport retrospective they feel should be used for your next retrospective – then
  3. Use it!

They get to see their feedback is actioned and you have opened the channels for other conversations. Don’t forget to thank them for that input and note the difference it made.

Small but incredibly simple interactions such as these build and nurture valuable connections with your team and open the door to further conversations.

The Bulldozer Play

Just like a player who doesn’t pass the ball, a Bulldozer is a member of your team who dominates the retrospective meeting. They are very easily spotted; they are usually the person talking at great length (and great volume).

When it comes to sports, where’s a great place to position the loudest person on the team? Why the head of the cheer squad of course! The same can happen with your sport retrospective.

The Play –

To help that team member redirect their energy.

Reach out and start a conversation with your loud team member to help with team morale as well as product development –

  1. When morale is down, look to them to help lift it.
  2. When morale is high, look to them to help celebrate it.
  3. Task them with ensuring all voices are heard and acknowledged during team meetings.
  4. Have quiet reflection time – moments of silence, where everyone gets a chance to think and add comments.
  5. Use tools that measure how long each person speaks.

Finally, at an appropriate time outside of the retrospective, acknowledge their contribution to the team as well as the product.

The Grumpy Pants Play

In the context of a retrospective meeting, ‘grumpy pants’ refers to a mindset in which a team member has a propensity for pessimism such that even the easiest of tasks can seem either pointless or insurmountable.

Despite never seeing them in department stores, it appears we all have a pair in our wardrobe (and unfortunately, they always fit).

We all wear grumpy pants from time to time, but when they become part of a team’s uniform, it can be a problem.

The Play –

To bookend your sport retrospective meetings with mindfulness and gratitude.

Utilize icebreakers and checkouts –

  1. Kick-off your meeting with an icebreaker such as –
    • What colour/season/sport best represents your current mood and why?
    • What thoughts are you putting aside so you can give this your full attention?
    • What mindset are you embracing to make the most of this retrospective?
  1. Wrap up your meeting with an exercise in appreciation
    • Who made a positive difference to your sprint and how?
    • How did the last sprint help you grow?
    • What opportunities are you looking forward to in the next sprint?

Incorporating elements of mindfulness and gratitude into the delivery of your sports retrospective can help your team members embrace a mindset that is beneficial to their wellbeing (as well as that of the team). In doing so, they are less likely to turn up wearing grumpy pants.

How to run a sport retrospective in TeamRetro

Start Agile Retrospective

Start your retrospective in a click
Log into TeamRetro and choose your sprint retrospective template.

Invite Your Team
Invite your team easily – no separate accounts needed
Send an email invite, a link or add to your Slack channel to get people started quickly. SSO options are also available.
Agile Retrospective Brainstorm
Time to brainstorm
Each team member can now brainstorm individually under each topic. This avoids group think and allows everyone to have their say. They can indicate when they have finished, or you can set a timer so that you know when to move onto the next stage.
Grouping of ideas after brainstorming in a retrospective meeting
Group related ideas
Drag and drop  related ideas to combine them for easier voting. TeamRetro can also automatically suggest ideas that are similar, saving you and your team valuable time.
Grouping of ideas after brainstorming in a retrospective meeting
Vote independently to avoid anchoring
Each team member votes on what they would most like to discuss further. The results won’t be displayed to everyone until you advance to Discuss.
Grouping of ideas after brainstorming in a retrospective meeting

Discuss the most important things first
You and your team discuss the top voted ideas and can capture deep dive comments.  Presentation mode allows you to walk your team through ideas one-by-one and keep the conversation focused.

Grouping of ideas after brainstorming in a retrospective meeting

Review and create actions

Easily facilitate discussion by bringing everyone onto the same page. Create action items, assign owners and due dates that will carry through for review at the next retrospective.

Grouping of ideas after brainstorming in a retrospective meeting

Share the results
Once you have finished your retro, you can share the results and actions with the team. Your retro will be stored so you can revisit them as needed.

Congratulations! You’ve just run a retro like a boss.
Want more? Read on.