READ the Challenge Guide, it gives you direction in what the challenge is about, plus valuable tips & resources to check out. Start on it right away!
Robot Performance & Technical:
If you kids are new to Mindstorms robotics, before you tackle the robot performance, teach them basic robotic building & coding. After they show some confidence & understanding have them put the field models together, discuss strategy, decide on a robot chassis or two, and then let them take it from there.
Here are a couple of excellent links that will be helpful to the rookie teams:
Videos on EV3 Programming:
Videos on Building with EV3 & FLL tips:
Have the work on a Core Value or two each practice - explaining how it relates to their team, gathering pictures, ideas for their team board display, and possibly working on a song, skit, demo, etc.
I have been asked by rookie coaches, what is the role of the coach? FIRST is a fun learning experience, however, the kids need a foundation; the coach should be teaching them or reviewing the basic skills (how to build a simple chassis, basic programming, how to keep an engineer's notebook, how to do an experiment, note-taking, how to write a summary, how to do a blog, etc.) that they need to then go on and learn/make their own decisions/discover by doing. The coach's role after that is mainly management and directing the team on how to do problem solving & where to possibly go for answers. A coach doesn't just hand the team a kit, the guide, & say "go for it," because then they will not learn as much as they should from the FIRST experience.