What’s a coach to do? If you have reviewed your membership materials and are wondering, What do I do next, here are some tips. Keep in mind that everyone involved should have fun. Create a practice schedule and set basic rules. Stress the importance of attending meetings and practice sessions. Set down rules for good sportsmanship and constructive criticism. Remember: There’s no such thing as a bad idea! Encourage team members to work cooperatively. Teamwork is one of the basic principles of Odyssey of the Mind.
All teams go through growing pains, but members will learn to work together as time goes on. Do not help the team solve the problem. The coach’s role is to help team members develop problem-solving skills, not to help solve the problem. Before adding your input, ask yourself if it would create or improve an aspect of the team’s solution (outside assistance), or if it would enhance the team members’ creative problem-solving abilities (good coaching). Learn about the spontaneous competition and present practice spontaneous activities regularly. Books of practice problems are available from Creative Competitions Inc.
Read the Odyssey of the Mind Program Guide and stay up-to-date with problem clarifications. Refer to the guide often and check clarifications on a regular basis. Be aware of the clarification cut-off date for your regional tournament. If you don’t know the date you should consult your materials or contact your local coordinator or regional director. If an aspect of your team’s solution seems questionable, it is not outside assistance to suggest submitting a problem clarification. Arrange a performance for the student body and faculty. Let the school see what your team has learned through Odyssey of the Mind. This is also good rehearsal for teams before they go to official competition, and it helps them feel comfortable performing before an audience. Provide copies of the Odyssey of the Mind Program Guide to all your judges and the problem description to your long term judge(s). Encourage your judges to study the materials prior to Judges’ Training. Doing so will enhance the training and help them to be better judges.
In relation to PA State laws requiring “Clearances” for volunteers: All Pennsylvania Odyssey of the Mind Coaches, Officials, and Volunteers must conform with the standards and policies set forth by the entity which sponsors the Pennsylvania Odyssey of the Mind team with which the volunteer is associated.