Focusing a team is sometimes harder than herding cats. To get the team to focus, we set team rules. The team comes up with the rules.
To get started, ask the team to come up with 5 to 10 team rules. They can use a whiteboard or sheet of paper. The activity takes about 15 minutes and will be a great coaching tool. As part of the activity, also ask the team to define a goal for the season. A goal can range from have fun to qualify for Worlds.
When the team is off task, I reminded them of the goal they set and point to their rules. It’s their rule,s not my rules. It’ their goal, not my goal. It gives the ownership and brings them back to the task.
If you see your team needs social time, built it into the schedule. We built in 20 minutes of social time per team meeting. When they break a rule, they lose 2 minutes of social time. They got this idea from the teacher they interviewed who uses a points reward system.
Here is are the Capital Teen Rules for World Class, their 3rd year in FLL. They were 7th graders at this time and spread across three middle schools.