Being a coach can be one of the greatest experiences, but it can also be fraught with frustration at times. Here are a few suggestions. First, set team expectations. Hold a meeting with the kids and parents and make a few ground rules. One, the kids (and parents) must consider this a team just like sports teams, or other individual activities such as dance and tae kwon do, and make a commitment to make practice. Decide on a meeting time during this meeting. This must work around a time convenient for you, since you ARE the coach. It could be that it starts on one time but then needs to be modified as some of the members add additional activities. You should also discuss the need to add more time in some way later in the season as tournament time approaches. Once the team meeting time has been designated, keep it the same, with few exceptions such as holiday or school breaks.

 

Primary—Determine a time when the team can meet. Shorter meeting times are more effective at this age. Depending on when the team forms you may want to meet once a week through December and then move to twice a week.

 

Div I—Have the team and parents sign a contract. Some team members get more excited about Odyssey than others—much like some kids are more excited about soccer. Discuss this with the team members and perhaps parents as well. As kids get older, other activities may be a higher priority for some kids. A basic concept of fairness is the team members who spend the most time working on the problem and make most of the practices should be able to have a greater choice of parts later on. As a coach I always tried to work major decisions around when the entire team would be present. But a general rule I enforced is that if a decision is made and a member is not present s/he has to either present ideas ahead of time or understand a decision is made without her.

 

Div II, III, competitive teams—After the initial meetings where the team has bonded and the skit concept has been developed—typically by January—it may be possible to have more flexible meeting times to accommodate the often busy teens. Perhaps two or three can agree to be in charge of making the vehicle, technical device, structure, etc. and meet on their own with the guidance of the coach or other parent. Another group, or individual may begin work on a costume or scene, or particular style elements s/he is good at. Just be sure they agree to have deadlines for completion of parts of their task, and meet with the others to make sure it is meeting the needs of the majority of the tem. This often helps them learn time management skills, responsibility and still allow the needed flexibility for to her areas. Again, depending on age level, years of OotM experience and level of trust will dictate how much you’ll need to manage this.