West Central Pennsylvania Odyssey of the Mind
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Tips for Coaches

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 on the basic principles of Odyssey of the Mind. Al 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 the Events page on this website.

If an aspect of your team's solution seems questionable, it is not outside assistance to suggest submitting a problem clarification. The cutoff for submitting questions is February 15, 2011.

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 you 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.

Handbook

The Coaches' Handbook, a comprehensive guide for coaches, new and veterans.

Coaches' Training

Whether you're new or a veteran, you are urged to attend coaches' training which is usually held in late October/ early November of each year. Check the Events/Dates Page for this year's schedule. Information will be presented through a series of workshops. Subjects will include team building and "thinking outside the box", long term problems, style, spontaneous and balsa wood structures. New coaches will gain valuable insight into various aspects of the Odyssey program. Veteran coaches will share coaching tips.

Your Judges

We recommend that each team recruit more than one long-term judge. Should something prevent your judge from judging on Tournament day your team will be assessed a spirit of the problem penalty of 25 points. Each coach should give copies of the following to each of their team's judges well before Judges Training. These materials were provided to all school Coordinators who should forward them all coaches in their membership.

  • Judges' Training Form
  • Problem Description
  • Odyssey of the Mind Program Guide

Ensure that your judges study the problem and program guide and bring them to Judges Training. Doing so will enhance their training and help them to be better judges.

Tournament Guidelines

Please review the Tournament Guidelines. Odyssey of the Mind is about kids having fun and exercising their creativity, but please help your team to conduct themselves appropriately during tournaments.

ACT 48 hours available for teachers.
Coaches must attend Coach Training and bring a Team that competes in the West Central Regional tournament

Role of the Coach
From the Odyssey of the Mind Program Guide

The most important thing for a coach to remember is that Odyssey of the Mind is an activity for students. Teams must succeed and fail on their own merits, and achievement is rated on effort, not necessarily on results. The role of a coach is to offer guidance and encouragement to team members. Coaches are to teach team members how to open their minds to new ideas, how to accept the suggestions of others, and how to evaluate potential solutions. They are not to give the team ideas or tell how to solve a problem. Responsibilities of a coach usually include recruiting, selecting and training team members. Other responsibilities include:

explaining the long-term problem to the team,

supervising all practice sessions,

conducting brainstorming sessions for long-term and spontaneous problems,

holding and evaluating spontaneous problem practice sessions,

helping the team obtain the materials and knowledge necessary to solve the long-term problem,

contacting your local Odyssey of the Mind organization for information,

registering the team for competitions,

accompanying the team to competitions, and

representing the team if a problem occurs.

 

 

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