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New Guy to a "New" Team

Posted: Fri Jan 07, 2011 12:47 am
by North_GA_ATeam
Well, this account very well could have posted here before; I'm a new President for my University's Academic Bowl Team. Our team is only a year and a half old right now, so we're all pretty new to this whole thing.

Well, my basic question comes down to this: what should I know? I've been put in charge of planning and hosting two tournaments this semester: one for high school and one for college.

Any tips? Pointers?

I'm experienced in the style and rules. I've been an active member of a Quiz Bowl team for the past ten years, all the way from Elementary School to now. I've also read in tournaments that my school hosted last year. My basic questions come more from the administrative point of view rather than the competing or the reading point of view.

Of course, any pointers, tips, or advice will be more than welcomed.

Thanks in advanced!

Re: New Guy to a "New" Team

Posted: Fri Jan 07, 2011 1:17 am
by Masked Canadian History Bandit
This .pdf has been thrown around here before.

Re: New Guy to a "New" Team

Posted: Fri Jan 07, 2011 5:22 am
by cchiego
10 tips:

1. Prepare for every contingency. This is probably the hardest and most important job of a Tournament Director. What if 1 team doesn't show? What if 2 teams don't show? What if 3 don't show (this can happen if a school is sending 3 teams and decides not to come the night before)? What if a team calls that it'll be an hour late (make sure to provide your cell phone number to teams!)? What if an extra team or two that didn't register shows up? What if the doors are locked (and who do you call to get them open)? What happens if there's a snowstorm the night before and some team emails you at 4 AM saying they won't go? What if a buzzer breaks or a team forgets to bring one? What if a moderator reads the wrong round? What if the stats computer breaks down? What if the police show up asking questions? What if there's a heated protest? What if you suspect a team/player of cheating? All of these things have happened before. They will happen again. Planning is your best friend here.

2. Look at everything through the viewpoint of the teams as they arrive to the tournament. Will they know where to go? Do they know how to get there (signs can be very helpful)? Do they know who to approach to register? Do they know where the rooms are? Are there copies of the rules available (it can be helpful to have a printer on-site so you can print these things out if needed)? Do all the teams know what rules are being used (targeting newer-to-quizbowl teams with copies of the rules and brief oral explanation can be useful in saving time later)? Saving time for teams means saving time for the whole tournament. Don't waste time- be as clear and direct as possible throughout the day.

3. Get to the tournament site early. Even if it's just to put up signs and walk around, the earlier you get to the site the earlier you can start figuring out what to do and putting people to work. Make sure you're familiar with the layout of the area.

4. Delegate well during registration. Give clear, simple instructions like "go set this buzzer up in this room and then come back here" or "go find team X and tell them to come see me." Use your staff members well! Don't just have them sitting there. Make sure people know where you can be found too if you run off.

5. Keep track of where things go. It's helpful to have a big list on a chalkboard of room numbers, the buzzer in that room (i.e. who brought it), the moderator, and (if you have one) the scorekeeper. All this saves tons of time and lets people know where to be.

6. Stay active as TD, even if you're entering stats. As each round begins, you may want to walk around and make sure teams are in their rooms. You may find teams wandering or thinking they have a bye. Kindly direct them to the right room. For the first round, put your ear to the door and make sure all the rooms have started to read (some new moderators might not realize they need to start). Once the round is under way, return to your main room.

7. Monitor your moderators. See who's finishing quickly and who's lagging behind. Remember, a tournament is only as fast as its slowest moderator. Encourage them to read faster (if possible). If you have replacements, be judicious about swapping them in quickly. If you're strapped for scorekeepers, place them in the slowest rooms to help speed them up. DO NOT read yourself unless absolutely necessary (and in that case, be sure to delegate authority to someone else and/or make sure people know where to find you).

8. Anticipate the future. If you're rebracketing, make sure you try to figure out how the rebracketing will work as early as possible. Again, it can be helpful to keep track of records/ppg on a board here so that teams and moderators can see what's going on (and correct you if need be). Or if you have a printer on-site, you can print out the standings after every other round or so and post them in a public area. If you want to do individual awards, be ready to check the stats of those individuals in the running for them as the last scoresheets arrive before rebracketing.

