Hints for Coaches
1. Students should like their speeches. A student who doesn’t,
will be less inclined to study it and try to do his/her best with
2. Students should be suited to the speech. Don’t give a girl’s
part to a boy if he is unable to project the characteristics of
a female. This takes some practice, but after you get to know your
children, you will be able to match speeches with their personalities.
3. The speech must be memorized.
4. Attitude depends upon that of the coach. If you are enthusiastic,
willing to give up your time, and really promote confidence, your
children will enjoy speech more and so will you.
5. Always emphasize that the child is working to make himself/herself
the best he/she can,
6. Be aware of other schedules!!!! To avoid frustration and conflicts,
find out the time schedules of your students – the days they
can and can’t practice – then set up your practice schedule.
7. An introduction and closing, i.e. thank you, may be part of a
speech, but is not necessary. However, it will count as part of
your timed speech.
8. It is permissible to turn your back on the audience if necessary
during a speech, as long as you are still audible and it fits with
the context of the speech.
9. Remind the children that eye contact is important not only with
the judges, but also with the rest of the audience when it fits.
10. Make sure the speeches are cut to under seven (7) minutes. Six
(6) minutes may be best since it allows the child some breathing
space if he/she forgets a line or two.
11. Props * and costumes are not permitted, other than as follows:
1. One chair may be used in Humorous or Serious
speeches. (You may not stand on the chair. A 1-point deduction should
be made in the Visual section for standing on the chair.)
2. One table and two chairs may be used in Duets.
(Do not stand, sit, or lie on the table. Do not stand on the chairs.
A 1-point deduction should be made in the Visual section for standing,
sitting, or lying on the table.)
*Anything you were born with is NOT a prop and may be
used (eyes, ears, hair, toes, etc.) if you were not born with it,
it IS a prop and may not be used (glasses, shoes, pockets, etc.)
12. If a child is having trouble with the rate of the speech or
diction, have him/her record the speech to hear the errors and then
work to improve it. Also working in front of a mirror will often
make a child more aware of his actions or facial expressions.
13. Try to give each member of the team an opportunity to perform
in front of an audience before the meet. This will help lessen nervousness
and will also give the child a chance to hear another opinion about
his/her speech. It might also give you an opportunity to receive
some fresh insights from other teachers on what could be improved.
Besides this, if the other teachers are making the same comments
as you have been making, the child may realize that you are not
just singling him/her out.
14. Explain to the students, before they go to the meet, the judging
procedures. Show them a sample ballot – it will lessen tension
before the meet.
15. All actions should be an integral part of the speech, seeming
to flow naturally with what is said. Help students to eliminate
stiffness and distractions such as swaying or excessive pacing.
16. Try to give your speech people some special recognition. Make
them proud to be on your team. The principal announcing the results
of meet is one way. Participation in the Christmas program, a performance
at the Mothers’ Club – any opportunity that will give
them a chance to display their talents can be used. Another method
might be special certificates issued at the end of the year for
the work done in speech.
17. Don’t stress the ribbons as their goal – but stress
doing the best job possible. If too much stress is placed on ribbons,
the student becomes disappointed if he/she doesn’t receive
the top color.