Spontaneous Problem Procedures
Teams should report to the spontaneous holding room 10 minutes
before the scheduled competition time. If there is no holding room,
teams report to the competition site 10 minutes before the scheduled time
and wait quietly for further instruction. Only one coach may accompany
the team into the holding room.
One team member will register the team, giving its long-term problem
and division, the team membership name and number. Team members
will wait in the holding room until a judge calls them. A judge will then
accompany the team members to the spontaneous problem room. The
coach will remain in a designated area and wait for the team.
All team members are allowed to enter the spontaneous room. A
judge will give the type of problem the team must solve: verbal, handson,
or verbal/hands-on. The team members will then have one minute to
decide among themselves which five members will compete. The nonparticipating
members may remain and watch or they may choose to
leave the room. If they remain, they must not talk, signal, or intervene in
any way, otherwise they will be warned and/or asked to leave. The
team's competition time will continue. If a team has five or fewer members
at competition, all must participate in spontaneous. Teams with fewer
than five members may be at a disadvantage in the Spontaneous portion of
Teams should listen carefully to the judge's directions, as every spontaneous
problem is different and specific rules for each individual problem
A judge places a copy of the problem in full view of the participating
team members and reads the problem aloud. The team may refer to
its copy of the problem as necessary. Once the judge finishes reading the
problem, he or she will say, "Begin," and time starts. The team members
may ask the judges questions, but time will continue. In some instances,
judges may tell the team that they cannot answer their specific question,
and may refer the team to the problem. Judges will try to clarify the problem
so the team members understand what the problem requires; however,
judges will not give information that helps solve the problem. In
verbal and/or verbal/hands-on problems the judges will use the following
Once competition is over the team must leave the room quietly and
meet the coach at the designated area. Teams must not discuss the spontaneous
problem with anyone until after the competition.
- If a team member speaks too fast or mumbles and the judges cannot
understand, the judges will say, "UNCLEAR. Please say it again."
- If a response does not make sense to the judges, or it is not acceptable,
they will say, "INAPPROPRIATE. Please clarify or give another
- If a response is a repeat of a previous response, the judges will say,
"DUPLICATE. Please give another response."
Spontaneous problems are not subject to the grievance process; however,
if a team has a concern, one team member should ask to speak to the
Spontaneous Problem Captain, who will then speak with the judges and
the entire team, if necessary.
~ Joy Kurtz
Int'l Spontaneous Problem Captain