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> Decathlete Advice to Coaches
zzzptm
post Apr 13 2010, 11:01 PM
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What do us coaches need to know? Seriously. What works, what annoys (but still works), and what doesn't work (but is still fun, so do it anyway)?

Like cheesecake parties... good, bad, or the reason you're in Decathlon?


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gibisee
post Apr 14 2010, 01:11 AM
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Cheesecake parties are good, since my team is redneck-y we do a crawfish boil, but to each his own. We take a trip to the MFAH every year, which is loads of fun. Some of the things I think helped our team were constant practice tests, making everyone do a project on some subject area (probably the easiest way to get people who are reluctant to study to learn the materials), and then saying that a certain meet is gonna be a multiple test grades forcing people to study, and then being nice and giving everyone A's. Snacks in the ad room, though often used are also rather effective.


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Stephen That Fos...
post Apr 14 2010, 01:18 AM
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DO NOT keep things that can be used as swords at easy reach. That has been quite a pitfall for us recently. Also, if we're going for the reason I'm in, it's getting medals. Never underestimate the drive that can come from getting the first medal. That's what caused me to put myself into it with much effort. In short, AWARDS WORK. Wonderful motivation to do it.
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AK_WDB
post Apr 14 2010, 01:20 AM
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QUOTE (Stephen That Foster @ Apr 13 2010, 04:18 PM) *
DO NOT keep things that can be used as swords at easy reach. That has been quite a pitfall for us recently. Also, if we're going for the reason I'm in, it's getting medals. Never underestimate the drive that can come from getting the first medal. That's what caused me to put myself into it with much effort. In short, AWARDS WORK. Wonderful motivation to do it.

Yeah, all of this. My coach once threatened to attach razor blades to the sides of his yardsticks so I'd stop tossing them around during practice. tongue.gif
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Jonesy
post Apr 14 2010, 01:27 AM
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Actually, keep one thing that can be used as a sword, and then give it to your highest scoring varsity, and whenever someone slacks off, if they scored less than him at the previous competition, they get whacked. Then again, maybe it was only my team that had lazy honors...


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QUOTE (Crow @ Mar 30 2010, 12:24 AM) *
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Stephen That Fos...
post Apr 14 2010, 01:37 AM
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QUOTE (AK_WDB @ Apr 13 2010, 09:20 PM) *
QUOTE (Stephen That Foster @ Apr 13 2010, 04:18 PM) *
DO NOT keep things that can be used as swords at easy reach. That has been quite a pitfall for us recently. Also, if we're going for the reason I'm in, it's getting medals. Never underestimate the drive that can come from getting the first medal. That's what caused me to put myself into it with much effort. In short, AWARDS WORK. Wonderful motivation to do it.

Yeah, all of this. My coach once threatened to attach razor blades to the sides of his yardsticks so I'd stop tossing them around during practice. tongue.gif

Well our situation is a bit more extreme. Our coach teaches AP Lang, and she likes to have fake swords so they can act out the Shakespeare better. So she has 5 foam swords and 5 nice width dowels duct-taped on one end to look vaguely silver. So make sure to watch out for that.
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overly_critical_...
post Apr 14 2010, 01:42 AM
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Always be sure to tell your kids how underwhelming their test scores are and crush their egos until they're frothing at the mouth with anger at you to prove you wrong.

This post has been edited by overly_critical_man: Apr 14 2010, 01:42 AM


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Stemeter
post Apr 14 2010, 02:00 AM
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Know your types of kids. Lure in Honors with the promises of 'Great for college admissions!' and show off the binder. Lure in Varsities with promises of Nerf Gun Wars and food.
Help foster a brotherhood between the teammates. This makes them feel not only responsible to do well individually, but also as a team (its easier to quit if you're by yourself and you don't feel like you are screwing over the whole team).
Before meets, my coach always had pencils, erasers, gum, and batteries in gift bags. It a. ensured that everyone had everything they needed and b. gifts are awesome.
Help foster the competitive spirit in the kids. Pre-scrimmages, some kids (especially first years) find it hard to find the drive to want to spend their evenings studying AcaDec. My coach went to me and told me that I had the potential to take first over all in my category if I worked harder. She went to my best friends and told them the same thing. Our scores went up considerably because of this.
We would split up packets, and create 'sparknotes' for each section which we would then present to the class. This helped us learn the material, and right before competition we could review our notes instead of rereading the whole binder.
Have a 'clank day' after every competition. Let/tell your kids t wear their medals the next school day. Not only does it give them recognition (and thus feel good about themselves and want to study harder), but it helps generate student interest for joining next year.
Keep a score chart in a prominent place.
Right before competitions, some kids call out of school, and just come into the library/aca dec room/hallway and study silently AcaDec for the whole school day.


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JSK
post Apr 14 2010, 05:33 AM
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QUOTE (zzzptm @ Apr 13 2010, 04:01 PM) *
Like cheesecake parties... good, bad, or the reason you're in Decathlon?

The main reason to do Decathlon, but only if they are porkless.


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"I realized I had won. I had won all the prizes Academic Decathlon truly offers. The scholarships and promises of travel are only enticements to trick short-sighted children into partaking of an experience far more beautiful, far more awesome, far more sublime than they could comprehend in their limited experience. The competition is not about a few people winning this scholarship or that medal. The competition is about everyone, yes, everyone, gaining a desire to learn for the rest of their lives. It is about enriching our lives with deep and profound experiences. It is about following the path less taken, and realizing it has made all the difference in our lives." ~ zzzptm
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Somedude
post Apr 14 2010, 09:19 AM
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I know that teams already do this a lot, but still,
medals and ribbons even for minor competitions.

