Looking to start playing "Good Quizbowl"

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Looking to start playing "Good Quizbowl"

Postby Mcow2 » Sun Oct 09, 2016 9:02 am

I would like to start by giving some information on our school. We are a small (<500) non selective high school in New York who wants to get into "good quizbowl". Our school, due to our location has been participating in Qunlimited quizbowl for quite a while. We "won" second place in last year's NAC and a local high school invited us to try the Columbia Fall Quizbowl Tournament (Oct 8-16). We went in with moderate expextations, seeing as we lost all but one of our A team members, but we frankly got destroyed. We ended the day 2-7 having been baptized in fire. We didn't know what we getting into. We played High Tech (the team who referred us) , East Brunswick and Hunter (among others). Upon being 0-5 at lunch we decided to do some research about quizbowl and we were quite shocked at how uninformed we were. Not only did we find out that we weren't really playing QB, we also found out we were playing the best teams in the tristate area (including last year's champions). It wasn't a bad experience, but it encouraged us to do better and try this "good quizbowl". The High Tech team gave us some pointers (they were in the same boat) and directed us here for more information. So I have some questions.

My first question is: how do we study for quizbowl? Resources, subject areas, etc. Any information would be really helpful.

and My second question is: what are some local tournaments we can do to improve our skill and experience? National or local. Note that we are located just north of NYC.

Thanks for your replies. Although it'll be a hard transition, the team is motivated to try, and maybe we could be a respectable quizbowl team in a couple of years!
Michael Tu
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Re: Looking to start playing "Good Quizbowl"

Postby cchiego » Sun Oct 09, 2016 11:23 am

This is exactly the right attitude to have and it's great to hear that you took the right things out of your tournament experience yesterday! Many former NAC schools have joined the regular quizbowl circuit in recent years including past NAC powerhouses like Manheim Township, High Tech, and others. Although it may take a bit of adjustment, essentially every school that's quit the NAC has never looked back (though it sounds like Westchester County's local tournaments might not be there yet).

From what you've said, it sounds like you're Briarcliff HS. As a small public school, you'd also be eligible for NAQT's Small School National Championships as well as the HSNCT. I'd strongly recommend trying to qualify for and attend at least one of those nationals as a good goal to strive for at this time.

There are plenty of tournaments within the PA-NJ-NY-CT area. Here's the NY/NJ schedule, and here's the PA regional schedule. It's short notice, but next weekend there's a tournament at Delaware Valley HS that's just an hour away from y'all. There are also many tournaments in Southeastern PA, including Philadelphia, coming up soon. The more experience, the better (especially if you keep a notebook while playing and look things that you missed up later--chances are solid that there'll be a question about that topic again at the next tournament).

As far as techniques to improve, the key is to be aware of the resources that are out there and figure out the best way for your team to study. Look through some of the "theory" areas on this board as well and other advice for newer teams in how to study. If you can get all your team members and sponsor on board with this, it'll definitely get easier over time. Best of luck!
Last edited by cchiego on Sun Oct 09, 2016 11:25 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Looking to start playing "Good Quizbowl"

Postby Deviant Insider » Sun Oct 09, 2016 11:24 am

Welcome to the boards! We are glad you're here.

I'll let people farther east than me (like Chris) answer your second question.

As to the first, a good place to start is the High School Quizbowl Packet Archive. By reading through packets, you can learn what comes up and how the questions are structured. If you have any questions about why questions are set up the way they are, just ask, and we can go into detail on that.

Once you know what comes up, you need to do some studying outside of the questions themselves. If you have several people on your team interested in doing well, then specialization is a big help. The big areas are literature, history, science, and fine arts. If you can get one person on your team to focus on each of those areas, then you can improve quickly. If it's just one or two of you willing to invest time, I suggest starting with literature and fine arts, since teams often show quick improvement in those areas. Read questions to see what artists and writers are common topics, and learn about those artists and writers. Keep in mind that questions focus on the works of those artists and writers, while encyclopedia articles often focus on their lives, so you have to find a way to learn about their works. If you want to see what comes up in questions on a particular topic, use Quinterest.

