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John,

Great comments!  I think everyone needs to remember to relax and have
fun.  

Of course winning is great and the kids love to win however, as coaches
I think it is our responsibility to teach the kids to focus on more than
just winning.  Many teams get hung up on the board scores, which as you
all know is only 25% of a teams score.  Though my girls are quick to
tally up their score and see their ranking, I also ask them to reflect
on each and every aspect of the competition after each judging session.
What went well, what didn't go so well.  What would you change in the
future.  We also try to focus on personal bests.  High five a teammate
who got all their lines correct in the presentation, or a robot score
that may only be 95 points, but is the most you've ever gotten.
Celebrate the little successes along the way, don't just focus on the
big one at the end.

I think the most valuable part of FLL is what the children learn along
the way.  What their interests are, their strengths, their weeaknesses,
how to work well with others, how to encourage a team member who is
getting discouraged, how to remain poised when you've just forgotten the
most important line in the presentation, how to band together when
several of your team members are sick and can't make the competition
etc. etc. etc.  

As many have said before, it's the journey not the destination!

Martha Cosgrove
Coach
The Capital Girls


Martha Cosgrove
3 GT
Oak Hill Elementary School

-----Original Message-----
From: First Lego League Discussion
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of John Sammons
Sent: Saturday, November 22, 2008 8:25 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: [VADCFLL-L] Have Fun!

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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