12 Tournament Tips for Team Managers

By: Tina Shaffer

Tournament day can be stressful for any Team Manager. However, there are a variety of ways you can prepare in advance to ensure that you and your team are ready for anything that comes your way. Check out these 12 tournament tips from some of our veteran Team Managers and volunteers.

  1. “Always remember that is a process program. Yes, we all want to advance, but the teams that move on or not will have learned important lifelong skills. A tournament lasts just a few hours—these skills will help in school, work, family relationships, friendships and more.” – Sherry Gordon-Shulik
  2. “Before the tournament, review the schedule and take note of when you need to check-in for Instant Challenge and Central Challenge (don’t confuse your awarded time slot with your check-in time). Then, use a highlighter to note any team you or your team wish to see (teams from their school, siblings/other family members, teams in a Challenge they want to do next year, etc.). Build the schedule around your team first and then flesh it out with the other teams. Do not forget to schedule a slot for lunch!” – Marie Farley
  3. “Don’t forget the “oh crap” box for fixes and encourage your team to go see as many different Challenges as possible—especially if it’s different from the one they are presenting. Some Challenges are easier to explain next year if they have a frame of reference and it helps with new ideas.” – Kate Miller Reitz
  4. “Write down your Presentation and Instant Challenge times on the back of your I.D. badge. That way you always have it close! This is especially helpful if you have more than one kiddo in DI who will be performing that day.” – Lara Turco
  5. “Ask the team if they have assigned roles for fixes, assembly, transporting materials, etc. Remember, it’s not your job as the Team Manager—it’s theirs. The more they take accountability (even at the youngest age) the more confident they will become.” – Heidi Verbiscer
  6. “Even if everything falls apart, do not interfere. Teams learn as much of not more when things don’t work out as planned and they have to pull together to try to fix it/overcome obstacles.” – Steph Bynum
  7. “Remember that you are not the ‘cruise director.’ It is not your job to entertain or look after 14 parents, 21 siblings and 28 grandparents. 🤣😆 Ask a trusted parent to help round-up the non-team members and work out the logistics of eating, downtime, etc.” – Vince Pachiano
  8. “Double-check your paperwork and make sure you are prepared for all possibilities.” – Suzy McDaniel
  9. “Bring card games or something for the kids. Our kids like having a ball or a frisbee since there’s usually an outdoor area. They are a bundle of nerves and after they perform, they may need to get out some of that energy!”  – Sasha Udengaard
  10. “Ask your parents to document the day with photos. You will be so busy and frazzled that you will have forgotten!” – Rebecca Morlen Shavlik
  11. “Take extra blank copies of paperwork and scout out your rooms ahead of time.” – Keisha Garza
  12. “Bring more snacks than you think you need.” – Jerrilynn Lilyblade

And most importantly… remember to have fun!