Picking Team Members
How do you pick team members?
The following article takes ideas and discussions shared from the Facebook Group FLL: Share & Learn .
Host “trial day(s)” where potential recruits meet the team, do some training (covering programming/building, the project and teamwork), and generally get a feel for what they’re getting involved in. This last part helps the coaches and children get an understanding for what type of work they may have to do during the season.
The most important criteria is that the student be willing to work hard and be committed to the team for the season. , Have parents and children sign a contract saying they understand the time, behavioral, and financial expectations of being on the team. Setting these expectations before the season starts helps reduce future misunderstandings.
Things to go over with parents and students:
- Schedule - The schedule for the year (which is tentative because we won’t know tournament dates at that time), our meeting times, the importance of honoring those times
- Commitment families make for the season - Meetings, homework, field trips, tournaments, regular attendance, priority over other extracurricular activities, etc.
- All aspects of FIRST LEGO League: starting with Core Values, moving to the Project and finally talking about Robot Design and Robot Game. Emphasize that FLL is about all of these aspects.
- Homework: What types of homework and the probable time requirements.
- Expectations: We talk about what’s expected of each student and their parents
- Coach Goals for the team - Teaching the kids to think like engineers, teaching them skills in problem solving, teaching them the importance of and how to function as a team. FIRST LEGO League is simply the program that gives us the structure to make that happen.
- Setting team goals - this happens once all the students are selected.
- Several reminders are provided: FIRST LEGO League is not a LEGO building club, it is 100% volunteer driven and they are doing their best, kids will be doing the work, it’s not a baby-sitting/afterschool service, etc
- The team may win a win (or may not). If they do, the team gets one trophy to share.
- Financial obligations for each team member
- Consequences of not following team rules.
Here is one coach’s recommendation that could serve as a good discussion outline 1) It’s not what you think; not just the robot game and not just playing with LEGO bricks. 2) It’s harder than you think; the kids will work hard, not just play with LEGO 3) It takes more time than you think; there will be homework, field trips and extra meetings. 4) It costs money; …
Prior to the season starting, run a “spring training camp”. Each meeting is split into thirds, focusing on all three judging areas equally, which sends a message that we are not just about playing with LEGO bricks. Former coaches as well as last year’s team members should out and act as eyes and ears to help to notice who is ready to join and who is not. At the end of the last meeting, invite parents to a meeting to answer questions and spell out the commitment and the philosophy of the team.
Recommendations from existing team members:
Recommendations from the existing members are very important. It is good for them to learn the difference between choosing someone just because they are a friend, and choosing someone who fills a need in the team and would help make the team more effective.
Tryouts every year:
Every year, everybody tries out again. This makes sure that every team member is still qualified for the team as interests change. Tryouts include seeing how each member performs in doing research, a team work activity and working on the robot.
All inclusive teams:
100% inclusive. If you are interested, come join! Inclusive teams show the highest growth in Gracious Professionalism and in innovation because everyone brings a unique angle of thought to the table.