Beyond the


Coaches, You’ve Got This!



An Odyssey of the Mind team practicing spontaneous

As the season progresses, coaches may wonder if their team is in the right place to be prepared for tournament competition. While there is no right answer to this question, we would like to offer some guidelines as to what teams and coaches can focus on at this point in the journey.

Teams Right NOW

This is a time when teams are finding their creative journey. Teams are…

1) Brainstorming for a theme

2) Breaking down the parts of the problem & developing ideas

3) Finding areas each of the team members want to work on

4) Building teamwork through Spontaneous practice problems.

Have fun with it!

Coaches Right NOW

Coaches should be very familiar with the problem that the team is working on for the season.

Read the problem and make sure you have a basic understanding of:

  • Section A (Creative Emphasis and Spirit of the Problem)
  • Section B (Limitations)
  • Section D (Scoring)
  • Section F (Style)

Start paying attention to team dynamics and come up with ways you can encourage teamwork, nurture individual strengths and pull ideas from your shyest team members. 

If you see your team getting off course you can ask a probing question. Open-ended questions are the best tool in the Coach Toolbox. Leading questions you can ask

1) Does anyone remember the creative emphasis of the problem?

2) Would you like to review the character and see if the team’s idea meets the required guidelines?

3) What will be scored?

Every team will work in its own way and at its own pace. You can teach calendering and checklist skills, and the team can schedule goals and benchmarks for the season. You can ask leading questions about where they think they should be or what they might review. And always remember, kids will surprise you! Enjoy the adventure!