November 2012 - Coach Blast #6

This is our 6th blast of the season. You can catch up on our website. All Coach Blasts will be posted in the library for reference.


MN Head Official Notes...a must read!


My name is Norm Tiedemann and my role as head official is to ensure the integrity and consistency of the refereeing and judging aspects of the program. I am responsible for training and assigning the judges and referees and all the scoring and awards decisions that are made. No, I don't make all those decisions, but I have worked with and absolutely trust the people who do. I know they will do their best. 

If you have any questions about scoring, awards, judging, please talk to the head judge or referee at the tournament or talk to me. At each tournament there is a head judge, a head referee and a tournament director. The tournament director is responsible for the logistics of the tournament, but not the technical aspects, that is our job. Overall, we strive to keep our judging and officiating as transparent as possible. At the beginning of each tournament there will be a short coach's meeting with the head judge and head referee. They will explain any details, tell how many teams advance, and let you ask any last minute questions you might have.

You can review the FIRST judging rubrics. This will give you an idea of what the judges are looking for when doing their job. The sheets that are returned to your team at the tournament will show these rubrics and have comments in these categories. Giving meaningful, helpful, constructive comments is a huge job for the judges and something we continually try and improve.

There is just about 2 weeks to the first regional tournament. I hope your team is working on their research and presentation as well as their robot. Remember your research and presentation is just as important as robot performance. Your total effort is used to determine which teams advance to state. We had over 20% growth in teams this year, which means 20% more regional tournaments, and unfortunately, a slightly smaller percentage that can advance to state.

For you new coaches, don't get too worked up about the robot performance. Remember this - A perfect score is not obtainable this year. Many teams only do two or three missions when they arrive at the tournament, and may get more done that day. Competition is a great motivator. But it's not about the score, it is about the process and what they learn and if they have fun.

Make sure you take a look at all the resources on the FIRST site as well as our local site. There is no shortage of information.

We are also busy getting ready, tournament directors are preparing, schedules are being worked out, and we will be training officials (judges and referees) these next weeks. We have some of the most experienced officials, many have worked with FLL for 8+ years doing 3 or more tournaments each year. But we continually work to emphasize fairness and consistency. We show how to provide clear comments for judging, and a complete understanding of the rules for referees. We are proud of our officials and realize that they are what your children will remember most about a tournament. That's a huge responsibility and we take it very seriously. Our goals are to:

  • Have Fun - both us and the teams
  • Exhibit Gracious Professionalism
  • Be good Role models
  • Respect the kids, their work and the program
  • Evaluate teams completely and fairly
  • Provide specific and constructive feedback
  • Have Fun and Learn from the teams

Good Luck to all teams - Enjoy your time working with the kids, let their enthusiasm help you too. I look forward to seeing you at the regional tournaments.

Norm Tiedemann



Mindstorms® Programming Help

Brand new on our website....Basic NXT Programming videos and programming files from the Techno Travelers. Learn how to wall follow, line follow, debug with sound, Myblocks, loops, switch and much more. Thanks so much Techno Travelers for this great new resource for our FIRST LEGO League teams!!!



FLL Team Demo Opportunities



Regional Tournament Assignments are posted

Please check the online posting for your team's assignment. It is listed by team number. 

We will continue to post details about each Regional Tournament on the website. Please expect Tournament Directors to be in contact with you a week or so before your tournament date. These are volunteers like you, so help them out as much as you are able!  


2012 Season Sponsors

With Grant Support

Ecolab Foundation
Lockheed Martin
Pentair Foundation
Great River Energy
Xcel Energy Foundation
Thomson Reuters


2012 In-Kind Donors


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High Tech Kids

If you value our programs and have the ability to help support us, we accept donations all year round! Thank you in advance from the 3,500+ kids, 500+ coaches, 200+ volunteers and 3 part-time staff members!  
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