On the proper method to stop negging so much, 2019 edition

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On the proper method to stop negging so much, 2019 edition

Post by Scone » Sun Sep 29, 2019 1:34 pm

A few days ago, I was at a practice, and a tossup mentioning a material and a bunch of sculptures come up. I'm paraphrasing here, but the tossup ended like "...for 10 points, what metal has chromium added to it to make it-" When I heard that, I positively knew that the answer was steel because steel has chromium added to it to make stainless steel. So, I buzzed in and said, "iron".

These verbal mixups make up just a subset of my negs. For me personally, most of my negs come from reflex-buzzing on clues I think I know, hoping that I'll remember the answer within five seconds. Part of my issue is that in my mind, I think that if I don't play as aggressively as I do, I'll score less points and lose in buzzer races against people with faster reaction times than me. On tossups in my categories, I sometimes think, "I have to buzz here or else," and then I buzz and get it wrong.

Raynor Kuang made a post about this in 2013, and I really liked some of the suggestions offered there, but I want to open up the discussion again to hopefully answer the age-old question: How do I stop negging so much?
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Re: On the proper method to stop negging so much, 2019 edition

Post by hornetvtol » Sun Sep 29, 2019 6:50 pm

These sort of mixups are something almost every player encounters at some point. If you know the answer when you're buzzing in, then the point in the question at which you buzz in isn't really your problem. It seems to me that it's more an issue of not saying the wrong thing.
The best advice I've ever heard for dealing with that (and what I've repeated countless times to my teammates) is "You have 5 seconds to think about your answer. Use it."
So in short, make sure you're using more of the time you have to give the correct answer, instead of just rushing to get a word out.
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Re: On the proper method to stop negging so much, 2019 edition

Post by Cheynem » Sun Sep 29, 2019 7:26 pm

I've never been a particularly aggressive player, so this might not work for everyone, but you might also consider if your fears of a buzzer race are valid or not. One of the skills a quizbowler must learn is when not to buzz and be patient--you don't want to become too passive or get outbuzzed, but you also don't want to foolishly buzz too early and then realize you would still know the answer a few seconds later and still nobody has buzzed on the other team. Perhaps try not buzzing sometimes as well and see if you really are being outbuzzed.
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Re: On the proper method to stop negging so much, 2019 edition

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Mon Sep 30, 2019 10:44 am

I think there's a distinction between reaction time (how fast does your finger press the buzzer after your brain decides it is time to buzz) and recall time (how fast does your mouth say "The Dean's December" after your brain determines this is a novel set in Communist Romania).

My personal experience is that my reaction time got better and better the longer I played quizbowl. A dramatic improvement between my first and second semesters of sophomore year in high school, and then a linear progression after that. Given how young the OP is, I would definitely bank on his reaction time only getting better for the rest of his quizbowl career. If he is buzzing aggressively because he fears losing a buzzer race, I think the need to do that will naturally erode.

Recall time is different. As I got both older and better at quizbowl, I think my recall time declined. I don't know which of those factors to blame it on. I definitely had to use the strategy of saying, hey, I'm pretty sure I know this clue, and I am willing to bet 45 points that I can come up with it in 5 seconds. If quizbowl taught me one thing it's that 5 seconds is a lot of time.

Straight-up guessing, or trying to narrow the answers down to 2-3 possibilities and then guessing, becomes less and less viable the harder the questions get because of expanded answer spaces.
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