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University of Texas at Austin
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University Interscholastic League Logo

Tournament Survival

At the Tournament

  1. Registration
    1. Avoid dropping entries unless it is an extreme emergency. Even then, try to get another student to cover the event. If you absolutely must drop an entry, have drops ready before you get to registration.
      ***Be sure to include the number, event and division.
    2. Send students to the meeting area, usually the cafeteria. Do not bring them to the registration table.
    3. Get registration packet with student codes, judge ballots, and vital information.
    4. Give the students their code and round assignments. Make sure you accurately record who gets what number.
  2. Tournament responsibilities
    1. Judging - you will be expected to judge
    2. Helping with the tournament - even new coaches are sometimes asked to assist with tournament operations
    3. Supervising your students - don't live in the coaches hospitality room the entire time!
  3. Judging
    1. Be prompt to rounds.
    2. Use your ballot to teach. Students will learn from well written critiques.
    3. Be supportive of the tournament officials.
  4. Awards and critiques
    1. Medals or trophies are given at the end of the day.
    2. If your students don't make finals, have them observe finals and learn from the "best" that day.
    3. Students mimic your attitude towards ballots and critiques. If you disagree, do so in a proactive way.
  5. Other Coaches / Schools
    1. Teach your students to trust and respect other coaches and judges. If they disagree with a ballot, that opinion should be heard only by YOU!
    2. Let them know other coaches who would be willing to help in case of an emergency.
    3. Build rapport with other teams. Respect their competitors.
    4. If you have questions, ask!
    5. If you want to learn more about tournament operation, ask to help out in the tab room of invitational tournaments.


  1. Publicity
    1. Write up the results for school announcements.
    2. Develop contacts with the school and community newspapers.
    3. Make use of local radio and television stations (cable, too) if possible.
  2. Critiques
    1. Screen them before handing to the students - you may not want a student to see some of the comments.
    2. Go over them with the students and assign specific items to be working on before the next competition.