Leading the team?

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anmlee
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Leading the team?

Post by anmlee » December 6th, 2011, 10:43 pm

Just out of curiosity (partially because this is my second year of leading my school's team) I was wondering how other schools train their team? My school is preferably new to this organization (our team was created last year), and I'm just trying to get some advice from the veterans ^^

I started an after school meeting session where my members come together to study, but I feel like it's not as effective as it should be :1 Any suggestions?
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Re: Leading the team?

Post by Mimsie » December 6th, 2011, 11:42 pm

As someone who has been competing for 5 years and started a team in division C, here is what I suggest.

1. Make sure you have lots of back-up competitors
2. Attend invitationals if at all possible.
3. FUND RAISE FUND RAISE FUND RAISE!!!

As for practices, it is the quality of your team members that determines how well you guys do. You can nag and nag and nag but they will NOT do what they are told unless they actually want to do it. Try to be as fair as you can in event selections. Make sure the team gets to know each other. Olympiad teams always end up like family to me. As a result, I work much better with my partners.

Make sure you have an authority figure other than yourself at the meetings. Often, the sense of familiarity with your teammates make them not listen to you as much because you're just a friend, not necessarily their leader (this view has to be earned!). So have a teacher (Your coach/sponsor) stick around. If you must, write up agendas for meetings and hand it to the coach and have them present it.

As for earning people's respect, sometimes people are young and immature and don't really act appropriately. As far as I know, either you're naturally very popular and charismatic, or you're like me (which is not what I just said up there). Since I'm not a very social person, I earned respect and established myself as a student leader by doing EVERYTHING possible to keep the Olympiad running smoothly (Running event selections, printing out schedules for people, checking on people every once in a while).

Good luck! It's always really nice to see a new team pop up :]
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Re: Leading the team?

Post by EastStroudsburg13 » December 7th, 2011, 6:55 am

I'd suggest many of the same things, but I do have one comment...
Mimsie wrote:1. Make sure you have lots of back-up competitors
If you don't have a large team, this point is moot. This is really the first year our team has more than one full team. Sometimes you can't help it if your team is small.

Everything else is valid though. The way I'm leading is just by doing everything possible that I can, whether with organization or events. Hopefully, your team might look at this as motivation and work harder. If not, food is always a good motivator. ;)
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Re: Leading the team?

Post by Skink » December 7th, 2011, 8:42 am

Since your team is a season old, you may have a few "experts" who can start teaching the underclassmen the events that don't fall out of rotation/are still around and work to have that sort of system going. It's a tough road until you do. I don't know how diligent your members are, but you may want to not focus on 23 this go-round and start with a more manageable chunk. Do well in a few over disastrously in most or all.
EASTstroudsburg13 wrote:If not, food is always a good motivator. ;)
Don't underestimate this. If the district doesn't allocate a certain amount of funds to activities (or if you don't spend all of said money on devices and books), you could do pizza occasionally. Otherwise, take the fundraiser idea and take a fractional amount of the profit and treat the team to some pizza. Nobody can resist free food.

Use your network. If there's people you know in SO at nearby teams, connect with them. If you don't have a network, it helps to make one sometime. This site helps, but there's only so much some reptile in Illinois can do for you.
Model the level of work you want the rest of the team to put in. Setting goals and actually planning on accomplishing something weekly in the events you do attempt to compete (and do well in) is important, as well. It's really easy to waste time socializing at weekly meetings. If that weekly meeting is the only study time you have for events, I'd suggest expanding on that. Meet more days after school for certain groups of events, or leave it to each event to figure out how they'll do it. SO is a time commitment, and the only way to do well is to actually put that time in. I know a number of teams who don't, and you don't see them past Regionals for that reason.

Don't forget about your coach(es)! They're a resource and can probably provide leadership advice and academic advice in their area. Don't expect the physics teacher to be good at A&P.

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Re: Leading the team?

