The Poudre River Tournament is almost here and the other two tournaments are just around the corner. This is the time when there are just not enough hours to complete everything that needs to be done. My advice is to accept that your team will do fine. The best that you can do the week before the tournament is help them determine what needs to get done and what will need to left out.


A few suggestions as you prepare for the big day:


Make sure the skit is completed in less than eight minutes, including set up time starting from the staging area. Better to cut a bit of the skit out than the kids being stopped before the skit is finished– just makes the kids feel bad. Make sure you make time to practice all parts of the solution: staging, skit and talking to the judges. Have the kids determine how they will set up their props, etc. in the staging area and how they can assure success. Hopefully they will come to the conclusion that they need to have this consistent and who needs to do what in the staging set up. Ideally you would like to coach them to understand that the skit may be able to get started even during set up and give more time for the performance. Of course this may not always be possible but in my experience it always was! Once the team understood the time and how to begin the skit they always found a way. For example, the person who will begin the skit should bring out a small prop and the sign in order that the skit could be started. The membership sign must always be out and visible before the skit can begin. At the end of the skit the judges will talk to the team about the solution. Have the kids decide who is best to talk with a judge about a part of the solution. For example, on a technical piece if a judge asks a team member who is not part of the solution in that area the team member may want to grab the student who designed it to talk with the judge. I have found that the team feels great success by talking with the judges about the processes involved in the solution, and so do the judges!


If you have not done so already, take some time to have your team complete the competition forms. Division I can be written by coaches but the team must dictate what to write. Forms are located in the back of the Program Guide Book or on the national website under Member Area>Forms & Problems.


1 copy Outside Assistance Form:  This form is signed by the team members indicating they completed all of the parts of the skit themselves, or indicated on the form the type of outside assistance that occurred. Make sure the members o f the team understands what they are signing as there is a possibility a judge may ask them if they understand the form. See page 45 of the Program Guide for more information.


1 copy Cost Form:  Have the kids look at the entire solution and write everything down on a piece of paper. Then group according to what works for the team and problems. If there a lot costumes you may want to break down by character. For a building problem you may want to break down the technical items. Whatever works and makes it easy for the team to record it. Be sure to know the three categories for items:  cost, exempt , and assigned values. Remember that only what is in the final solution is counted in the cost form. Be sure to have the students add up the cost and verify it meets the allowed amount for the problem solution. See page .pg 47 in the Program Guide.


4 copies Style Forms: If you have not already done style, spend time on this since those 50 points can really mean a lot. Remember there are two style elements the team selects and this is a good place to put parts of the long term that are not scored but that highlighted the team’s solution. The fifth style element is to explain how the effect of the other four elements combine to enhance the performance.


4 copies Problem paperwork as indicated in section. These are used to help the judging team know what parts of the scored solution to look for on specific problem. This is stated in your problem under H.


Membership Sign:  This is a must and needs to be read from 25 feet away and have your required team info on it. It MUST be out in view for the judges before the solution begins and remain in view the entire time. See page 44 of the Program Guide.


Toolbox:  Also known to my teams as the “Murphy’s Law” kit:  all the things that may be needed in an emergency on competition day. Have the team think about what tends to break and what is needed to fix them. During rehearsal as problems arise often dictates additional tool kit supplies! Typical things such as tape, scissors, duct tape, spare prop parts, screwdrivers, wrenches, etc. This can go in the staging area and can be used for setting up the performance or for repairs, but cannot be a part of the solution. See page 49 in the Program Guide.