For Coaches and Teachers

Rules for Coaches Reminder

With the first Round Robin right around the corner, we wanted to post a quick refresher about the rules and responsibilities of all coaches and facilitators at a Meet.

1. If a person agrees to become a coach, they also are agreeing to abide by the rules and spirit of this program, to conduct themselves according to their state’s High School League rules, and to host a Meet. Coaches must be at least 16 years old.

2. Coaches must run Meets as prescribed by the Program Manual. In the event that a coach intentionally does not follow this format, her or his team or the coaches may be disqualified for the remainder of the season.

3. Copyright laws must be respected. No alterations to Program Manual rules or the challenges themselves are allowed without prior written authorization from the national office. Meet forms (add link) may be downloaded and photocopied by coaches during any year in which dues have been paid. Other materials, such as used Meet challenges, may be reused in the district classrooms that year.

4. Coaches must absolutely refrain from assisting teams as they compete in a USAT Meet. This includes in-Meet prep times as well as when answers are being given. From the time a team registers until after all P.A.R.T.Y.s have been judged, no adult should confer privately with team members. A neutral facilitator should be present in special cases, and the Host/Facilitator should be informed.

5. Coaches must set high standards of good sportsmanship and fairness during and surrounding competitions.

6. Coaches must reward good ideas and positive attitudes as they see them displayed by students of all participating schools. Use the Mary Ann Berdan and Peggy Sheldon awards for this purpose.

7. Coaches must serve as facilitators during Meets, or provide a prepared substitute in their place, if they are unable to attend. “Prepared” means “familiar enough with the rules of USAT to serve as a judge/ facilitator at a Meet.” As a professional courtesy, Head Coaches and team coaches will make sure that all volunteers have a good, basic working knowledge of USAT to ensure the integrity of Meets.

8. Coaches who serve as facilitators must always let a team member finish giving a response if a verbal answer has been started before time is called. They must respect student competitors’ rights to compete in an atmosphere of acceptance.

9. Coaches must exercise good judgment in serving as facilitators for Meets. This includes the occasional hard decision regarding the levying of penalties on their own or another team. Issuing a warning is often recommended, though not required, before assessing a penalty. Find out more about assessing penalties correctly. (add link)

10. Coaches need to make sure their teams are familiar with the use of Caution Comments:

a. “Louder” – A student should repeat the answer, enunciating for the sake of the facilitator.
b. “Clarify” – A student must explain why an answer is pertinent to the question. (If the student says “Make a boat” as a use for the flyswatter, it may be necessary for the student to say, “Use the handle as a raft,” so that the judge can score it.)
c. “Inappropriate” – A student is being given a chance to change a socially unacceptable or non sequitur answer, with or without loss of points, depending upon intent.
d. “Repeat” – A student has given a duplicate answer, and must come up with another response.

In the Program Manual we have usually put the list of Competition Kit items (add link) under the heading of “What a Team Brings to a Meet.” In addition, teams are also responsible for contributing specific items to the P.A.R.T.Y. in a Box round as specified on the schedule. However, this is also the responsibility of the coach. Please make sure to familiarize yourself with this information before Round Robin 1.

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