I recently received this question through the contact form on my blog and thought it might be helpful to answer publically. Mostly because it’s a bit of a complicated answer.
The terms “coach” and “team” are used a couple of different ways in reference to the National Cyber League games and I think this is where things can get confusing.
So for team, in NCL, you have:
- Team (school) – the group you train with, usually the entire group from your school and/or neighboring schools that get together for practice. An example of this was when I had 40 (ish) members on my Westchester Community College Team. It was composed of every member of our school who was competing in the competition and who trained together.
- Team (competition) – the group you compete with in the NCL post-season game. Using the same season above, (when team sizes were 5-10 players), we had 4 separate teams continue to the post-season competition. It would not be until this point that you are allowed to work with your team during the competition. That being said, these teams would not be able to work together even though they are from the same school. They are essentially competing against each other for the post-season competition. This is the only type of team where you are limited to no more than one. You CANNOT be on multiple teams even within your school.
- Team (Cyber Skyline) – ok, so internally, within Cyber Skyline, this one isn’t actually called a “team”, but I think people will use the term team here so I want to address it. This “team,” actually called a group, is the group composed of every person registered under a specific coach through the Cyber Skyline portal. As someone who now guest-coaches at multiple schools, I have a very large team composed of multiple individuals from various teams across all of NCL including some stray competitors who just want to rank up against other students I have worked with. To join this team, you just have to use my coaches link (then “Join”) to enter Cyber Skyline at any point after creating your account.
And for coach, you have:
- Coach (school) – the person who teaches you the necessary skills and offers guidance as you prepare for the competition. Or, as good old Webster defines it, the person who instructs, directs, or teaches you. You can have an unlimited number of lecturers, instructors, and tutors act as a coach by teaching you skills. (Actually, every cybersecurity class you take makes that instructor one of your coaches even if they don’t know that NCL exits!)
- Coach (Cyber Skyline) – the person in the Cyber Skyline portal with access to your game stats and scores. This kind of instructor will need their own log in for the Cyber Skyline portal. Now, it’s my understanding that you do not NEED this kind of coach necessarily, but it’s best practice to find at least one instructor at your school that is willing to oversee your participation (especially if you are accused of cheating in which case you will absolutely need an instructor coach to participate in the review process). Here again, it’s my understanding that you can have an unlimited number of coaches of this type. For example, at Westchester Community College, we had two professors who oversaw the Cybersecurity Club. In order for them both to gain access to our scores, we used both coach’s links to join both “teams”. Also like I mentioned earlier, I act as a guest coach for a ton of students and they all join my “team.” While I am no longer the solo coach for any school, it’s nice to see how students do in the subject areas I worked with them.
So as you can see, it gets a bit confusing. But the short answer is that there are an unlimited number of coaches for any student. You can be on an unlimited number of teams for training, but during the actual post-season competition, you are limited to one team.
Hope this helps!