Over-Buzzing Problem

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Bolt52
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Over-Buzzing Problem

Post by Bolt52 » Mon Mar 03, 2014 12:30 am

Eleanor Roosevelt High School is a regrowing team in our region and honestly has some of the toughest competition in the nation, literally no more than 20 miles from Richard Montgomery, Oakland Mills, Quince Orchard, and Walter Johnson - all teams in the top 200. Even so, ERHS has been able to reach 2nd place in two tournaments thus far this year, however one major thing that holds us back is an over-buzzing problem. Often I find myself buzzing excessively - resulting in too many negs and then forcing my other teammates, who many have known the answer, to sit and be forced to watch the other team get a free question. It is not always me, but a lot of times I feel like playing so aggressive makes us lose games that we otherwise should have won.

I want to ask, is there any technique that anyone has to get over an over-buzzing/aggression problem that is hurting both my performance and negatively affecting the team? Thanks in advance!
Last edited by Bolt52 on Tue Apr 08, 2014 7:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Over-Buzzing Problem

Post by The Bold Ideas of Bernie Sanders (I-VT) » Mon Mar 03, 2014 12:37 am

A technique which has been used to great success in the past is wait one clue after you're "sure" of the answer, and then buzz.
Last edited by The Bold Ideas of Bernie Sanders (I-VT) on Wed Apr 09, 2014 6:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Over-Buzzing Problem

Post by Guile Island » Mon Mar 03, 2014 1:27 am

Go with the flow of the game. If you're down big, you probably need to be a bit more aggressive with your buzzes, but if you're holding on to a small lead or playing a close match, that's when negs like that really start to hurt. Curbing negging is really something one has to consciously focus on, and this is coming from somebody who has won many, many neg prizes in the past.
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Re: Over-Buzzing Problem

Post by Beevor Feevor » Mon Mar 03, 2014 9:27 am

Yeah, focusing on your negging really helps bring it down; although you may not be getting all the tossups really really early, you'll still be converting them, which is the important part. It's more important to get tossups than to power, so if there's no need to power, I'm a believer that you really shouldn't be playing aggressively unless you have the need to.

In addition, you should always keep in mind the difficulty of the questions that you're playing on. On easier sets, the canon is relatively small, so most of the answer-lines will be fairly standard fare. That applies for basically all of high school difficulty. However, when you start getting to the harder HS sets (HFT, the IS state championship set) and nationals-level questions, you may see your neg rates go up a fair bit due to the shift in difficulty. Don't worry too much, that's normal! Just make sure to either get deep knowledge to ensure your knowledge carries over to higher levels, wait a little longer in expecting some fairly non-standard answer lines, and maybe play a little more conservatively to get that assured 10 rather than that feel-good 15.
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Re: Over-Buzzing Problem

Post by Smith » Sat Jun 07, 2014 11:51 pm

What my team does in practice (we had a pretty big problem with this too) is anyone who negged in practice would go to the neg jail. They would stay there for 2 or 3 tossups, and couldn't participate in the following questions. Not only does this disincentive them from negging because they get bored and left out, they also really let down their team.
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Re: Over-Buzzing Problem

Post by gustavus.adolphus » Sun Jun 08, 2014 2:33 pm

Smith wrote:What my team does in practice (we had a pretty big problem with this too) is anyone who negged in practice would go to the neg jail. They would stay there for 2 or 3 tossups, and couldn't participate in the following questions. Not only does this disincentive them from negging because they get bored and left out, they also really let down their team.
At our team, we have the exact opposite problem. People neg, and then they feel bad about negging so they don't buzz in the next question. This is especially bad in Kansas QB, as all the questions of the same category are right after one another. Therefore, if our Lit-specialist negs the first question, they should still be interested and paying attention to the next tossup.
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Re: Over-Buzzing Problem

Post by vishdog101 » Mon Jan 25, 2016 12:44 pm

Bolt52 wrote:Eleanor Roosevelt High School is a regrowing team in our region and honestly has some of the toughest competition in the nation, literally no more than 20 miles from Richard Montgomery, Oakland Mills, Quince Orchard, and Walter Johnson - all teams in the top 200
You're lucky that these "top 200" teams usually are in and out of the top 200 varying on their squad, and at least you don't have St.Marks, St.Marks Plano, Cistercian, and LASA breathing down your neck with three teams a piece, maybe even four ready to rip any tournament to shreds. This is why Texas is so ungodly to newer teams. That, and Chris Romero's mercurial attitude.
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Re: Over-Buzzing Problem

Post by Monstruos de Bolsillo » Sun Jan 31, 2016 8:10 pm

I would not put it that way. MD/DC is home to quite a number of good teams, including some powerhouses. While Texas is insanely strong, there are plenty of great schools in other circuits.

At that point in time, Richard Montgomery A was 14, Walter Johnson was 29, Oakland Mills was 30. Blair was 33, GDS was 34. Centennial A was not far behind. These were the Morlan rankings from 3/16/14. Don't discount the level of competition in the MD/DC region. While LASA A was ungodly, (as was LASA B), every circuit has its powerhouses. This doesn't even take into account some of the VA schools, namely Maggie Walker.

As to the topic of the thread, myself and my team also have to cut down on the negs, especially on the lower-difficulty sets. They have cost us some games, and it's not fun looking back, knowing the point swing would have put the game in your favor. My plan is to keep learning, and take a small pause before my answer to avoid a stupid mistake.
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Re: Over-Buzzing Problem

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Sun Jan 31, 2016 11:17 pm

In college I had a teammate who was notorious for negging excessively. I experimented with various techniques to help him. Once, I made him sign an index card saying "I promise not to neg". He negged the very next tossup he heard after signing that card.

