Tournament MC Advice

Hello all,

I’m going to be MCing a FIRST LEGO LEAGUE tournament this weekend. Has anyone done anything like this before? Any tips/advice/things to keep in mind?

Thanks in advance!

I’ve done a few FIRST events.

Keep it positive all the time, make sure it’s about the teams and not you, and have fun with it. Stick to the basic script but try to be yourself with it.

And don’t walk in front of the speakers with the mic on.

jpk_7682 is the most knowledgeable about this, but I’ve done it before.

At most FLL events, like at most VRC events, your most important job is to be the clock for the event. The time from when one match ends until the next one starts is serious time - the MC is the main person responsible for making sure the next match starts as soon as possible by calling teams, making sure everybody is ready, and then doing the countdown (three, two, one, LEGO!). A really good MC will keep the atmosphere fun while doing this. You need to make sure that teams are ready for their matches, and if one team is slower than the others you need to make sure they know where they need to be, but it’s not a positive experience when MCs get frustrated and start nagging teams. If people at the event can sense that you aren’t enjoying yourself and just want to get to the end of the day as soon as possible then they’re likely to feel the same way.

While the matches are in progress, the time pressure is off. Your job then is to make things more entertaining and make teams feel good about their performance. As Jay said, be positive! Compliment teams for successful completion of tasks, for robot construction, and for anything else they do well like teamwork or cool uniforms. It’s good to congratulate teams for being near the top of the standings, but otherwise try to avoid comparing the performance of different teams. For the majority of teams, the fact that they made a robot that works is more important than where they rank. Similarly, I would recommend not mentioning the point values of completed tasks except in the case of the top teams, because it invites these comparisons.

Try to know the names of the things you’re talking about. It’s not a hard rule that you have to always use the correct names, and you can use different terms to add flavour to your commentary, but not knowing the name for something is one of the clearest giveaways that you don’t really know what’s going on and that makes it hard for people to take you seriously.

One last point - Unless you’re sure, it pays to avoid making absolute statements like “[team] has achieved [task]” because it can create a difficult situation for refs when they have to tell teams or spectators that actually you were wrong. If you qualify these kind of statements (e.g. “I think [team] has achieved [task]”) then you avoid this issue.