February, 2013


Tournament Time!

February 21st, 2013 By cgadmin


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.

Filed Under: Coaches Mentor Blog

You’ve Got…Style

February 7th, 2013 By Calla


Style can be a bit tricky to understand at first so let’s cover some basics. Each problem has two required elements. That does not mean that each team has to do it the exact same way—just that the elements are the same. For example, in the primary problem, Top Sea-cret Discoveries, the two required style elements are: 1) Creativity of the team’s membership sign 2) Creative use of a trash item in a costume worn by one of the Sea Explorer characters. 1) The sign for one team might be a fish with the team name and membership number on it, as it is a requirement to have these two identifiers on the sign (and to be read from 20 feet away). The team decides that the creativity of the sign is that it is a fish, and that fish is next to some other fish just like it, as it is part of the school of fish. 2) The creative use of the trash item is the old DVDs that are used on the Sea Explorer to make his suit jacket look like scales of a fish. (Though the Sea Character has to be portrayed as human for the problem, this character chooses to blend in with the fish by having his jacket be made from old fish scales…). If you were to state that you used an old suit jacket and slashed it with scissors to make it look like gills of a fish you likely would not score as high. Though the jacket may be ‘trash’, it was actually the cutting that made it creative, not the jacket itself. If you were to describe creative use of trash for a character other than the Sea Explorer the judges could not count it. If the team wants to use another character’s creative use of trash, this could be style element 3 or 4 which are up to each team to decide.


Number five is the overall effect of the four Style elements in the performance. An example of the first two in the above example might be: We chose the sign to be a part of our ‘school of fish’ so that it became a part of our set—the sea. We used the DVDs to make the suit jacket look like scales of the same type of fish, as this Sea Explorer wants to blend in with them as part of the humor of the skit.


Div II, Div III, Competitive—Let’s take this a step further by examining the two free choices for the team. This is where a team can really shine. If a team member can sing, perhaps a song can be the free choice. Or if the team can write some funny lyrics, it can be the words to the song. Careful here—these two can be very different. Is it the words to the song that add to the style, or is it the silliness of the ugly old bear breaking out into pitch-perfect singing? Or is it both—the bear singing a song that describes the situation at hand in the skit, and in perfect pitch.


Or a costume might be particularly creative. One year a team member took trash bags, made them into ’yarn’, and then crocheted them into a skirt. This is where it can get tricky in what you want the judges to score. 1) Do you want them to score the overall costume, 2) or the skirt, 3) or the way in which the skirt was made through both use of creative materials and the actual crocheting…ummm, I pick number 3!


Filed Under: Coaches Mentor Blog