For first-year participants, it's difficult to know what to expect at competition. While each region and affiliate have their own procedures, there are a few universal things to be aware of.
* know your performance and instant challenge times. always allow more time than you think you'll need. arrive about 20 minutes early to each, but start preparing for the performance about an hour ahead of time. this should give you ample time to get all props, costumes, and forms in order. before instant challenge do some warm-up problems and exercises.
* if possible, view other solutions in your problem and others. if it will make the team members nervous to view teams in their same problem and level, watch other levels. the more exposure to different ideas, the better.
* central challenge scores should be available sometime after the team performs. decide before the competition if the team will see the scores before the awards. if the scores are shared, keep in mind that the numbers do not have much meaning alone. a score of 10/20 seems low, but may be the highest all day! always let the team see the stickies, they're a definite confidence booster.
* encourage the team to interact with the judges as much as possible after their central challenge.
* remind the team that winning isn't everything. they accomplished a lot by just completing their solution and having the confidence to present it to people.