Info for Team Managers

*Information for Team Managers

Information Team Managers should know on a variety of topics.

Instant Challenges

To help teams learn basic structure concepts find Instant Challenges that involve building structures. You can do a web search and find some challenges. Destination ImagiNation® sells CD’s of practice Instant Challenges at ShopDI. There are usually Instant Challenges that involve building towers or bridges on each of these CD’s. You can also create your own building instant challenges.

Structure Tester, Weights and Weight Placement

  • A structure tester is needed to test structures. It is not interference for the Team Manager to construct or to have constructed the structure tester. Information on constructing a structure tester is available here: How To Build a Tester. If you are unable to build a Tester then check with your Regional Director. They may have an extra tester that you can borrow for testing. They may also be able to refer you to structure team managers who have a tester you can borrow or have access to. Please do not let your team come to tournament without having practiced with a structure tester at least once.
  • At tournament, structures are tested using Olympic style weights. These are metal weights that have a 2″ diameter hole. Teams that have worked structure for many years typically acquire their own weights. It can be difficult for new teams to come up with enough Olympic style weights to test their structure. One suggestion is to talk to the coaches at a local junior high or high school and ask if you can borrow weights. If they will not let you borrow the weights then they might allow the team to bring their structure tester to the school weight room and test the structures in the weight room. Your regional director might be able to direct you to seasoned structure team managers who have weights you can use.


  •  One Team Manager is allowed to assist Elementary or Middle Level teams in placement of weights that weigh 25 pounds or more. The Team Managers only job in this is to provide muscle. Selection of weights and how the weights are positioned and placed are the responsibility of the team. Refer to the challenge for additional information on this topic. A good general rule for the Team Manager to remember is that their hands should never be at the 3:00 and 9:00 positions on the weight. In this position the team manager has effective control of the entire weight. A better position would be for the Team Manager to have their hands positioned in the 8:00-4:00 position or even in a 7:00 – 5:00 position on the weight. When the team managers hands are in this position there is no question of whether the Team Manager has total control of the weight. Consult the current years challenge for additional information.

Team Managers hands (on right)
at 3:00 and 9:00 positions
(not a good position for TM hands)

Team Managers hands (on right)
at 7:00 and 4:00 positions
(good position for TM hands)

Cost saving ideas

  • Teams may Initially want to visit local Hobby Shops to purchase a variety of woods to experiment, test and build with. A trip to home improvement centers can also expose them to different woods. Once the team has decided what type and sizes of wood they wish to use it is generally cheaper to purchase from mail order suppliers. Check out the Additional Links page for links to various on-line suppliers of wood.
  • Teams using single edge razors should consider buying bulk razor blades. At most home improvement centers a box of ten razors cost $3.00 and a box of one hundred (100) razors cost $6.00.
  • Teams using CA glue can buy a one ounce bottle of de-bonder (recommended for any teams using CA Glues) for around $3.00. You can buy a quart of acetone (same product) for from $6.00 to $7.00
  • For scales you can check with your Junior High or High School Tech departments and see if they have gram scales that the team can borrow. Another source is to check with your local police department (many schools have site reps that you could contact) and see if they have confiscated gram scales that they could let the team use or have. Small battery operated pocket size gram scales can also be purchased on ebay for as low as $1.00 although you may pay $15 or more for shipping.

* Copied from: “Diary of a Balsa Goddess”  ©2009 Heather Compton

Diary of a Balsa Goddess by Heather Compton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

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