Auditions and Tryouts

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Joined: Tue Aug 23, 2016 2:36 pm

Auditions and Tryouts

Post by rdunlap1125 »

Long time player and moderator here. My wife and I have two kids in two different middle schools (happy to explain that privately), one of which has a faculty sponsor who is new to quiz bowl trying to revive a program dormant since 2013, and we've reached out to provide whatever assistance we can. (We may get involved with the other middle school as well -- they are currently looking for a new faculty sponsor.) So, for the first time in a couple of decades, I'm thinking about how to build programs again.

We've noticed that *both* schools have a history of using auditions and teacher recommendations to decide who gets to practice with the team, rather than open practices. This is the opposite of my own high school experience (way back in the 1980's), and while I *did* observe this at the collegiate level (notably, Doc Meredith at Georgia Tech used a tryout system), it generally seemed to be an anti-pattern for long-term stability (notably, it was something Dwight Kidder and I did away with at Cornell when we inherited the program).

What are the pros and cons of using auditions to limit the size of practices at the middle school level, particularly when trying to revive a program? I'm struggling with what advice I should be giving to the sponsor on this front; I sense that these policies may have arisen from a need, but no one is around to give us history.

Note that this question is distinct from the use of auditions and other metrics to determine *traveling* squads.
Richard Dunlap
Moderator-at-large, Alpharetta, GA
*Not* an NAQT member, but a regular moderator at NAQT events
Quiz bowl parent
Cornell University team (1992-1996)
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i never see pigeons in wheeling
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Re: Auditions and Tryouts

Post by i never see pigeons in wheeling »

Auditions are bad unless the demand is so overwhelming that there is no other choice but to do them (see: Arcadia High School having 130+ students try to enter the team every year). There's no point in only restricting quiz bowl to honors students. Anyone and everyone can learn from it, and parents can chip in some of the costs to make it work--I wouldn't say quiz bowl is cheap, but it's certainly not one of the more expensive activities. I think that teams which play tournaments shouldn't be restricted either unless it poses a chaperoning problem.

Obviously, at the middle school level, many students in a room can be disruptive, but that's not necessarily a reason to drastically limit the pool of candidates.
Cal '16
Bellarmine College Preparatory '12