Important Guidelines for Teams and Team Managers immediately before and at the tournament

Before the Tournament


Teams should:


A great tournament depends on your ability to plan for the unexpected and be ready to adjust to any circumstance.

  • Brainstorm on all the things that could go wrong. Write everything down in a master list of potential problems.
    • Determine how the potential problems are related to each other. Group them appropriately (e.g. props, people, equipment…)
    • Expand the list where needed, and combine items which the team thinks are really the same.
    • Do not delete anything from the list unless the team is unanimous!
  • Rank the problems for the trouble they could cause:
    • Rank the potential problems for the seriousness of the result.
    • Remind the team that small things can sometimes have disastrous results.
    • Review each group and make any adjustments.
  • Think of all the ways to prevent problems or minimize them:
    • For each problem ask “if this happens we could….?”
    • Discuss problems that cannot be prevented, e.g. weather, crowd noise, etc.
    • Encourage your team to HAVE FUN, and be creative with their ideas…
    • Remember that improvisation always scores well!
  • Prepare a plan of action:
    • Include who, what, when, where and how.
    • Review the “disaster plan” periodically.
    • Cause spontaneous mishaps during practice to allow your team to practice the plan.
    • A good example is deliberately leaving the batteries out of the tape player, or knocking over a prop during a rehearsal.
  • DO IT!! As with everything in DI practice… Practice… PRACTICE!!!


Make sure your team has a COMPLETE TOOL KIT with them at the tournament!
If there is any chance something might break, tear or disconnect be sure to have everything you need to repair it:

  • What did you use to build your backdrops, props, technical devices and costumes?
  • What will you need to fix your backdrops, props, technical devices and costumes?
  • What is likely to need fixing?
  • What might need fixing after multiple practices? After transportation?
  • What falls apart regularly? What isn’t put together too well to start with?
  • What did you use to construct it in the first place? Do you have any extra?
  • What items are portable?
  • What power source(s) will you need?
  • Who will assemble this emergency box and its contents?
  • What kind of container will it go into?
  • Will it fit into your transportation?
  • Don’t forget a First Aid Kit!


  • Use the interactive forms which are available in the resource area.
    • The interactive forms are easier for the team to complete, and they make the appraiser’s job easier.
    • Fill out the forms electronically, then print out the completed forms for use at the tournament.
    • Adults may act as scribe for Elementary level teams, but the content must be provided by the team. Middle level and above must complete their forms themselves.
  • Challenge forms:
    • Each challenge has detailed instructions on which forms are required.
    • Note that multiple copies are required of some forms.
    • Make sure your forms are worded to the team’s advantage!
      • For instance: If you want the Princess Costume scored for a Team Choice Element be SPECIFIC: don’t say “Costumes” if you really mean “the Princess Costume”, and don’t say the “Princess Costume” if what you really mean is “the use of unexpected materials in the Princess Costume”!
  • Signed photo / release forms are required for all participants:
    • Photo Release – Adult Participant is required for every participant or manager who is over 18
    • Photo Release – Parental Consent is required for every team member who is under 18
  • Be prepared for forms-related emergencies:
    • Have at least one backup copy of your forms in case they are misplaced.
    • Bring blank forms in case you need to make last minute changes.
    • Prepare your forms before the day of the tournament, and proofread to ensure that the data is complete and correct.


  • Make sure that parents know when and where the team will be meeting, check-in times, etc. If the team is meeting at the tournament site, make sure the location is well understood.
  • Make sure your team’s adult volunteers their assignments.
  • Make sure you have cell phone numbers for all team parents, and preferably for all team members, just in case you get separated.
  • There are t-shirts and pins for sale at the tournament that support the DI organization in your area; please make sure parents are aware of this.
  • Remind parents of the rules of interference!
  • Make sure parents know their responsibilities, and if there are any jobs which you are asking them to take on at the tournament.


  • How will you get your finished solution, backdrops, props, etc. to competition site?
    • What types of transportation are available to your team?
      Your car / truck? Parent’s car / truck? Rental car / truck / trailer? A bus?
    • How will your stuff fit into your chosen transportation?
    • Can items be made smaller or taken apart?
    • Do a dress rehearsal of getting stuff into the car / truck / etc. – If it won’t fit, what will you do? How can items be modified to fit in? Is there other transportation available?
  • Will your assembled solution, backdrops, props, etc. fit into the performance space?
    • How large are the doors?
    • How big is the launch area?
    • Will there be enough time to do any re-assembly required before the team is called on to start their performance?


  • Read the Travel Guide for Teams which tells you what to expect on the day of the tournament.
  • Confirm your challenge time and location.
  • Plan when and where your team will meet at the tournament.
  • Make sure your team volunteers know their assignments.
  • Plan on how the team and their props, etc. will get to the challenge venue.
  • Top 7 Secrets to a Successful Tournament is a useful guide, and has more site-specific info.

