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Role of the Coach

A team is not a group of people that work together. A team is a group of people that trust each other." ~ Simon Sinek

Get Off To A Great Start

As a coach, you will be off to a great start when you set the example of adult behavior, sportsmanship, and Odyssey of the Mind spirit. Make the journey of Odyssey of the Mind your goal and not the competition placements. All teams are winners because they have solved the problem to the best of their ability.

Set Team & Parent Expectations

When team members and parents understand what is expected of them, they are more likely to be successful both individually and as a team. It is helpful at the beginning of the season for the team to discuss group norms. In other words, what do the team members expect of each other? This helps the team ensure they all know what is and is not acceptable behavior.

Spend Time Team Building

Team members have to develop and learn to function as a TEAM. That's more than just working on the same problem. Respect is the key element of team building: your team members do not have to like each other but they must respect each other, their strengths and their contributions to the team. Each team member will have different styles and ways of solving problems. Some will love the brainstorming while others just want to get started.  Being enthusiastic, patient and offering positive feedback will help guide your team through problem solving situations and appreciating each others strengths. Remember that kids are people too; give them their space to have good and bad days. 

Commitment and Dedication

It was felt that you get out of something what you put into it. Commitment is a key word. The more a team is willing to commit the time and effort, the better they felt about their final product.

Diversity In Team Members

A team works well that has diverse talents—technical, art, music, writing, presentation skills. A diverse team makeup quickly fosters an appreciation for other people's skills. Everyone can feel needed and part of the group. On a truly diverse team, there is little attention paid to "who does more" or "who gets the most attention." Each member's skills are important at different times.

The Team's Own Solution

A "Good" team has to solve the problem and create the solution itself. If the coach or parents solve the problem and make the props, the team members know it is not their solution and accordingly, the win or loss will not be theirs either. A "Good" team has real pride in ITS solution and can't wait to show it off to the judges.


A "Good" team must learn not to give up if something doesn't work the first time and be willing to do things over and over until it is just right. Edison is credited with saying something like, "Genius is 1% inspiration, and 99% perspiration."

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