How I Structure My Practices for the Year – Part II

In Part I, I explained how I divide the students into teams at the beginning of the year and hold tournaments every Friday.

  • Any homework assignments (worksheets) the players complete throughout the year are added to the tournament standings.
  • Once a month, we have what is called a Challenge Match. Each team gets 45 minutes to practice whatever game we are working on, and then all the students (except the captains) are split into matches. During the round, the captains are allowed to help any kid on their team with a Solution, move, or strategy. At the end of the night, the scores from each team are averaged, and everyone on the team with the highest average gets a six. (That is, a player could win an individual match and still get a two for the day if the rest of the team does poorly).
  • The Friday tournament is one of the main factors determining who makes the teams for the state and national tournaments (along with monthly regional tournaments and the state tournament). Players know this and are highly motivated to do well in weekly tournaments, worksheets, and challenge matches.

There are a lot of things I think are good about our system.

  • The biggest advantage is the number of rounds our kids play. We have 20-25 tournaments a year just among ourselves.
  • I think this game experience really helps us when we get to the big stage of the state and national tournaments.


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