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Coaching Tips: How to Begin

Suggested Goals for the first five meetings: These goals should be adjusted according to age levels and experience level of team members.

Information Meeting:
a. Meet with students (and parents for middle, elementary and primary).
b. Explain the Odyssey of the Mind philosophy.
c. Describe the Odyssey of the Mind process and give dates of Regional and State Tournaments.
d. Discuss the time commitment necessary, and the responsibility of every team member to ensure a team effort.
e. Enlist parental assistance for transportation, helpers, etc.
f. Explain outside assistance. Help parents understand that they can be valuable resources for knowledge and skills, but the CANNOT volunteer solutions.
g. Set up a practice schedule appropriate to your Group.

First Team Meeting (following the formation of teams)
a. Work on the development of team spirit and a feeling of camaraderie between team members. Discuss the importance of being a team and working and thinking as a team. Ask students to explain examples of behaviors important building and maintaining team spirit.

b. Practice brainstorming and spontaneous activities. Rules for brainstorming are included in the Spontaneous Training packet. The coach’s participation in these initial spontaneous activities is important for building trust and modeling appropriate behavior. Emphasize the need for patience in waiting for team members to ting and in accepting all answers without judgment.

c. Discuss scheduling, time management, meeting places and goal setting. Refer to school events calendars, check with school administrators for use of school facilities, etc. When setting goals, discuss and decide on what the students hope to accomplish. Write down these conclusions for future reference.

d. Require a notebook for taking notes as they do research and for keeping track of ideas that occur to them at various times.

e. Organize a brainstorming activity to analyze factors the students might need to know prior to their attempting to solve any of the problems. Students record notes. You can question them and suggest general areas they might consider researching.

Second Team Meeting
a. Review the rules of brainstorming and spontaneous problem solving from the previous meeting.

b. Continue working on the development of team spirit. Organize an activity that requires the use of teamwork or that demonstrates the importance of teamwork.

c. Inventory team skills and preferences. “things I’m good t…, not good at…”, “I like to do…, I don’t like to do…” Refer to this inventory during talk assignment that will occur at all stages of the team’s development.

d. Establish rules to govern decision making. How will disagreements be settled? What will consequences be for lack of participation or disruptions during the meeting> Have the students develop a few guiding rules to ensure fair and fun meetings. ut them on a poster and display it at every meeting.

e. Discuss fund raising activities.

f. Close with a positive, team-building activity.

Third Team Meeting
a. Schedule a Boundary Breaker to bring the group back together and start them thinking about problem solving.

b. Continue activities that build team spirit and stress the need for working as a team.

c. Work on spontaneous problem-solving. Begin to identify what would be considered as creative answers vs. common responses. discuss the importance of each in the process. (Common responses are important since they keep answers flowing rather than having students stop and spend a lot of time thinking of creative responses. Creative responses warn the team more points.) As the coach ALWAYS be supportive of answers unless they are in poor taste in in these cases this should be discussed.

d. Review the Basic Competition Rules on a level that is appropriate for the students..

e. Practice spontaneous.

f. If you team has not chosen a long term problem, now is the time. Review the long term problems with the team. Use the skills inventory to discuss what problems this team is best suited t, and most interested in.

g. Discuss/choose problem. Brainstorm kinds of knowledge and skills needed to solve this problem.

h. Close with another fun, positive wrap-up activity.

Fourth meeting
a. Incorporate a team building activity.

b. Practice spontaneous

c. Review Long-Term Problem selected. Stress the need for research and experimentation of ideas. Emphasize that it is a long-term problem and what that means. Allow time for discussion and enthusiasm for the problem. Encourage all ideas and acceptance by all group members.

d. Students identify who will research certain topics and bring their findings to the next meeting. Encourage plenty of group discussion.

e. discuss questioning techniques with your team. Nothing new is learned until a question is asked. Refine this art over the course of the year.

Fifth Meeting (and beyond…)
a. Continue team building.

b. Continue spontaneous practices.

c. Brainstorm/discuss problem solutions (may include/overlap style ideas). Allow plenty of time for this, never settle for the first or easiest idea without exploring all. This process may extend over several meetings.

d. Conduct a more in-depth study of the Long-Term Problem. Review the Long-Term Problem in terms of breaking it down in its component parts, careful reading the rules/instructions and establishing a time-line for completion of the solution. Discuss new ways to find information and how the students can obtain this information. Brainstorm lists of tasks to accomplish.

e. Make lists of materials needed and how to get them.

f. Make a team generated time line. Discuss team member responsibility for doing what they say they are going to do and when. Assign tasks. Have the students discuss when certain components must or should be completed. The schedule should be tentative and allow for modifications.

Download complete tip sheet – includes advice from previous coaches and tips on effective coaching.

 

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