Team Falling Apart

Thank you all for the help. I believe after discussing with a few on the team, we have figured out a solution without hurting our original team.

Teams have had this issue from the very beginning. It is true in scouting, little league or soccer (fill in your own activity) as well. Some parents lose sight of the final goal. I work hard to get students to recognize that advanced education is the key to having a happy life and getting to do something you really like. The robot is merely a tool to get there, but it is very effective. I can only point to the Chairman’s Award for guidance. When a team looks to working for this award, decisions made on an interpersonal level melt away. You start to think, “A Chairman’s team would never do that.” It is obviously distressing for me to hear that a team is splitting for any reason.
If the intent of this program is to get students pointed at advancing their education, why would a team reject new members? Our only reason would be our team structure. We are a class in our school district and that brings certain other factors into team membership.

Their reason is because he is from another school, even though as far as the team knows, there is no policy about not allowing people from outside the school district (yet we have home schooled kids). The group of people who don’t want this student to join is because he is associated with a member on the other alliance (the one tempted to leave the team). This is difficult to explain without revealing too much, but the other group of people have no reason to not let the member join, so that’s one of the issues and reasons to leave.

Both the teams you mentioned seem to be relatively small in terms of the student population. However, you mentioned that your team has made it to the FIRST Championship the past two years, and the other team in your area is more competitive still. This leads me to assume that both teams have a relatively decent amount of resources, especially considering the number of students in on the team. It also seems like the big thing your team is lacking right now is leadership, due to your head coach leaving.

What is the goal of both teams? How tightly integrated is the school team with their administration and school curriculum? Would it be more beneficial for these two teams to combine completely, to leverage the resources of both teams to help all students in the area?

It sounds like you need to develop a team mission/charter and other policy documents. A constitution if you will. Something that embodies the spirit of your team and the overarching policies to which you are beholden. This would make the decision to accept outside students a clear-cut objective one instead of a emotionally-drive one.

In HS I was on the same team as an ex-girlfriend. We were even on the drive team together. It was challenging, but that’s where the professional in ‘gracious professionalism’ comes into play. We all have to work with people who aren’t our best friends, and coping with those situations is a very important skill in succeeding professionally. As head coach on 95 I demand this level of professionalism from my students because I believe that it directly reflects FIRST’s the core principle of Gracious Professionalism.

Overall it sounds like your team needs to develop a more robust leadership structure and a methodology for resolving these sorts of disagreements. Our team is run as a benign dictatorship, and it works for us. Other teams may be run differently with comparable or superior results. Find what works for you and your team!

That sounds rough. It’s a shame to hear about a team that has been able to go Championships twice falling apart…