Help for new coaches
So...you are interested in starting a 4-H Project Bowl team!
If you are interested in coaching a 4-H Project Bowl Team, the ideas and information below will help you in your process. Know that your local 4-H program coordinator, Extension educator, and the state 4-H Project Bowl committee members are all here to help you.
Begin by contacting your local 4-H program coordinator (PC) to let him/her know about your interest in starting a 4-H Project Bowl team. Your local PC can work with you to decide on an initial meeting date and location as well as help you contact the 4-H members who may be interested in being part of the new team. Some ideas include articles in the 4-H newsletter, postcards to all 4-H members enrolled in the Bowl project area, and developing a phone-calling tree so that older 4-H members call 4-6 younger members to invite them to the initial meeting.
Next you will need to go to the Minnesota 4-H Project Bowl website to print rules and references for the upcoming bowl season. You can work with your local 4-H PC to secure one copy of each of the references. There is a fee for some references so at first you may need to ask your county 4-H federation/council for money to purchase one set of references for the team. As a coach, you may want to purchase a set of references for yourself. As your team grows, you will want to encourage each member of the team to purchase his/her own set of references.
At your initial Project Bowl meeting, you will want to establish regular Project Bowl practices. Remember that in the "Making Clubs Fun" training we learned that groups do better when there are established, regular meeting dates, times, and locations. Many Project Bowl teams meet once a week (on the same night each week) from January through March when the Regional Bowl is held. If the team earns a trip to the State Bowl, they will continue meeting up until the date of the State Bowl. Many teams meet for one to two hours each week.
By now you may be asking: "But what do we do each week?" Sometimes coaches go through the references and develop "hands on" learning activities related to the information in the references. Often times, coaches assign team members to write 10-15 questions from certain pages in designated references and then share the questions with the rest of the team the following week. Other times, coaches invite other "community experts" like veterinarians to present a lesson on a certain topic related to material from the references.
To maintain the integrity of the 4-H Project Bowl program in Minnesota, the state Project Bowl Committee does not release sample questions. However, many coaches and teams new to Project Bowl want to know what type of questions are asked. In the late 1980’s, Minnesota 4-H developed a board game called "Animals in Pursuit"; it was modeled after the popular board game "Trivial Pursuit". We have compiled the "Animals in Pursuit" questions for you as a sample of what kinds of questions are asked in 4-H Project Bowl competition. Remember these questions are provided to help you understand the type of questions that are asked; the questions themselves are nearly twenty years old and may contain outdated information.
Timeline to help a new coach
- Nov. - decide on an initial meeting date/time/location for early Jan.
- Dec. - go to the Minnesota 4-H Project Bowl website to print rules and references for the upcoming bowl season.
- Jan. - hold initial meeting.
- Jan. - March - hold weekly Bowl practice meetings
- Feb. - registration due for the Regional Project Bowl
- March - most Regional Project Bowl competitions
- April - most likely the State Project Bowl competition