Post by anmlee » December 8th, 2011, 3:35 pm

Thank you all for the really informative advices :D
Mimsie wrote:1. Make sure you have lots of back-up competitors
2. Attend invitationals if at all possible.
3. FUND RAISE FUND RAISE FUND RAISE!!!
I'm not sure if 3 substitutes would count as a lot of backup, but thanks to last year, I found the importance of having people just in case a member drops out ^^. I think the hardest problem for me, is letting these substitutes "feel" part of the team. Many of their mentalities is that "Oh. I'm not an actual member so I don't have to work as hard..." I try hard to encourage them, but I sometimes feel like I can't do as much for them (T.T)

I would absolutely love to attend invitationals, but I recently found that California has never hosted one (exception being one Division B tournament this year). So I was thinking maybe holding a mock competition for just my team, but I really have no idea how to create one ;__; If anyone did one before, I wouldn't mind some advice on that as well x]

I couldn't fund raise much this year, but I mostly asked for donations from the members' family members or local companies. I think that worked pretty good, but I can also see that we're probably going to have to fund raise soon. My goal was about 1K this year, and I believe we only got around $500 so far x.x
EASTstroudsburg13 wrote: If not, food is always a good motivator. ;)
This honestly made me laugh, and I think I will actually try this out. I'm part of my local Red Cross and we always have pizzas at our meetings, so this might work :D
Skink wrote:If there's people you know in SO at nearby teams, connect with them. If you don't have a network, it helps to make one sometime.
This actually gave me a great idea! Thanks for suggesting it :3

Thank you everyone once again ٩(•̮̮̃-̃)۶
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Re: Leading the team?

Post by haverstall » December 8th, 2011, 3:57 pm

anmlee wrote:. So I was thinking maybe holding a mock competition for just my team, but I really have no idea how to create one ;__; If anyone did one before, I wouldn't mind some advice on that as well x]
I actually organized two mock meets last year, one before state, and one before nationals. The most important part of the mock meets are making sure EVERYONE can attend. Don't do it if only half your varsity shows up.

Basically, I created a spreadsheet on GDocs and asked people to fill in the times when they were available on a specific day in 1 hour increments. Using that data, we created an actual schedule for study events and most lab events. Then, we usually used tests from the Test Exchange, or from other sources, such as the previous years' Nationals tests.

I would caution you though, on making sure everything goes perfectly. It really doesn't. There were be those team members who just want to screw around, or other people who just don't show up on time. You're going to have to learn to roll with it, because trying to hold a perfect mock meet is basically impossible. Expect delays and schedule problems. Also, don't expect all the lab events to go smoothly. Very often, you're missing that one important material that no one brought, so you can't run the event. (AHEM TPS)

Honestly, for us, mock meets are just a way to keep us on task and ready for the actual competition. It definitely helps the team with the mindset that "Oh crap, State is next week, and I'm not prepared." :D

Hope this helps!
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Re: Leading the team?

Post by Kokonilly » December 8th, 2011, 4:39 pm

Mimsie wrote:Make sure you have an authority figure other than yourself at the meetings. Often, the sense of familiarity with your teammates make them not listen to you as much because you're just a friend, not necessarily their leader (this view has to be earned!). So have a teacher (Your coach/sponsor) stick around. If you must, write up agendas for meetings and hand it to the coach and have them present it.
I don't think this is necessarily true; I run meetings and people generally listen to me. It also helps if you prove yourself to be knowledgeable about the administration of Science Olympiad and each of the events, because people go to the team leader for event questions if you don't have event leaders set up. If you don't waste time or look ignorant and are willing to chastise them, people will respect you when they see that you are the authority. The coach is not really a major authority figure on our team - the students are the ones in power. And I think it works.
anmlee wrote:
Mimsie wrote:1. Make sure you have lots of back-up competitors
2. Attend invitationals if at all possible.
3. FUND RAISE FUND RAISE FUND RAISE!!!
I'm not sure if 3 substitutes would count as a lot of backup, but thanks to last year, I found the importance of having people just in case a member drops out ^^. I think the hardest problem for me, is letting these substitutes "feel" part of the team. Many of their mentalities is that "Oh. I'm not an actual member so I don't have to work as hard..." I try hard to encourage them, but I sometimes feel like I can't do as much for them (T.T)
That's also our problem, so I believe we are cutting back on the number of teams for future tournaments. We want everyone to be able to compete at one point, though.

Besides that, I think what everyone else has said is pretty good, though I would add that communication is key. Facebook group, email lists, texting - everyone needs to be in the loop. Encourage questions. You can be demanding if you're also helpful.

It's my first year of leading, but I've seen some masters at work over the years and picked up a few things here and there. ;) Good luck!

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