Coaching Dos & Don’ts


Do teach your students the creative problem-solving process and use it throughout the problem solution.

Do help students to understand that winning is not the goal. The process of getting there is the important thing-not the competition.

Do help students to see and recognize the abilities of each team member and encourage team members to capitalize on the individual strengths of ALL.

Do encourage growth through each new experience.

Do help them get organized and notice the importune of keeping a schedule and meeting deadlines.

Do help them expand their minds, dig deeper, and come up with more creative ideas.

Do work with teams on the spontaneous problem part of the program. Do try always to answer a question with a question.

Do help them give and take constructive criticism of IDEAS but avoid insulting and insensitive personal remarks.

Do be willing to admit you don’t know everything and encourage your team to get help from others.

Do help them to learn how to evaluate their ideas and progress continually throughout each aspect of the problem solution.

Do go over the score results with the team after a competition to help it improve in the future

Do set a good example of adult behavior and by all means be a good role model for your team and others.

Do let your team members know you are human. Do be a quiet “guide on the side” or the “sage on the stage.”


Don’t tell them how to solve the problem, but rather ask questions that help them think it through.

Don’t allow any criticism of teammates’ personalities or physical attributes—no cutting remarks.

Don’t step in on their disagreements. Let them work it out as part of learning to work on a team.

Don’t limit creativity by setting restrictions that are too tight or which reflect your own, perhaps limited, vision.

Don’t get disturbed when teams make mistakes along the way. This part of the learning process.

Don’t allow students to be irresponsible. Help them realize this hinders the entire team.

Don’t make them feel like they have failed if they don’t win. Failing is only when they won’t try again.

Don’t complain about other teams, coaches or judges.

Don’t allow teams to prepare a problem solution which knowingly goes against the Spirit of the Problem or any of the limitations given in the problem itself. READ, READ AND REREAD THE PROBLEM AND THEN READ SOME MORE.

Don’t dispute a judge’s ruling without explaining why to the students. Always be sure your dispute is valid and the team wishes to carry it further.

Don’t get uptight. Remember that the members are the ones who have to know everything or find out. You are the coach and are not supposed to produce the problem solution.

DO relax and enjoy seeing these young, creative minds at work!