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How to improve our team 
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Joined: Tue Jan 17, 2012
Posts: 3
Location: St. Louis
Post How to improve our team
Our team this year has few people who can compete on a varsity level at all, but a ton of people who show up sometimes but can barely play competitively on a JV or novice level. The problem is that the varsity-capable people are mostly seniors and a few juniors.

A few questions:
    How do we get people to show up consistently to practice?
    How do we improve the skill of the team as a whole?
    How do we get people to go to Quiz Bowl tournaments over Speech and Debate tournaments?
    Do you have any advice for convincing people to sign up for tournaments?
    How do we improve the level at which the team can practice, while still having practice be challenging to varsity players?

Thank you


Tue Nov 19, 2013 8:51 am
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Joined: Thu Apr 22, 2004
Posts: 5618
Location: Riding a Mule down the Katy Trail to the State Fair
Post Re: How to improve our team
I'll post a response in the hopes of reviving this thread and thus attempt to draw the attention of more experienced persons to provide their responses.

Quote:
How do we get people to show up consistently to practice?

Quote:
How do we improve the level at which the team can practice, while still having practice be challenging to varsity players?

If attendance is an issue, you might want to consider having two different types of practice a week. Have one where everyone attends, and practice answering easier questions. To avoid having your most experienced varsity players blitz JV players out of interest, rotate moderating duties - this gives the varsity players added experience of moderating, which will come in very helpful when the time comes to host and assist at other tournaments. (I'd also establish a gentlepersons' agreement amongst the varsity to not buzz before the question's done, but that might be too onery to carry out.) While you have one practice for all players, arrange a second practice principally for varsity. Encourage the JV to attend, but don't mandate it. The second practice would be pretty much what you have now amongst your varsity players. Having a more accessible practice geared for JV, co-run by varsity, could help encourage attendance.

Additionally, I'd say not making your practices too long. A former coach told me years ago that his practices wouldn't last more than 75 minutes. In my playing days (back when we used Kodachrome to take our state championship team photos) we had two, 2-hour practices. It was some good opportunities to bond with teammates, but in terms of time-effectiveness it was about the same as a narrowly focused practice of slightly shorter length.

Quote:
How do we improve the skill of the team as a whole?

I was raised in the old school where list memorization was the main method of outside preparation, and we had quizzes at the beginning of each practice. You could do quizzes, or rapid-fire questions from the lists. One major caveat: with pyramidal questions, typically this only helps with the second-half of tossups. The best teams are going to have someone that knows a particular plot twist, historical quirk or chemical formula that's going to enable them to claim the potential power. You're going to need to encourage your peers to expand their horizons: read voraciously, take copious notes during class, pay attention to the credits at the beginning of TV shows (yes I did power a tossup that way).

Quote:
How do we get people to go to Quiz Bowl tournaments over Speech and Debate tournaments?

If memory serves me correctly, attending quiz bowl tournaments should also count for NFL participating points. I'd check with pertinent sponsors on that. That may prove to be an attractive option for players who aren't getting as much competition time at speech/debate/forensic tournaments.

Quote:
Do you have any advice for convincing people to sign up for tournaments?

You should be able to convince your activities director that students participating in quiz bowl qualify to receive a letter (if you aren't already - if you have a stubborn AD that won't consider it despite letters being available for orchestra, debate, etc., go to the next level!) Having your advisor establish guidelines to earn a letter could provide an additional incentive for your peers to participate.

An entry-level or open practice would help get people interested and eventually get the training wheels off.

There are several other ideas worth floating, so I'll leave this as an opening suggestion. Other thoughts, folks?


Mon Jan 13, 2014 8:01 am
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Joined: Tue Mar 08, 2011
Posts: 94
Location: St. Louis, MO
Post Re: How to improve our team
On a personal level, reading packets is the best way to get better quickly, in my experience. While this kind of practice alone won't make your team competitive at the top national level, it's the best way to rise through the ranks on the local circuit very quickly.

At the team level, we've tried multiple different approaches at Oakville. We've tried presentations, research, a nifty little tool called Protobowl, and some other things, too. In my opinion, the best way to get people excited about quizbowl is by first finding what people enjoy (say, science or history) and then having them do research on those topics. This is where Protobowl comes in handy; you can sort questions by topic to streamline this specialization process. However, if you're going to use Protobowl, it would be in your best interest to make your own private lobby by adding a slash and lobby name after the original url (for example, protobowl.com/ClaytonQuizBowl). This allows you to control how fast you want the game to go. At first, go slowly and learn the important clues, then go back and learn the harder lead-in clues.

Obviously, this is all dependent on how much work your teammates want to put in for this activity, but hopefully this helps.


Mon Jan 13, 2014 7:06 pm
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