At The Tournament


  • Make sure your entire team is on site early enough so that they can register, and get all sets, props, devices, costumes, etc. ready to go with time to spare. Some extra wiggle time is advised — just in case someone gets lost on the way to the venue.
  • Register your team before checking in at your challenge venue. There will be a tournament registration desk in each building where challenges are being presented. This is when you hand in your photo release forms, and show that you have your other forms. You don’t need the whole team to do this.
  • Challenge venue check-in times precede the performance time, and procedures vary by challenge! See the Travel Guide for Teams for details about when you must check in, and Top 7 Secrets to a Successful Tournament, which has more site-specific info. The entire team should be present for check-in at the venue.
  • Check-in for Instant Challenge is 15 minutes before your scheduled I/C performance time. Remember – no electronic devices of any kind are allowed in the Instant Challenge!
  • Be sure that your team is prepared to clean up any mess they make – in the prop storage area, in the prep area, in the performace venue, etc.  We are guests at the tournament location – please treat it with respect!


  • Parents do not need to tag along with the team for the entire day. Feel free to dismiss them to go and watch other teams from your school, or other teams competing in your team’s challenge.
  • Remember that the rules of interference continue to apply:
    • No-one other than team members are allowed to contribute to the solution in any way
    • Adults may not touch challenge materials, except to assist in moving materials, e.g. from their vehicles to the prep area.
    • Only team members and managers should interact with appraisers
    • No coaching allowed other than a hearty “good luck!”
  • Make sure parents know if flash photography is allowed by the team.


  • Have fun with your team! Emphasize how much they have learned & how much fun they had rather than scores and placement. Remind your team (and parents) that the simple act of bringing a solution to show the Appraisers at a Tournament makes your team a winner!
  • Be polite when watching other teams performances! Give them the same respect you would expect for your own team. Put your cell phones on vibrate, don’t talk to your neighbor, etc.
  • Most experienced managers feel that it is unwise, especially for newer or younger teams, to watch performances of teams against whom they are competing before their own performance. It can cause teams to second-guess their own solution.
  • Once you have picked up your raw scores, share them with the team, but keep them to yourselves inside the team. Remember your raw scores are only one component of your final results, and other teams may not yet have performed. Gloating, or discussing scores in public is impolite – so don’t do it!
  • Show respect for other teams’ efforts. Do not verbally critique, denegrate or disparage other teams’ performances.
  • Good sportsmanship rules apply to everyone – team members, managers, parents, siblings and friends. If you see someone doing something inappropriate, it’s your job to interrupt it!


  • Be prepared to answer any questions from the appraisers.  Remember – only team members may speak with the appraisers.
  • Remember to clean up any mess you made in the performance space!
  • Raw central challenge scores are usually ready to be picked up at the challenge venue 30 minutes after your challenge is completed. There will be a posted list of teams whose scores which are available. One team member and one team manager should be selected to meet with the appraiser who will give the raw scores.
  • Please do not wait until the end of the day to pick up your scores.  Pick them up promptly when they become available.
  • Any questions, protests, concerns or appeals concerning your scores must be reported to the head appraiser for your challenge within 30 minutes of receiving your scores. The appeals process is described in detail in Rules of the Road.
  • Remember you still cannot talk about instant challenge.
  • Make sure any props, etc. are safely loaded back into your vehicles. Do NOT discard any props or supplies at the tournament venue.  Take them home with you.
  • Go see and support other teams!
  • Get something to eat, or visit the gift shop.
  • Get ready for the awards ceremony.


  • There is food service available in the cafeteria.
  • It is a good idea to have some snacks for the kids, etc. in case they need something quickly.
  • We are guests at our tournament venue – please be respectful and keep the facility clean!


  • The awards ceremony will take place around 4:30pm, once all of the scores are collected, tallied and sorted.
  • Please keep aisles and exits clear while waiting for the ceremony to begin.
  • Please hold your applause and cheers until all teams which have placed in a challenge / level have been called to the podium
  • Be a good sport! Every team which presented a solution deserves your applause!
  • Advancement:
    • In most cases teams in the top two places of each level of each challenge (including ties) will advance to the next level of competition.
    • There is also the possibility (but not certainty) of wild card advancement if a team finishes within 10 points of an advancing team, and has the highest score in any of the component parts of the challenge – Central Challenge, Instant Challenge, or Team Choice Elements.
    • Instructions for teams which are advancing will be emailed to team managers shortly after the tournament.
    • Even if you don’t think you are advancing, DO NOT DISCARD YOUR PROPS OR SUPPLIES.  For various reasons there is the possiblity that a team which was not announced as advancing at the awards ceremony might be offered the opportunity to advance at a later date.
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