banner I have been a Lego League coach since 2007. This year, I wanted to document the season to give rookie coaches a resource to help them through to competition. The process can be intense, but it can also be a lot of fun for you and your team.

I hope to cover enough through my posts, but if I leave anything out, please feel free to leave a comment, or contact me.

Fostering Teamwork

Author: fllCoach | Files under Teamwork

Fostering teamwork is a tricky thing. With 6-10 personalities that don’t yet know tact, conflicts inevitably arise. I’ve been fortunate that since my second year of coaching, my teams only had one big conflict. I think that has a lot to with the fact that all those teams were all girls teams.

My first year, however, was a team of six 4th grade boys. That was a difficult year not only because of personalities but also because my oldest was a 2nd grade girl, so I had no idea how to handle older boys with boundless energy.

When I got my own team again in year 3 (I was an assistant that didn’t do much in year 2), I decided mid-way through the season that the girls would benefit from some social time. They all got along, but I thought they might like some time to just be kids with each other. At the end of one of our Sunday afternoon meetings, we ordered pizza so the girls could eat together. It worked out really well. So well that we decided to do it again the next week. The tradition continued to the end of the season and the girls won a teamwork award that year. We’ve been doing team dinners once a week with all my teams ever since.

The great thing about the dinners is that my wife organizes them and lets the girls choose what to have the following week. It’s fun to see them deliberate. I think that also helps their teamwork. Their favorite is dumplings and fried rice (I’m Chinese and my Caucasian wife has done a great job learning how to cook Chinese dishes). The first year, we paid for the dinners, but now we get $3 contributions from each team member to offset costs.

I have found that just like in the adult working world, teams can benefit from activities outside of their “work” environment. Give your kids time to just be kids with each other and they will become better friends and better teammates. They may even form lifelong friendships. Three of my girls who kind of knew each other when they joined my first all girls team are now BFFs and pretty much inseparable.

Interestingly enough, my teams that have won teamwork awards have been in the running for state champs. The FIRST organization highly values what they call Core Values and it reflects in the judging.

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