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November 2008

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Subject:
From:
Frank Fenneran <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Frank Fenneran <[log in to unmask]>
Date:
Mon, 24 Nov 2008 05:28:29 -0500
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I've been following this conversation with great interest.  I am a
first-year coach, but have been familiar with FLL for a couple of years
now.

On the one hand, I understand the goal and ideal of wanting the kids to
feel proud of thier work, no matter their ranking at the tournament.  I
also understand that the three interview scores are a mix of objecive
(based on the rubriks) and subjective (based on how the judges liked the
presentation) and that makes "scoring" a bit difficult, especially with
the idea that one team would not win more than one category.

That being said, this is a competition.  If it weren't, we would not have
awards for the best <fill in the blank> for the day. (IE: best teamwork,
best technical, etc).  At the end of the day, each team does, in fact,
have a "score" for each element of the day.  While two or more teams may
score the same, for example, in the objective aspects of the research
presentation, the judges end up scoring them differently from a subjective
point of view to be able to pick an ultimate winner.

In my opinion, it would be helpful to know where my team ranked in the
pile.  If we did not win the teamwork award, were we second best?  Were we
in the middle of the pack?  We we dead last?  That helps us to evaluate
our performance in light of both the objective goals (which we should know
if we met or not) and the subjective presentation to the judging team.

If we are dead last, sure, the kids will feel a little bad, but then its
our job as coaches to turn those feelings into a motivation to learn from
what we did and get better.

It just seems to me that treating it as both a competition, but
sort-of-kind-of-not-really a competition by not revealing how they did
compared to the rest of the day's teams sends a mixed message.  My gut
tells me this is why this comes up as a topic of discussion each year.

Respectfully,
-Frank

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