The first weeks after the national tournament are a great time for reflection on the year as a whole and a good opportunity to motivate students for the following year.
It’s very important to learn lessons from the experiences (accomplishments and mistakes) at Nationals. While the competition is still fresh in the students’ memory, talk to them about things they could have done differently and how they could have done better. Sometimes, students feel that they didn’t do as well as they wanted. Talk to them about what their goals were and how they can achieve them next year.
At the awards ceremony, my students have commented that they’re going to do better next year and win a national championship. That’s a good starting point to get them to understand the amount of work that goes into winning a national title and how they have to be committed throughout the year, not just in the months leading up to the Nationals. Wanting to win isn’t enough—doing the things it takes to win is a bigger step.
Regardless of your team’s results this year, start setting goals for next year now, while the emotions and optimism are still fresh. Post the goals on a bulletin board or somewhere prominent where the students can refer to them throughout the year. Have students memorize a favorite motivational quote or saying to help them through the tough times they may have to face.