I always studied just a little harder so that I could ensure my number one varsity ribbon.


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Stemeter
post Apr 14 2010, 11:09 AM
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Ask the principal for Varsity Letters (given to all the team members) and graduation cords


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laureus
post Apr 14 2010, 01:26 PM
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For honors and scholastics, get the smartest kids in the school. Chemistry can be worked out later, and if it can't, who cares. Competition is good. I don't really know about varsities. When I was still competing, we got "C" students who were just as smart as the top honors, yet they consistently failed to reach 7k. I don't know if I just never got them motivated or what. Work ethic is more important than intelligence when it comes to varsities.
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overly_critical_...
post Apr 14 2010, 04:17 PM
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QUOTE (laureus @ Apr 14 2010, 06:26 AM) *
For honors and scholastics, get the smartest kids in the school. Chemistry can be worked out later, and if it can't, who cares. Competition is good. I don't really know about varsities. When I was still competing, we got "C" students who were just as smart as the top honors, yet they consistently failed to reach 7k. I don't know if I just never got them motivated or what. Work ethic is more important than intelligence when it comes to varsities.


Work ethic is important when it comes to everyone.

Get just the smartest kids? I don't really agree with that at all. Some of the smartest kids I knew made for some of the worst decathletes I've ever seen.

This post has been edited by overly_critical_man: Apr 14 2010, 04:17 PM


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laureus
post Apr 14 2010, 06:53 PM
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QUOTE (overly_critical_man @ Apr 14 2010, 11:17 AM) *
QUOTE (laureus @ Apr 14 2010, 06:26 AM) *
For honors and scholastics, get the smartest kids in the school. Chemistry can be worked out later, and if it can't, who cares. Competition is good. I don't really know about varsities. When I was still competing, we got "C" students who were just as smart as the top honors, yet they consistently failed to reach 7k. I don't know if I just never got them motivated or what. Work ethic is more important than intelligence when it comes to varsities.


Work ethic is important when it comes to everyone.

Get just the smartest kids? I don't really agree with that at all. Some of the smartest kids I knew made for some of the worst decathletes I've ever seen.

Yes, work ethic is important for everyone, but most honors and scholastics are already pretty motivated.

At my school, no one was really going to do any work, so having smarter people meant that they could cram more in at the end and at least do decently well.
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laureus
post Apr 14 2010, 06:56 PM
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Also, and this may only be my school, I have noticed that the more honors and scholastics who are juniors, the worse the team performs.
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overly_critical_...
post Apr 14 2010, 08:26 PM
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QUOTE (laureus @ Apr 14 2010, 11:53 AM) *
QUOTE (overly_critical_man @ Apr 14 2010, 11:17 AM) *
QUOTE (laureus @ Apr 14 2010, 06:26 AM) *
For honors and scholastics, get the smartest kids in the school. Chemistry can be worked out later, and if it can't, who cares. Competition is good. I don't really know about varsities. When I was still competing, we got "C" students who were just as smart as the top honors, yet they consistently failed to reach 7k. I don't know if I just never got them motivated or what. Work ethic is more important than intelligence when it comes to varsities.


Work ethic is important when it comes to everyone.

Get just the smartest kids? I don't really agree with that at all. Some of the smartest kids I knew made for some of the worst decathletes I've ever seen.

Yes, work ethic is important for everyone, but most honors and scholastics are already pretty motivated.

At my school, no one was really going to do any work, so having smarter people meant that they could cram more in at the end and at least do decently well.


But remember...I'm from California, so my idea of "motivated" might be 90000000x more magnified than your idea of "motivated".


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VarsityBoy
post Apr 14 2010, 09:01 PM
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Tell your team straight up that they can do decathlon to have fun, or do decathlon to WIN and have fun.

Make sure everybody knows it's srs bsns. Point out medals, scholarships if you get them, plus colleges digging it.

Get competitive people.


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overly_critical_...
post Apr 14 2010, 09:20 PM
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Always be sure to point out "You think the boys at <insert name of rival school> are slacking!?" and then tell them their 43/45 on the super quiz practice test isn't cutting it.


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swaswa
post Apr 15 2010, 07:57 AM
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QUOTE (Stephen That Foster @ Apr 13 2010, 06:18 PM) *
DO NOT keep things that can be used as swords at easy reach. That has been quite a pitfall for us recently.


Unfortunately for our team, this is a serious issue (NOT joking here).


QUOTE (laureus @ Apr 14 2010, 06:26 AM) *
For honors and scholastics, get the smartest kids in the school. Chemistry can be worked out later, and if it can't, who cares. \


I don't exactly agree with that. We recruited brilliant kids into AcDec who were extremely offensive and large-headed (egotistically). Team chemistry didn't work out at all and the whole year was terrible. The motivation was lacking, especially because people didn't have friends to compete with, people who they would be proud to beat. Even some of the MOST motivated students skipped meetings because the meetings weren't filled with likeable people.


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swaswa
post Apr 15 2010, 08:00 AM
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QUOTE (VarsityBoy @ Apr 14 2010, 02:01 PM) *
Tell your team straight up that they can do decathlon to have fun, or do decathlon to WIN and have fun.

Make sure everybody knows it's srs bsns. Point out medals, scholarships if you get them, plus colleges digging it.

Get competitive people.


In my opinion, people who join decathlon for scholarships either never strive to be the best, or they don't enjoy the "team" spirit of decathlon, which is the most rewarding thing it offers.

You make a great point by saying "Get competitive people". Some of the smartest people are only smart because they do what they need to for a good grade. Competitive people are still smart, but they will do anything to prove themselves, a perfect lure for decathlon. tongue.gif


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