10 Tournament Tips for First-Time Team Managers

By: Tina Shaffer

Tournament day can be stressful for any Team Manager. However, it can be especially stressful for a first-time Team Manager who isn’t sure what to expect. Check out 10 tips from some of our veteran Team Managers and volunteers on ways to prepare for your team’s big tournament day.

  1. “It’s not your Challenge, it is their Challenge. Just showing up and letting them present their solution is your goal. Oh, and you are not the “cruise director.” Do not feel like you are responsible for entertaining all the Team Parents and their other children.” – Vince P.
  2. “Go see other teams and Challenges throughout the tournament day.” – Donna S.
  3. “Bring a box of emergency fix it things – also Advil!” – Kelly M.
  4. “Read the Rules of the Road. Yes, they’re lengthy. Get over it. Read them.” – Michael J.
  5. “Do an activity to help the kiddos calm down before Instant Challenge or their Team Challenge.” – Angelina B.
  6. “It’s about the process. Competition is one day but the learning and growing happened together throughout the year. Congrats on supporting your kiddos!” – Yvette L.
  7. “Be sure that all the paperwork is in order before arriving at the tournament. Bring extra copies of the paperwork if necessary. Also, filling out the paperwork will help the team organize their materials (Expense Report), review aspects of their Challenge they may have overlooked (Challenge-specific paperwork), and commit themselves to fair and sportsmanlike conduct (Declaration of Independence).” – Marie F.
  8. “Let parents know your schedule for the day—the whole day, including where they need to be and where they don’t need to be!! (Hint hint!) I really like to have tournament days be an all-day team day. Parents drop them off with me, and they are free for the rest of the day and we will see them at the Challenge and then the awards ceremony. I encourage them to watch our competition as well as other Challenges and even take time for themselves to go out for lunch! Another tip is to be the holder of all money, especially for elementary school kids. Ask the parents how they want the money spent (like max limits on trinkets) and then be in charge of that. Don’t forget money for lunch!” – Rebecca L.
  9. “Keep the kids excited but calm! Remind them to enjoy the day but to stay focused when they need to. Keep telling them how proud you are and that no matter what they have practiced so many times…they can do this…just like at home/school. Now they get to show everyone else what they can do, so shine on.” – Caroline E.
  10. “When Appraisers are talking to your team in the Prep Area, stand back and let the kids own the conversation. They’ve got this! Likewise, when you go to pick up scores, go with one team representative—and make sure the Head Appraiser is giving the scores back to that team member, not you. All of that helps give your team the full sense of ownership! (Also, go celebrate with some adults afterward, perhaps over a glass of wine — you deserve it!) – Ryan H.