About One Month Before Regional
Team provided volunteer and judge
Two weeks prior to the tournament; confirm that the two people that your team provided to work at the tournament are coming. We cannot have a tournament without judges and volunteers, so it’s very important that the coach makes the contacts and verifies that they are coming.
Prior to the tournament, coaches need to make sure that transportation to the tournament is arranged. Teams can travel together to the tournament, or can meet at the tournament site. If you are meeting at the tournament, set a definite time and place to meet. Transporting props and things the team need is very important and something most coaches will want to address weeks out. This is a great opportunity to broach the transportation subject for the team by addressing how the team will be getting all of their stuff to competition.
Getting Important Information out the Parents
Make sure that parents or other supporters know your problem and division so they can meet you at your performance site if they are not arriving with your group. It is also important that parents and other supporters know when and where opening and closing ceremonies are, when the team competes in long term, and even how many people to expect at the site. They will want to cheer for the team and the tournaments can be pretty big. By the time you get 50+ teams of 7 kids at a tournament, it can be very difficult to help ‘Johnny’s Grandpa’ to the right place when all he knows is Johnny is about 12 and competes around noon. Getting out a schedule with all of the pertinent information for everyone involved is critical and obviously restating things that may seem obvious to you as a coach are important (such as school name and problem they are competing in).
Have your paperwork prepared in advance. This will make your tournament experience much more enjoyable. Be sure the team has extra copies of their material values form, style form, outside assistance form, clarification form(s), and any other paperwork required for their Long Term problem solution. This will be a theme in all of these tournament prep notes because having your paperwork not ready is one of the easiest ways to stress out a team or coach on competition day.
Prepare some spontaneous practice problems to help warm up the team on competition day. Warming a team up helps get their brains in gear and the team feeling as prepared as possible for the unknown that awaits them. We recommend simple problems that they team will experience lots of success with to boost their confidence. End your practice with a lot of encouragement and positive reinforcement! Do not allow team members to take cell phones, watches that beep or any noise making devise with them into the Spontaneous competition area. If something goes off unintentionally, it could interrupt the focus and/or timing.
Wear a watch and have a plan
It is the coach’s responsibility to get teams to their competitions on time. You should report to the Staging Area 20 minutes before your Long Term competition time. You should report to the Spontaneous competition check in table 15 minutes before your competition time. Make sure the team knows the plan for when to meet for all of the days events.
Remind Parents attending
If they arrive after the team’s Long Term performance has begun, they will not be allowed to enter the performance area and watch the performance. There are no exceptions to this rule!!! Make sure that family members and friends understand this, so there are no misunderstandings on tournament day.
You should have blocks of free time during the day. Plan to use this time to watch other teams perform, to snack, or just to relax and “play” (bring a Frisbee, jump rope, etc.). Be aware of team members’ behaviors, if you sense a lot of stress/tension try to do something fun to relieve it. Go outside and play a game, have snack time together — do whatever it takes to relax the team. Remember — the competition day is supposed to be fun! If you spend some time in advance figuring out when the free time blocks will be and preparing some ways to help the team cope with this time period, the competition day will run much smoother. You are the one who has been working with the team day in and day out for months. You have learned how the team works and even how to work the team. Spending a few minutes coming up with a schedule will make life so much easier once competition day gets here (keep it somewhat vague for free time because there is so much going on the plan could easily get changed day of).