Success in Odyssey of the Mind should not be measured by whether or not the team goes on to the State Finals. After all, for 90-95% of teams, the season ends at the Regional tournament. Find ways to take the emphasis off winning and losing.
Celebrate that the team finished its solution and made it to the tournament. If you have kept track, remind them how many hours they worked on their solution and remind them of some of the hurdles they overcame. (“You tried seven different designs for your vehicle – great problem-solving and perseverance to keep trying until you built one that worked this well!”)
Hand out MVP awards after the performance, but before the scores come in. Pick the MVPs yourself, have the parents select, or let the team vote for the MVPs:
- Spontaneous MVP (but remember not to talk about the spontaneous problem in public),
- Most vocal (or best answer) in talking with judges after the performance,
- Best Recovery from a Potential Catastrophe
- Team member who contributed the most to the [backdrop/queen costume/specific prop]
- Team parent who brought the most cookies
… you get the idea.