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Welcome Judges!


First of all, if you’ve already decided to be a judge: Thank you! Without judges, an Odyssey of the Mind tournament cannot happen. Your commitment is crucial and we value you tremendously. If you’re still deciding whether this position is right for you, here is some basic info to help you understand what being an OotM judge is all about.


Judges must be 18 years or older


Judging at the regional tournament is an all­-day commitment. Generally, you will arrive 

around 7:30 am and not leave until approximately an hour after the last scheduled 

performance. Depending on the size of the tournament your day could go as long as 4pm. (You will be provided with beverages, snacks, and lunch!)


Attending the judges training session (usually in February, 2 weeks prior to the tournament) is mandatory! The date and a link to sign up will be posted on our website once it is scheduled.


If you have a child participating in the tournament you will not be able to see him/her perform. Judges need to be at their problem site throughout the competition and it is highly unlikely that your breaks would coincide with your child’s performance.  It is also not allowed for anyone to be a judge for their child’s problem. 


Some other key things to know:


(Adapted from Bob Lipman’s (Redwood Region) Article on Judging)


Be friendly and positive: You are the face that a team sees at the competition. They have worked hard and are more than likely nervous about many aspects of their solution. You can put them at ease by simply smiling and getting into the OotM spirit, i.e. wearing a silly hat!  All Post-­It note comments should be positive, even (or especially) if the team didn’t score well. Remember to keep the attitude that no matter what happens they are winners for completing their project and showing up!


Be prepared: Attendance at a the judges training is mandatory. Be sure you are fully knowledgeable of your problem’s requirements and scoring procedures. If you’re unsure about anything ask the problem captain for clarification.


Ask questions and listen well: After the performance not only should you ask questions about the elements you are scoring, but ask them to share a bit about their process­­: what was the hardest part; what part was the most fun, etc. 


Be fair: No one likes giving out penalties, but if it is deserved, then it must be given. A penalty is not given by a single judge­­; the judging team must agree on whether the penalty is deserved, and what size of penalty to give. Please note: penalties are not discussed with the team at the end of the performance.They are presented to the coach when the head judge gives them their scores.


Be efficient: It’s important to keep the tournament on schedule. Don’t take too long talking to a team, writing comments and giving scores. If there is a complicated issue try to set that team’s scores aside until there is a break where you and the other judges can discuss it in privacy.


Show your appreciation: Teams have worked hard for several months. Thank them for sharing their solution and let them know you enjoyed their performance. 


One last thing: In the summer of 2015, California Odyssey of the Mind’s State Board adopted Codes of Conduct for all its participants. The Official’s Code of Conduct will need to be signed and handed in prior to the regional competition. Click below to review and print this document:


NorCal OotM Code of Conduct for Officials

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