Time is Running Out

The following discussion is quoted from the Facebook Group FLL: Share & Learn .

There is so much to do and a tournament approaching…

There is only one week till the competition and the kids seem to not be getting anything done. They are playing and not taking anything seriously. What do you do? This is more common than you might think and many coaches have felt the frustration of their team not understanding the urgency of getting it all done. Time for the coach to take a deep breath and evaluate the teams’ goals vs. your own. Read the comments below from dozens of experienced coaches.

Photo Credit: EV3Lessons (FLL Kickoff in Pittsburgh, PA)

Response by Chris Mullis

Take a deep breath, you’ll be surprised what they have learned when you go to tournament.

Response by Evonne Reynolds

Do you know what their goal is? Do they just want to have fun even if they don’t score well? Or do they care about the score? If they care about the scores then ask them what they think they need to get done in the next week to accomplish that score. Likely you’ll have to keep reminding them to stay in task but hopefully they’ll step up and at least try.

Response by Asha Seshan

Don’t cry. It’s the kids’ contest…if they don’t care or don’t want to work on it, that is up to them. If they want to reach a particular goal, great. If they have a different goal from you/Coach, that is fine too. Remind them of their goal and the timeline and let them decide what they want to get done.

Response by Jumi Kalita

I could cry with you!!😏😩 I am facing exactly the same situation. So many times, I feel like taking over their project and doing it myself!! But I know that would defeat the purpose!!

Response by Catherine Sarisky

I think many of us share your frustration. After winning their qualifier, my team was all like “we are going to work really hard for state”. We wrote some goals. Then nothing.

Sometimes, we just have to admit that it’s their competition, and they get to decide how to do it. As coaches, more than that risks messing up the fun, and not having a team next year.

But I’m totally building a 300+ point robot in two weeks when their season is over.

Karine Voinot Josien

I had one year like that after we split the existing team into FLL and FTC. The kids remaining in FLL did not realize how much the older ones had been doing while they were goofing off the previous years. By the time they got it, it was too late. But this was a learning experience for them and they stepped up the following year and brought home a trophy from state.

Response by Lisa Stocke-Koop

Once you know what the kid’s goals are, it helps to put up a “to finish” board. Not to do, to finish! Have them help you write it! Then they know what needs to be completed before the competition. Sometimes they really do think they are on track because they do not grasp what is needed. Hope this helps!

Response by Karla Stevens

It’s the kids deal - if they don’t step up, it is okay. Remember they are busy - this isn’t the only thing they have going on. And so they may be more interested in just having fun. They will have still gotten something out of it. If at the tournament they are serious, have them use the in between time to get ready for each thing - practice for the project just before they go in, go over core values just before they go in, etc. If not, it is what it is.

Response by Alvina McBride

I had that moment today. But I had to buckle down. We conquered the easiest task first. Lol, I feel your frustration.

Response by Mark G Pond

A wise man told me that first year teams are never ready. I’ve been at this for a while and agree.

Response by Jeannette Neerpat

I feel your pain for some reason this year I feel behind and unprepared.. we pretty much have project just need a skit and finish out board.. robot on the other hand has not been consistent and our competition is in two and a half weeks

Response by Michelle Wood Estrada

Let them go to tournament. They will totally get it…. for next year.

Response by Michael Graffin

At least, I hope, they haven’t dropped the robot two days before the comp. It is essential that the team attends their tournament - those that learn the lessons from the season are those you’ll want back next year. Robot consistency drove us nuts these first two years. Good luck