9. Listen to experienced teams/moderators/etc. They've done this before and can be your best friends in helping the tournament run smoothly. If things start going wrong, don't hesitate to ask for help. Just asking for feedback is great too and makes these people more likely to come back/help you again.

10. You're responsible for everything that happens at the tournament. Accept that and don't make excuses if things go wrong (but if things go well, by all means take all the credit in the world).

Re: New Guy to a "New" Team

Posted: Fri Jan 07, 2011 2:33 pm
by Marble-faced Bristle Tyrant
Not that it's bad that you're asking about this here, but shouldn't your previous president have left you guys with a lot of this information?

Re: New Guy to a "New" Team

Posted: Fri Jan 07, 2011 6:22 pm
by North_GA_ATeam
Thanks everyone for the advice! I've been browsing through it all day.

Also, the previous president did leave me with a good deal of training and help, but she also had to leave a semester before she thought she would. Also, I recognize that this is a new job to me, and I wish to know what other people (people who have likely been doing this longer than I) think I should know.

Re: New Guy to a "New" Team

Posted: Sat Jan 08, 2011 2:04 am
by Papa's in the House
Chris C.'s post contains many of the basics. Do your best to follow tip #1; you don't want to be next Indiana SCT 2010. You could also read this thread for more information, but be sure to keep in mind that this poster was trying to use non-standard rules and a non-standard format. I think this thread might also help you. I personally keep a spreadsheet in Excel to track what schools have registered, how many teams they have, those teams contact information, what discounts they qualify for, who I have available to moderate/scorekeep, what rooms are being used and who is moderating/scorekeeping in each room, a variety of schedules (for n +/- 3 teams), the number of packets I have available, who has paid, and who will pay later. As the tournament date approaches, I then create blank schedules and print them off before the tournament starts along with paper scoresheets and any paper packets that are necessary. Don't forget to have a procedure to break ties. There is a thread here that discusses statistical tiebreakers. I feel its best to use a packet to break a tie if you can afford to use the packet. After that I usually use PPB, but some people I've spoken with have made a strong argument for using PPG if everyone played common opponents.

I'd recommend that you always keep track of buzzers on a chalkboard (you never know if your stats guy might lose the document they were using to keep track of buzzers) and have your staff show up 15-30 minutes before teams are supposed to arrive to go over things.
Swank diet wrote:DO NOT read yourself unless absolutely necessary (and in that case, be sure to delegate authority to someone else and/or make sure people know where to find you).
As a first-time TD, I'd recommend you follow this. After that, don't feel like you can't read if you're TDing a tournament. If you are going to read and TD, try to read in the middle bracket so you can check in with your stats person between rounds and keep track of the tournament's status (what rooms are finishing when, who do you need to replace, any protests, etc.). Just don't decide to read yourself instead of letting a better moderator read. I've seen that and it's frustrating.

Re: New Guy to a "New" Team

Posted: Sat Jan 08, 2011 1:50 pm
by Marble-faced Bristle Tyrant
Papa's in the House wrote:Do your best to follow tip #1; you don't want to be next Indiana SCT 2010.
I'll follow up on this by saying that reading reactions to past tournaments (especially certain SCT sites from last year) has given me a good idea of what TDs should strive for and what they should avoid.

Re: New Guy to a "New" Team

Posted: Sun Jan 09, 2011 2:35 pm
by Ethnic history of the Vilnius region
There's been lots of good advice in this thread. I would like to say that the college circuit in the Southeast desperately needs teams to host tournaments, so I would think that most people would just be glad to have a tournament to go to even if it isn't done 100% perfectly.

Anyway, me and Bryn Reinecke like to travel to tournaments throughout the region to volunteer as moderators and stuff. If you all do host a tournament, we would be happy to come read and otherwise assist in helping the tournament run well. Contact me at [email protected] if interested.

Finally, I sent you the most recent Southeastern Quizbowl Newsletter. I hope you find it useful.