The Tournament

Weight Placement

Many new structure teams do not spend enough time thinking about weight placement. During the tournament there are no do-overs for weight placement. If you drop a weight or hit the structure and it breaks early then testing is over. Make sure that you have practiced enough with weight placement so that you are comfortable around the tester and with handling the weights.

Have more than one person practice weight placement. A weight placer could be sick on tournament day and someone else would have to take their place.

Elementary and Middle Level teams may have adults assist with placement of weights that weigh 25 pounds or more. Teams should verify this within the rules of the current years challenge. It is the teams decision on whether an adult will assist with weight placement. It is very important that the adult assistant provide only muscle. The selection and placement of weights is the teams responsibility and the adult assistant should not be directing this in any way. If appraisers feel that the adult assistant is guiding weight placement then the adult assistant may not be allowed to continue to assist with weight placement. The adult assistant should also practice with the team so that the weight placers and the adult assistant are comfortable with each other. There are additional comments on the adult assistant on the Team Manager info page of this site.

Click the following link to see a short (2 minute) video of a team placing weights. This is from the challenge Triplicity where teams had to construct three structures that stacked on top of each other. (You Tube Video)

Mock Check In

It is very important that structure(s) brought to tournament meet the specifications of the challenge. Structures that do not meet ALL of the specifications will not be scored for weight held. A few weeks before tournament the team should do their own mock check in. Take the specifications from the challenge and go down the list, checking off each item (weight, height, center hole clearance, etc.). It is very stressful to get to tournament and find out that the structure must be modified in order to be able to test it for score.

Transporting the structure

The team needs to decide on what they think is the safest way to carry the structure to the tournament. A cardboard box can easily be sat on and destroy the structure inside. Laying it loose in the front seat of the car is probably not a good idea either because someone can just jump into the car and sit on it. (This hasn't happened to my team but I do know of teams that had this happen to them.) Treat the structure like gold so that it arrives safely at the tournament. Some teams carry a spare structure to tournament as a backup just in case.

Tournament Day Considerations

Tournament Day

These comments are generic. Refer to the specific challenge and travel guide for specifics on the current year's challenge.

As soon as possible scope out the performance site and determine what weights are available. The weights you planned on using may not be available. Note that the challenges generally state that a team can ask the Regional Director or Tournament Director for a list of the specific weights that will be available at tournament.

Checking out the site also allows you time to think about how to stage your performance. The location of the tester board and weights cannot be changed so you may have to adjust your staging to accommodate the actual layout of the performance site.

Check In Procedures

Typically, structure teams must check their structures in from 30 minutes to 1 hour before their presentation time. Check in times will generally be noted when the tournament schedule is published. Check in procedures vary from year to year. Consult the Travel Guide for Teams that is published in January or February of each year for current year check in procedures. Generally, structure teams are responsible for all handling of the structure during check in and appraisers are trained to not touch the structure during the process. Refer to the current years challenge and travel guide for additional information.

Teams with structures that do not meet specifications will be given time (as it is available) to modify their structure to comply with specifications. Once check in is complete the structure is left with the weigh in appraisers. Teams should have a container to store the structure. The weigh in appraisers will "seal" the container in some manner. Teams will be instructed when to return to weigh in to pick up their structure prior to their performance.

Brainstorm a list of materials and tools that you might need if for some reason you have to modify and/or repair the structure once your reach the tournament site. Pack these in a "structure emergency repair kit" and bring them to the tournament.

The Performance

At some point after you check in with the prep area appraiser you will be directed to have someone to return to weigh in to pick up your structure. Do not remove the seal from the structure container until directed to do so by an appraiser.

Once time begins, relax and enjoy yourself.