Keep in mind that this is a community in which we support each other even though we also compete against each other. We want to help you, and you should not hesitate to ask questions.
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Re: Looking to start playing "Good Quizbowl"

Postby 100% Clean Comedian Dan Nainan » Sun Oct 09, 2016 4:31 pm

As someone who went to a school that was in a similar position to your's a few years ago (albeit in a much less competitive region), I would strongly encourage you guys to attempt to qualify for and attend NAQT's Small School National Championship Tournament (SSNCT). At the time, we really didn't play much quizbowl at all, good or bad. Being able to attend SSNCT that year was really good for our team, since we knew we weren't ready for HSNCT, and the SSNCT is much easier to qualify for and allows you to play teams from schools of similar constraints to yours, while also experiencing the atmosphere of a national tournament and seeing a few really great teams who are also competitive at HSNCT. I hope this helps!
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Re: Looking to start playing "Good Quizbowl"

Postby bretthogan43 » Sun Oct 09, 2016 5:57 pm

I'm assuming you're the team coach, so correct me if I'm wrong. But to throw in my tidbit of advice, just be as into the game as your players are. Get excited about it. That helps more than anything. If you can get them going to a decent amount of tournaments, then that experience adds up- and in a good year or two you'll have younger players coming up that are on a competitive scale with anyone that you'll face. I'm sure you've read all the replies above me on what all tournaments to go to in your area. Also, get your team to take notes on what answers come up at tournaments and then study hard during the off time. Befriend the pro coaches and players and pick their brains if you have the chance to do so. The quizbowl community is one that is always eager to accept a new member into the family and we are happy about your addition!
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Re: Looking to start playing "Good Quizbowl"

Postby Mcow2 » Sun Oct 09, 2016 6:46 pm

bretthogan43 wrote:I'm assuming you're the team coach, so correct me if I'm wrong. But to throw in my tidbit of advice, just be as into the game as your players are. Get excited about it. That helps more than anything. If you can get them going to a decent amount of tournaments, then that experience adds up- and in a good year or two you'll have younger players coming up that are on a competitive scale with anyone that you'll face. I'm sure you've read all the replies above me on what all tournaments to go to in your area. Also, get your team to take notes on what answers come up at tournaments and then study hard during the off time. Befriend the pro coaches and players and pick their brains if you have the chance to do so. The quizbowl community is one that is always eager to accept a new member into the family and we are happy about your addition!


I'm actually just team captain/representative. We are very excited, but also very motivated to improve since we can only go up from here. Thanks for the kind words, although I'll be gone after my 4 years are over, we have a enthusiast coach who will be here for much longer.
Michael Tu
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Re: Looking to start playing "Good Quizbowl"

Postby Mcow2 » Sun Oct 09, 2016 7:56 pm

cchiego wrote:This is exactly the right attitude to have and it's great to hear that you took the right things out of your tournament experience yesterday! Many former NAC schools have joined the regular quizbowl circuit in recent years including past NAC powerhouses like Manheim Township, High Tech, and others. Although it may take a bit of adjustment, essentially every school that's quit the NAC has never looked back (though it sounds like Westchester County's local tournaments might not be there yet).

From what you've said, it sounds like you're Briarcliff HS. As a small public school, you'd also be eligible for NAQT's Small School National Championships as well as the HSNCT. I'd strongly recommend trying to qualify for and attend at least one of those nationals as a good goal to strive for at this time.

There are plenty of tournaments within the PA-NJ-NY-CT area. Here's the NY/NJ schedule, and here's the PA regional schedule. It's short notice, but next weekend there's a tournament at Delaware Valley HS that's just an hour away from y'all. There are also many tournaments in Southeastern PA, including Philadelphia, coming up soon. The more experience, the better (especially if you keep a notebook while playing and look things that you missed up later--chances are solid that there'll be a question about that topic again at the next tournament).

As far as techniques to improve, the key is to be aware of the resources that are out there and figure out the best way for your team to study. Look through some of the "theory" areas on this board as well and other advice for newer teams in how to study. If you can get all your team members and sponsor on board with this, it'll definitely get easier over time. Best of luck!



Thanks for the advice. We are indeed Briarcliff HS and we are indeed eligible for SSNCT, which we will likely try to compete in during the next couple of years. Admittedly, we were a little bit uneasy around teams like Hunter and LeHigh Valley, since they seemed to know everything there was to know about every question and some of their players' 'elitist' attitude towards us, but it's reassuring to see that we can perhaps achieve a similar level of knowledge given a few years. It's true that many, if not all, of the teams in Westchester are still doing QU questions, so I guess we would be happy to convert a few teams in the next couple of years if this goes well. We will still be participating in the local WACKO tournaments hosted by WPHS and sponsored by QU, and likely be going to NAC, but we'll definitely focus on more tossup-bonus, pyramidal style questions in practice, as well as studying online. Next meeting we will definitely talk about GPQB, NAQT 'gotta know', PACE packets among other things.
Michael Tu
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Re: Looking to start playing "Good Quizbowl"

Postby Antonio777100 » Wed Oct 19, 2016 8:22 am

As someone from a school that plays both QU tournaments in Westchester and pyramidal quizbowl, I can say that how fast your team improves is based on how much effort you make to improve. It took a year and a half to get my team from 0-10 to 5-5. I'm proud of our progress and know that we can do better. The key to improving is to enjoy the learning process and just have fun with it.
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