Coaches



Odyssey of the Mind teams typically have one or two coaches.  The coaches are volunteers who agree to work with a team of students.  The maximum number of students per team is seven.  Coaches can also be grandparents, aunts and uncles, teachers, support staff, etc.

Coaches ultimately are in charge of when and where the teams will meet.  Coaches typically set the meeting schedule in advance.  For example, Monday immediately after school for 90 minutes, and then on Thursday from 6:30 to 8:00.

Coaches attend a training session.  In addition, coaches can meet with other coaches and the district coordinator to discuss ways to best work with their teams.

Only the team members may work to solve the long term problem.  Coaches assist with time management, learning how to do general skills (such as sewing, painting, cutting, blocking, projecting when speaking, etc.), but do not design, build or present the long term problem.  All outside assistance must be reported by the team on the "Outside Assistance Form".

Coaches act as facilitators, but they are not allowed to suggest how a team should solve a problem.  They may pose thought-provoking questions, but they should never hint at a solution.  If the team asks for an opinion, the coach should respond, "You decide."  Unless a situation is deemed potentially dangerous, always let the team make the final decisions when developing a solution.

At competition, others are allowed to help the team transport props and other problem materials into the Check-In and Staging Areas. However, others may not help the team assemble backdrops or anything else, or apply makeup, fix costumes, etc. If they do, the team will receive an Outside Assistance penalty. Outside Assistance penalties are based on the judges’ observations and/or the team’s statements, not on hearsay from others.

Once the team begins working on its long-term problem solution, if a team member leaves the team for any reason, that person may not be taken off the roster, since he/she contributed to the problem. If a team member is replaced, and it takes the team over the seven member limit, the team will receive an Outside Assistance penalty.

Parents and other supporters may act as tutors or instructors, but they must not make suggestions on how to solve the problem. For example, a parent may teach the members how to sew if they ask, but cannot suggest that they sew and/or design a costume for the team’s solution.  (2017 Program Guide, pp. 46-47)

Coaches work with the team to improve their teamwork, problem solving skills, time management, and more.  Coaches help students to develop these skills, and challenge the team members with spontaneous problems.  It is very useful for the coach to read the the full problem statements, and to be able to clarify, without adding any ideas or details, the problem statements.

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