Setting up team for success & dealing with internal issues

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Fate/Gilgamesh
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Setting up team for success & dealing with internal issues

Post by Fate/Gilgamesh » Sat Aug 04, 2018 9:48 pm

So, at the moment I'm a high school quiz bowl captain in need of some serious advice. Just for context's sake, I'm from a small school (K-12, around 100 students in all of the grades). Due to that, I obviously have a very small team, or to put it more specifically, if one of them is sick before a tournament, we're dead meat. I'm entering tenth grade along with the rest of my team. Last year, I was very enthusiastic, spending basically my entire summer studying for quiz bowl. However, now I'm more apprehensive. The first reason is that I was originally very ambitious about my team's future. Unfortunately, most of my team mates were not very interested in hard-core studying. That would, of course, be fine if we were in a bigger school, because then they could relax and enjoy the atmosphere of the B-team. However, as my school is really small, we need all hands on deck. Due to this, at tournaments we've ended up in a rather lopsided situation with regards to scoring. I and one other person on my team (I'll call him M for anonymity) have both been getting power in our respective categories. Otherwise, our team has been falling apart. So I suppose my first question is how to motivate the other members of my team to study, so we can be a successful group.
My second issue is M. As I mentioned earlier, I was originally ecstatic at the possibility of high school quiz bowl. I was jumping for joy when our coach appointed me as captain. I didn't expect the problems that followed. It turned out that M wanted to be captain. Instead of telling me about it, he started creating friction in the team. I only found out when I accidentally heard him arguing with our coach about it. The real problem is that M might be the more popular member of the team (it's an all-boy team, except for me). Due to that, I've been wondering if I should give him the captain's position. After all, being captain isn't really a big deal--what really matters is to do what's right for the team. However, M is fairly disorganized in the school environment, and has faced being taken off the quiz bowl team before due to that. I don't want to risk that situation if he's captain. Also, I'm worried about what actions will follow, should he become captain. I was captain of our team in middle school (just for context, it was a local-level quiz bowl team playing at a local annual arena tournament). Our teacher signed us up for another small-scale arena tournament in a different county in eighth grade, and seeing that he wanted the captain's spot, I talked to the teacher in private, and she assigned it to him. The end result was that he demoted me, and didn't recognize any of my answers, resulting in our almost getting second place in the tournament. I talked to the coach, and he told me not to give up the captain's position, and that M is going through a phase and it'll get better. Still, the team is having serious issues and M is making it worse. I also worry about getting him angry, as he's the only other good player on the team, and if he leaves, we're dead. It's gotten so bad that I'm considering quitting quiz bowl, which I really do not want to do (it's the only academic club in my entire school), and I still want to compete in it--just maybe not with the team mates I have now.
Does anyone have any tips on how I should handle M? Should I give up my captain's position? And also, how can I help my team succeed? And just for fun, does anyone have tips on attracting new members without being nerdy to the point of scaring away people?
Francesca Rahe
Hillsdale Academy (class of 2021)
Quiz Bowl Captain

joshxu
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Re: Setting up team for success & dealing with internal issu

Post by joshxu » Wed Aug 08, 2018 3:02 pm

https://www.naqt.com/how-to/improve-as-a-player.html

This NAQT article has many tips on how to succeed as well as links to study resources. Understandably, some of them (namely, the ones you have to pay for) won't be as practical as others. Additionally, there are many other threads on the hsquizbowl.org forums that you may find helpful, which can mainly be found in the Theory, New High School Teams, and Best of the Best forums.
Fate/Gilgamesh wrote:After all, being captain isn't really a big deal--what really matters is to do what's right for the team. However, M is fairly disorganized in the school environment, and has faced being taken off the quiz bowl team before due to that. I don't want to risk that situation if he's captain. Also, I'm worried about what actions will follow, should he become captain. I was captain of our team in middle school (just for context, it was a local-level quiz bowl team playing at a local annual arena tournament). Our teacher signed us up for another small-scale arena tournament in a different county in eighth grade, and seeing that he wanted the captain's spot, I talked to the teacher in private, and she assigned it to him. The end result was that he demoted me, and didn't recognize any of my answers, resulting in our almost getting second place in the tournament.
From how you've described the situation, being the captain of your team is going to be a big deal. If M is the captain and he won't ever defer to you, then moderators will only recognize what [incorrect answers] he says. That being said, I think you should continue to be the captain.
Josh Xu

Santa Monica High School (Class of 2021)
Quiz Bowl Captain
Self-proclaimed "Club President"

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Re: Setting up team for success & dealing with internal issu