I had more luck with a system where I would take the spare change out of my pocket, put it in front of him, and say it was his at the end of the game if he didn't neg once. (I didn't have a credit card in college, so I always had tons of spare change from living an all-cash lifestyle). If he didn't neg, not only would I let him keep the cash, I would put a larger amount of cash on the table for the next game. Once he didn't neg for like 4 rounds straight and I put a shiny Sacajawea dollar in front of him for the 5th round, but alas he negged.

These small amounts of cash made as little of a material difference to him as they did to me, but humans can be tricked into doing all sorts of things if you make it worth a prize or award or trophy, even if its a valueless one. People in quizbowl, after all, have already decided that they will spend lots of time on an activity with pretty low-value prizes.
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Re: Over-Buzzing Problem

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Sun Jan 31, 2016 11:28 pm

Anyway, some more serious advice below:

(1) this may be a grass is greener problem for you. You may be beating yourself up for negging too much, but I assure you there are people out there beating themselves up for not buzzing or for being too cautious. I was never an aggressive player, and if I were to make a list of my top 10 regrets from my quizbowl career, almost all 10 of them would be "not buzzing in that one time I knew the answer but wasn't totally sure". Sure, knowing it and not buzzing is a more silent suffering - nobody will ridicule you and nobody knows - but knowing that you lost your team the game because you didn't buzz in is a really bad feeling that can linger a long time.

(2) many quizbowl problems can be solved by simply studying more and learning new things. The more you know, the less you'll be in situations where you feel you need to buzz aggressively to win, and the better you'll be at processing early clues, contextualizing the answer, and therefore narrowing it down to a smaller set of possible answers
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Re: Over-Buzzing Problem

Post by Your Genie Felon, Me » Mon Feb 01, 2016 12:17 am

Skepticism and Animal Feed wrote:(2) many quizbowl problems can be solved by simply studying more and learning new things. The more you know, the less you'll be in situations where you feel you need to buzz aggressively to win, and the better you'll be at processing early clues, contextualizing the answer, and therefore narrowing it down to a smaller set of possible answers
This is absolutely true. The goal is just to know as many clues as possible really well (through some review system like carding and the like) because if you know a clue, you basically won't neg on it. Buzzer discipline is still a problem regardless of this mentality, since you're unlikely to ever learn every single clue possible (e.g. ACF Nats), but using that goal will definitely cut down on negs, anyway. And after all, once one gets to the place where you know tons of clues, what a high level player does is buzz as soon as they know they SHOULD know the clue and just say whatever they think. As long as you know as much as possible, you'll definitely neg some, but you'll also be getting many many points in return for the risk you take. You're essentially buzzing with a belief in yourself to know the clue because you recognize it and you should know it. This only really works if you're studying as much as you should, of course, but it pays off.
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Re: Over-Buzzing Problem

Post by Habitat_Against_Humanity » Mon Feb 01, 2016 12:20 am

Skepticism and Animal Feed wrote:In college I had a teammate who was notorious for negging excessively. I experimented with various techniques to help him. Once, I made him sign an index card saying "I promise not to neg". He negged the very next tossup he heard after signing that card.

I had more luck with a system where I would take the spare change out of my pocket, put it in front of him, and say it was his at the end of the game if he didn't neg once. (I didn't have a credit card in college, so I always had tons of spare change from living an all-cash lifestyle). If he didn't neg, not only would I let him keep the cash, I would put a larger amount of cash on the table for the next game. Once he didn't neg for like 4 rounds straight and I put a shiny Sacajawea dollar in front of him for the 5th round, but alas he negged.

These small amounts of cash made as little of a material difference to him as they did to me, but humans can be tricked into doing all sorts of things if you make it worth a prize or award or trophy, even if its a valueless one. People in quizbowl, after all, have already decided that they will spend lots of time on an activity with pretty low-value prizes.
I found that index card a year or so ago in a bunch of assorted UChicago stuff in my bedroom! FWIW, said teammate was not me and I believe the tournament at which this happened was Chicago's last CBI tournament in spring of 06.
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Re: Over-Buzzing Problem

Post by AKKOLADE » Fri Jun 03, 2016 10:33 pm

Skepticism and Animal Feed wrote:In college I had a teammate who was notorious for negging excessively. I experimented with various techniques to help him. Once, I made him sign an index card saying "I promise not to neg". He negged the very next tossup he heard after signing that card.

I had more luck with a system where I would take the spare change out of my pocket, put it in front of him, and say it was his at the end of the game if he didn't neg once. (I didn't have a credit card in college, so I always had tons of spare change from living an all-cash lifestyle). If he didn't neg, not only would I let him keep the cash, I would put a larger amount of cash on the table for the next game. Once he didn't neg for like 4 rounds straight and I put a shiny Sacajawea dollar in front of him for the 5th round, but alas he negged.

These small amounts of cash made as little of a material difference to him as they did to me, but humans can be tricked into doing all sorts of things if you make it worth a prize or award or trophy, even if its a valueless one. People in quizbowl, after all, have already decided that they will spend lots of time on an activity with pretty low-value prizes.
I'm trolling back through this forum, but this is a really good idea.
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Re: Over-Buzzing Problem

Post by ScottF » Fri Jul 08, 2016 7:28 pm

For the past two years I've had a player who averaged 2+ negs per round. That's potentially a 190 point swing just from one player. Coincidentally he was also one of our top two players this year.
This might be oversimplifying, but at the last warm-up tournament of the year and at nationals I didn't allow him to hold his buzzer. The 1/4 of a second it took him to reach for his buzzer gave him enough time to reconsider his answer. Did it work 100%? Of course not, but it did help.
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