Recruiting Teams and Coaches

A. First information out:

In back to school packet, or on the first week of school, to all children in the school:

  1. Odyssey Info Sheet: One sheet with this year’s synopses and some info on the program on the other side.
  2. Sign-up form.

Timeline: Deadline should be about 2 weeks after the first information was sent out to parents.


B. In School’s first newsletter:
  1. Explain what Odyssey of the Mind is
  2. Give everyone the e-mail address &/or telephone number of school coordinator for more information
  3. Mention the sign-up forms in back to school packets and make these forms available to everyone in the school’s office.
  4. Mention the Odyssey of the Mind website at
  5. Invite parents & children to a School Awareness Night.
C. Awareness Night:
  1. Pass out a flier about the school awareness night.
  2. Guide to a school awareness night.
a. Time: Schedule your Awareness Night around 6:30pm or 7:00pm. so that parents can come back from work and children can also attend.
b. Have a sign up sheet with name, grade, returning coach check box, e-mail address & telephone number. You will later be able to contact these people again. Sometimes people do not sign-up for the program but still wish to participate. Follow-ups are always very important.
c. Have copies of all the problems available for parents.
d. Explain what Odyssey of the Mind is (See our Information sheet and the National Odyssey of the Mind webpage for more information). Ex: Created by Sam Micklus, amount of year in existence in the world and in your area.
e. Explain the Team process and the fact that the children need to solve the problem, by themselves and will then perform in front of judges.
f. Explain the different parts of the scoring system




g. Give a brief explanation of the problems
h. If possible, have a team perform a spontaneous problem to give parents and children an idea of what such a problem is all about.

Timeline: 2 weeks after the first newsletter, or about 3 weeks after the first information on the program went out.

D. Follow-up and putting teams together:
  1. Sign-up forms. To maximize the amount of returned forms a school coordinator sometimes needs to send flyers home more than once.
  2. Once you’ve received the sign-up forms back, you will have to put the children into teams. This is usually done according to their choice of problem.
E. Getting teams started:

After the teams have been put together, you, as coordinator, will have to notify each one of them by phone or email. You might want to let them know the names of the other members in the team and the name of their coach.

Timeline: teams should all be put together about 3 weeks after the first information was sent home.


  1. Call parents and advise them that their child has been put in an Odyssey of the Mind team.
  2. Write each of the team members & parents a little note that can be sent directly through the school. Invite them to the “School’s kick-off night” if you decide that this will take place.
F. School Kick-off Night:

Timeline: Kick-off night should be about 5 to 6 weeks after the first information went out to the children.

    1. Prepare a form with the information below
      • Problem name
      • Problem number
      • Membership number (if available)
      • Membership Name
      • Team members names, Tel # & email
      • Coaches names, Tel # & email
      • Maine Adventures in Creativity ( & National Odyssey of the Mind webpage address(
    2. Informational Packet

Prepare a packet with information for each team. Include the following. (All these forms are available on the Internet for you to print out. They can be obtained at the National “” webpage.

    1. Coaching
      • Every team needs a coach, a leader, but nobody has to do it alone.
      • One person could coach long term, another could coach spontaneous, another could be in charge of snacks, another could donate their garage, another could help drive the team members to stores to buy their supplies.
      • You will possibly need to put parents on the spot, but they usually understand that they are doing this for their children.

Should you have put together a team and none of the parents have stepped forward to volunteer to coach, you will have to talk to everyone and explain the situation.

Every team needs a coach and the children need guidance. They have chosen to participate in the program and now it is up to the parents to step in and be part of this special activity.

    1. Keep children busy
      • Have an adult do spontaneous problems with them
      • Have someone watch the children in another room. A gym is a good place to let everyone play ball or other games.
      • Have a movie on. This is better if it is in another room

There is a lot of information to pass out to coaches and parents at the kick-off night. Children are usually interested in what school coordinators have to say for about ½ hour. Since paperwork takes a long time, but needs to be done, you will need to keep children busy.

Here are some suggestions:

G. During the Odyssey of the Mind Season:
    1. Keep information flowing:

It is very important to stay in communication with the coaches. Make yourself available to answer any questions they might have. Don’t hesitate to contact your Association Directors for more information.

Remember, information can be obtained by checking the national Odyssey of the Mind website and at your own state website.

  1. As competition approaches:
    • Review the sheets needed for competition. It is important that the coaches be aware of all of the sheets needed to compete. To many times, teams get to competition without some of them, which makes it for a really stressful situation.
    • Schedule a “Dress Rehearsal”. Although not mandatory, it is a very good idea to hold a dress rehearsal at school. Teams will be able to review their solution, and improve. Some schools also have a staging area and judges…
    • Spontaneous Night. You might want to think about scheduling a spontaneous night if you have several teams. In the gym or school’s Cafeteria, you can set up stations, with one adult volunteer and a different spontaneous problem at each one. Give the coaches the teams’ results so that they can review them at their next meeting.
  2. Competition
    • Teams are usually very nervous. It is a good idea for the coordinator to go see the teams’ performances, and maybe take a picture or two.
    • Now it is time to give yourself a big pat on the back. You have earned it and made possible that all those children participate in the best CPS program available! What an experience for everyone! We hope you will be part of it again next year!