Post by Deviant Insider » Wed Aug 08, 2018 4:01 pm

I don't know to what extent you have already tried this, but it would be a good idea to tell your coach that you want to meet with him to discuss the team going into this year. I would recommend going in with an open mind and being honest, and seeing where the discussion goes. It is unfortunate that you are in this difficult position.
David Reinstein
Head Writer and Editor for Scobol Solo and Masonics (Illinois), TD for New Trier Scobol Solo and New Trier Varsity, Writer for NAQT (2011-2017), IHSSBCA Board Member, IHSSBCA Chair (2004-2014), PACE Member, PACE President (2016-2018), New Trier Coach (1994-2011)

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Re: Setting up team for success & dealing with internal issu

Post by cthewolf » Thu Aug 09, 2018 7:12 pm

I had a similar situation last year, and I actually ended up quitting the team for several months. I came back mostly because of my friends on the team. In fact, I was still playing Science Bowl with our science player and History Bowl with our two historians. When I returned, I went in with a mentality of not worrying about official roles and just working for the betterment of the team.

My situation seems to differ from yours in that I had/have a very good relationship with the other scorers on the team and other players as well. I think that the most important thing for your team is to have a conversation with everyone, including the coach and all players, and to allow M and the rest of the team to explain their point of view. You should also explain your concerns about your answers being ignored and such. Whether you agree or not, it's better that everyone hears each other's concerns rather than have players individually complain to the coach. It's very important that you ask the coach to call this meeting as he or she is the authority figure.

I think you should also seriously consider being co-captains. I don't know if this is a thing at your school, but you could also be club president and captain.

Lastly, you won't be able to effectively encourage your teammates to improve unless you have a understanding about how each of you feel. Once you've solved such issues, good methods are setting goals, leading by example, and praising efforts to improve.
Christy Jestin
Boston Latin School '20
Team Mascot

Fate/Gilgamesh
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Re: Setting up team for success & dealing with internal issu

Post by Fate/Gilgamesh » Thu Aug 09, 2018 10:21 pm

Thanks a ton everyone for all of the advice--trust me, it's really appreciated.
I did go to talk to the coach about it directly after I learned M wanted to be captain, and he told me very clearly not to give up the spot unless I thought it was the right thing for the team, while stating that he, as the coach, thought that I shouldn't give it up. Due to that, and due to all of your advice, I probably won't give up my position. However, I do like the idea of talking with the coach and calling a team meeting. While M and I do not have a particularly good relationship, things are mildly better with the rest of my teammates (by which I mean it varies person to person, and while none of us are best friends, there's no extreme hostility). I'd like to hear everyone's side of things due to the fact that I think it'll help the coach get a better idea of what the relationships on our team are right now, as well as help me to figure out how I can help my teammates going forward. I also like the co-captain idea, as it seems like a nice compromise. If we're co-captains, it'll prevent M from ignoring my answers while also providing him with the position he wants. The only possible flaw I can see with that is how ludicrous it'll be to have two captains on such a small team. Not to mention the fact that I doubt M will agree to it. Still, it's a solid idea, and it might help me a lot. All in all, you guys have really assisted me a lot! Thanks a ton for the input, and I'll chat with the coach about a team meeting!
Francesca Rahe
Hillsdale Academy (class of 2021)
Quiz Bowl Captain

Joshua Rutsky
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Re: Setting up team for success & dealing with internal issues

Post by Joshua Rutsky » Sun Oct 07, 2018 3:38 pm

Francesca, not to take away from your solution or to bring more problems in, but your situation (the only female player on a team of male players, with issues with a male player who feels like he should be captain), is an all-too-common one faced by women in quizbowl. In addition to the good advice you've gotten here, I would encourage you to reach out to other female players, either here on the boards or in your own area, in order to get support from others who have been in your shoes. There is a lot of discussion at the moment about the state of "women in quizbowl" and the unique issues they face, and no one can give you better advice than a peer in this regard.
Joshua Rutsky
Coach, Hoover High School, Hoover, AL
Member of the Qwiz Team!

Fate/Gilgamesh
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Re: Setting up team for success & dealing with internal issues

Post by Fate/Gilgamesh » Sun Dec 09, 2018 1:36 pm

It's been a while, so I'd just like to update all the people who helped on how things are going. Your advice was all super useful! I checked with the team mates and worked on having regular practice sessions, all of which helped. So far, our relationship as a team is a lot smoother. I've been holding weekend practices at my house, and they've assisted us a lot with studying. I'm still having some issues with M, but I've decided to let it go for the mean time. Over all, I'm not facing as many problems as last year. Anyhow, thanks for all of your help--and I'll check out the female Quiz Bowl community!
Francesca Rahe
Hillsdale Academy (class of 2021)
Quiz Bowl Captain

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