One of a coach’s most important roles is managing their team. Part of that role is creating a schedule of practices and setting goals for your team throughout the year.
Before the First Meeting
Be sure that you have read this season’s Odyssey of the Mind Program Guide and the VOICES Coaches Handbook before the first meeting. These are both valuable sources of information that you will come back to many, many times throughout the year.
If you are unsure of who will be on your team, speak to your school coordinator or arrange an interest meeting for parents and students. If you are a parent, it may be tempting to ask your child’s friends to be teammates. While this can be a great way to form a team, remember that the children do not need to be friends or even know each other outside of Odyssey to make a great team.
The first meeting is important for setting the tone for your team and future meetings. Consider asking the parents to attend this meeting so that they can learn more about the program and their roles. Discuss what Odyssey of the Mind is with the team members and be clear about what level of commitment you expect from everyone. Let the parents know how they can help, whether it is helping you at meetings, driving kids to the store, or just bringing snacks.
If you are unsure which kids will want to commit to the team, this first meeting is especially important. Only a total of seven minds can contribute to any Odyssey of the Mind solution. So if a team member starts the season on a seven-person team, but then leaves the team for some reason, that team member cannot be replaced. If he or she were replaced, that would be unfair; then there would have been eight minds working on that long-term solution. If you do not discuss specifics of the long-term solution at this first meeting and then a student who attended decides he or she cannot commit to the program, you still have a chance to replace that student before the team starts working on their solution.
Most importantly, emphasize to your team that this is a program that encourages divergent thinking. Students will do everything themselves, from deciding on their problem to choosing a theme to designing their costumes. Any and all talents can be an important part of the long-term solution. And above all, it should be FUN!
Suggested Timeline of Meetings
- Begin weekly meetings
- Have the team read through all of the problems (take at least 1-2 meetings to read and discuss each of the problems)
- Have the team brainstorm ideas for each and allow them to decide which one to solve
- Attend Coaches Training
- Continue weekly or begin biweekly meetings
- Have the team brainstorm ideas for the problem they have chosen
- Encourage the team to begin formulating a theme for the long-term solution
- Practice spontaneous
- Continue weekly or biweekly meetings, adding weekend work sessions if needed
- Have the team begin building props, costumes, scenery, etc.
- Take team members to Home Depot, Goodwill, Wal-Mart, and other stores to purchase materials and finalize their ideas
- Practice spontaneous
- Review their long-term solution and polish the performance
- Have fun competing at the Regional Tournament!
Below are the forms you will need to bring with you the day of the tournament. You can download all of the forms in the Members Area of the international Odyssey web site.
The team members must fill in all of the forms on their own. You can serve as a scribe if your team is in Division I, but everything must be in the team members’ own words.
- Style Form – 4 copies
- Cost Form – 1 copy
- Outside Assistance Form – 1 copy
- Required List – 4 copies (all except Problem 4)