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We believe that too many teams and coaches go into the season looking for 
the highest and the best as compared to everyone else. This often leads to 
disappointment and discouragement for the children in the end. We recognize 
our limitations as a new team every year, since we recruit new fifth 
graders that then move on to another school. This allows more children to 
participate and keeps up the level of excitement we often experience with a 
first year team. 

One approach that seems to work is to have the team do THEIR best in ALL 
areas of FLL and not just the table.  By focusing on what we can do BEST 
and doing it well each time leads to smiles all around and not worrying 
about being perfect or getting a perfect score. We don't make excuses for 
being new, but we do what WE can do best.

Have fun! At the tournament, don't get pulled into looking at the robot 
scores that are posted after each round. Teach this to your parents, too. 
Celebrate what the team accomplishes with each round at the table, 
presentation to the judges, and being together as a team. Have fun! 
Remember to let the kids do the work while offering the right amount of 
encouragement and advice. Show your GP by being a good and coach. By the 
way, have fun!

If this was a football game, and all of your attention and effort went into 
one player like the quarterback or in FLL, the robot, would you have a good 
team? Think about playing in rec league when everyone gets to play and 
enjoy the game. Team members have a great time, try not to worry about the 
score, and look forward to what snacks they were going to have when the 
game is over. What "snacks" will you bring with you to the tournament? How 
about a thank-you card with a picture of the team that you give to all of 
the team members before the awards that lets them focus on why they are 
really there? How about a button or hat that they proudly wear home? At the 
state tournament, each team member gets a medal to wear around his neck. 
How about a smile or a high-five that lets the team know they have done 
THEIR best?

Share your "snack" ideas. We'd like to hear them.

John C. Sammons
Technology Integration Specialist
Greenbrier Intermediate School
1701 River Birch Run North
Chesapeake, VA 23320
(757) 578-7080


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