Start A Team - Coaches, Read This FIRST!
Thank you for volunteering your time and talent to coach. With your guidance, the children on your team are going to inspire you, and those around you, in surprising ways. If you have no technical background, don’t be nervous. Let your team do the work. You only need to ask the questions and watch them… GO!
If you’re a new coach, we know this can seem overwhelming. But don’t worry. One of the amazing things about participating in FLL is that you’re now a part of our global community. Your team is one of over 15,000 teams in over 50 countries! If you need some advice, feel free to contact the Operational Partner in your area to get connected to a veteran coach. (More on Operational Partners later.)
FLL is more of a celebration than a “competition”. Coaches help other coaches. Teams help other teams. We want everyone who participates – team member, coach, or event volunteer – to have a fulfilling experience. That’s the reason we built FLL upon a set of Core Values.
What do I do FIRST?
You need to recruit at least two team members, although we recommend at least three for a true team experience, who are between ages 9 and 16 prior to the opening of registration. Once registration is open, visit your country’s website to register your team. If your country does not have a website, feel free to contact the Operational Partner closest to you about getting started. Keep in mind that children can only be on one team, but a coach is allowed to coach multiple teams. You will need a meeting space that has room to set up the 4x8 playing field, and a computer with internet access.
The Field Setup Kit is the playing field for the Robot Game. As soon as you receive it, you can begin putting it together with your team, which is a great “team building” exercise, but you won’t know what the actual game is until the Challenge is released on September 3rd. To even the playing field, so to speak, all teams around the world are granted access to the Challenge at the same time. Some Operational Partners host events to celebrate the release of the Challenge in their regions. Visit your country’s website for more information.
TIP: Having trouble finding the instructions to build the Field Setup Kit? They’re contained on the CD that comes with it!
You also won’t find out what the Project is until the Challenge is released on September 3rd. But what do you know? You know what the theme for the upcoming Challenge is! You can begin researching that theme with your team, so they are ready to program their Robot and design their Project Presentation once the Challenge is released.
Show us how you’re preparing for the Challenge on our YouTube Channel.
Follow us on Twitter to get behind-the-scenes info as we develop our next Challenge.
Read about our team experiences on our blog .
LOCAL EVENTS AND OFFICIAL TOURNAMENTS
If your team chooses to participate in a local event or official tournament, you’ll only have until that event to complete both parts of the Challenge (Robot Game and Project). Your team will feel a time crunch just like in the real world! Events are great opportunities for teams to interact with and learn from each other, whether it’s the first year a team has participated or the third.
Local events follow their own structure. At officially-sanctioned FLL tournaments, teams are judged on their Project Presentation, Teamwork, and Robot Design, which is the strategy they used in programming their Robot. Teams will also compete in three rounds of the Robot Game, plus one practice round. Only their best score that day counts! Teams have the opportunity to win awards in each of these categories, but the FLL Core Values remain the focus. “What we discover is more important than what we win.”
What do I do once the Challenge is released on September 3rd?
Your team needs to carefully read all the documents that pertain to the Robot Game and Project. They are only available on our website! To get a sense of what these look like, you can see past Challenge documents here. You will need to download one document which explains the Project, plus some optional resources, but the Robot Game has a few required components:
The Missions and Rules are what your team needs to begin strategizing how to play the Robot Game. The Game Rulings are updated continually throughout the season to clarify questions we’ve received from other teams. It is important that you keep up with these rulings as they could affect how your team programs their robot.
TIP: Make one member of your team responsible for checking the Game Rulings and have him/her check the page at the beginning of every meeting.
What can I do with my team before the Challenge is released?
Create a team identity – name, logo, team shirts, mascot
Fundraise or apply for grants – to pay for team shirts, any tournament fees, registration fee, etc.
Learn how to use the MINDSTORMS Robot Set and software
Put together the Field Setup Kit
Begin researching the Challenge theme
Learn the FLL Core Values
Host a Jr.FLL event or mentor a Jr.FLL Team
Learn about the FTC and FRC programs for high school students
Help promote FLL and the FIRST mission
Follow @firstlegoleague on Twitter to get behind-the-scenes info and tips
Post videos of your team experience to our YouTube Channel
Read about other team experiences that our official correspondents are reporting on our blog
HAVE FUN! (Well, you can have fun AFTER the Challenge is released too.)
How do I explain what I’m doing to others?
Here’s some things that are unique about FLL:
Anyone can coach. We really mean it! There’s no technical background needed.
Yearly Challenges are based on “real world” scientific topics like Nanotechnology, energy, transportation, and accessibility. Teams are actually tackling the same issues as today’s scientists and engineers!
Sure, children develop technical skills as a result of participating in FLL. But they also develop those important life and employment skills that will benefit them no matter which career path they choose. Brandeis University studies have shown that children who participate in FLL learn critical thinking, time management, collaboration, and how to communicate effectively, all while becoming more self confident.
Many children become interested in a career path related to one of the Challenge themes, in addition to sparking their interest in becoming the next generation of scientists and engineers. Teams also raise funds (Development), create a team name and identity (Marketing), and promote their activities (Advertising).
Teams can choose to participate in official tournaments, which are organized by our amazing volunteer network of Operational Partners around the globe, or in local events, which are organized by their community. These events are celebrations of their accomplishments, both technically and personally.
Team activities are guided by a set of Core Values including: “We do the work to find the solutions with guidance from our Coaches and Mentors.”
Have more questions about coaching an FLL team?
Visit your country's website.
Operational Partners are amazing people who VOLUNTEER to run the FLL program in a specific region. Please contact your Operational Partner with any questions pertaining to official Tournaments and to be connected to a veteran coach. And please thank your Operational Partner for all they do!
||Check your country website|
||Check your country website|