Great information provided by Skip below and to provide another perspective why often is better to just start your own team:

1.      One of my team member has said that being a new kid on a seasoned team was hard.  He often felt lost and can’t keep up or understand what’s going.  The FLL season is short about less than 3 months and for school teams that’s even shorter.  So it’s best for teams to start learning together.

2.      As a coach, last year I had couple new members, it was a bit more challenging to keep new and old members on the same page.  You don’t want to bore the old members while you have to teach the new members.  So I had to spend more time to come up with instructions to fit the members.

3.      Team dynamic and chemistry also is very important.  Not every kid will get along with everyone.  With all that said I can see why some teams would be reluctant just accept new members.

To start a new team does take a lot of work and resources, but don’t let that stop you.  I really enjoyed the time with my daughters while coaching the team and they really enjoyed the experience.  Below is a little more info/yips on forming a new team.

It would cost about $1000 to start a new team (robot, registration fees, and maybe build a table).  You could look for sponsorships and grants to help with the cost or if start a team with your child’s school you would often receive financial support from the school.    There are other ways to raise funds.

A place to meet and have at least a computer to do the programming.  It’s best to have a permanent to meet so you don’t have to setup and tear down every time you meet.

As far as time commitment – that’s up to you and your team, but that might be the biggest factor deterring someone to coach.   I’ve coached for 2 years now and our first year we met 3-4 time per week.  This past season we met twice a week and you will feel you never have enough time because there’s always more things they can do.  Anyways, above are just some of my experiences and observations; I’m sure others would have more tips and different experiences.

David Yang

From: First Lego League in Virginia and DC <[log in to unmask]> On Behalf Of Skip Morrow
Sent: Thursday, March 14, 2019 9:08 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: [VADCFLL-L] How to find an FLL team for your child

Every year we see many posts here from parents desperately looking for a team that their son/daughter can join. This email will hopefully give you some ideas.

1. The first place to look is at the school at which your child attends. Many schools have teams, but not all. Some schools have EV3's and will say they have "a robotics team", but they aren't competing in FLL. It might be an after-school club or something like that. Be sure to ask if the team competes at FLL tournaments.

2. Some churches and community organizations have FLL teams. These can be a little harder to find because you pretty much have to just know about the team. Although I have seen some public libraries forming teams, which is really cool.

If 1 & 2 don't work out, perhaps work with the school, church, organization, public library, etc, and see about forming a team there. Don't be surprised if they ask you to help coach!

3. There are some "neighborhood" teams which may be associated with a business. Generally there is a fee associated with joining the team in those cases. These seem to be getting quite rare.

4. If none of the first three options work, there's ALWAYS the option of starting your own team. Some teams work out of their garage, or maybe a basement or in that little-used dining room. This is a lot of work, but it is very rewarding and, in my opinion, very much worth the effort. There are often grants available for new teams, which can make it financially a lot easier. By starting a team of your own, you may be able to open it up to other kids in your area that are also looking for a team to join. You can work with those parents and see if they can help you with the coaching.

Please don't think that "you can't do it" or stress over the fact that you may not have ever done anything like that. Or maybe you don't think you know enough about robotics. We were all first year coaches at one point. When I was a rookie coach, I wasn't smart enough to ask the community for help. Many of you that come to this listserv looking for teams are already ahead of where I was in my first year. Trust me, you can do it. The very nature of FLL will ensure you will have no shortage of help from this virtual community, and from other teams. Please, if you can't find an existing team to join, I strongly encourage you to form a team of your own. The FLL experience is too valuable to pass up simply because you couldn't find a team.

Please post questions about forming teams here on the listserv. I'm not kidding when I say there are teams that would EAGERLY offer help with getting a new team up to speed.

Have fun, and good luck.

Skip Morrow
FLL Coach, Norfolk Collegiate

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