Talking to the coach

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Talking to the coach

Post by nvraptor »

Some background: I'm a senior now at a school that never put a whole lot of competitive emphasis on its Quiz Bowl program. The coaches are relatively lax about it. Our practices are both short and infrequent, but a friend and I started to study and practice on our own a few years back. Now, our team is stronger than it's been for a LONG time, but our coaches still have the same approach to competitive quiz bowl. Although our program suffers from a lack of funding, we (the players) have all agreed that we would be willing to cover any costs.

My question is, how does one approach a coach about participating in more tournaments? As it stands currently, we get to play in our local school league and possibly one or two nearby tournaments. Our whole team supports the idea of going to more tournaments, and even possibly HSNCT, but our coaches have not been receptive to that. I think it's a combination of monetary costs and time expenditure. I have approached them before, but I've been dismissed without a second thought most of the time.

tl;dr: Coaches don't want to go to more tournaments, players do, how do I ask them?
Patrick Huang
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Steeve Ho You Fat
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Re: Talking to the coach

Post by Steeve Ho You Fat »

Probably you should get advice from someone else on the whole "getting coaches to go to stuff" part, but if you aren't able to get that to work out I'd recommend going to stuff not officially affiliated with your school team. Obviously it's much better to go with your school, but if you have money and transportation going to stuff on your own is much better than not going to it. In my experience, most TDs are happy to work with you both financially and if you need to play under a different name for liability reasons or that kind of thing.
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Re: Talking to the coach

Post by Stained Diviner »

Convincing coaches to do more, unfortunately, is very difficult and often fails. My recommendation is to tell the coach that you would like to know when is a good time to come in and talk about how to attend more tournaments--the fact that you make an appointment shows that this is something that is truly and seriously on your mind and not just something that comes up in offhand remarks. Also, ask your coach if there is anything you can do to get your team to attend more tournaments--make it clear that you are willing to go above and beyond just making a request. (Let us know if you have already tried those things.) After that, feel free to come back here and ask for more advice. The advice above may end up being the best available to you.
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Re: Talking to the coach

Post by David Riley »

Hit it, Garb! :grin:

Seriously, though, the only thing I would add to Mr. Reinstein's advice would be to suggest that the coaches' contracts might spell out every detail and for whatever reasons are unwilling to do more. Try Mr. Reinstein's advice and then come back to us.

P.S. Forewarned is forearmed! When you meet with your coaches, bring backup materials (proposed budget? schedule of tournaments?),
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Re: Talking to the coach

Post by Howard »

David Riley wrote:Hit it, Garb! :grin:

Seriously, though, the only thing I would add to Mr. Reinstein's advice would be to suggest that the coaches' contracts might spell out every detail and for whatever reasons are unwilling to do more. Try Mr. Reinstein's advice and then come back to us.

P.S. Forewarned is forearmed! When you meet with your coaches, bring backup materials (proposed budget? schedule of tournaments?),
In most public school situations, this isn't likely to be effective. Contracts are negotiated by unions and the school boards.

Seriously, if you need a coach that will take you to events and your current one won't, perhaps it's time to try creating a different activity and/or shopping for a teacher that would be more active.

At the same time, stipends for this sort of activity vary greatly. In many places, coaches get no income at all. While I'm not saying this is justification for taking a position and performing poorly at it, it also makes it very difficult to demand things the coach doesn't want to do.
John Gilbert
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Re: Talking to the coach

Post by mrgsmath »

Rarely do I post here, but in this instance I do feel I can contribute a suggestion. Try approaching your coach, and school administration if needed, with the idea of hosting a tournament. It does not need to be big. A simple Octangular would be a good start. There are mirror sets available at good prices and you would only need to staff four rooms. The result would have several advantages. First if done properly it would have no cost, and perhaps even generate a small amount of revenue. Secondly, it would attract teams and coaches that might well offer your coach a better veiw of his role and have a greater impact on his decision than you might have as a student. Thirdly, it would show him, or her, the determination and desire you have for the activity. finally, it give your team some of the exposure that you desire.
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Re: Talking to the coach

Post by Broad-tailed Grassbird »

If your coaches don't want to go, and you aren't getting any funding from your school, it is possible that you may not need a coach to chaperone you to tournaments. I'm assuming you are from Northville High in Michigan. You guys seem to already be a pretty good team who should be ready to go to NSC or HSNCT. I went to Brighton, and we never had a teacher as a coach (but then again we never really had a coach). So it's not necessary. The main thing is to just find out what your administration requires of you whether it be permissions slips or whatever. If you can convince your coach to buy in, then go for it, but if you can't then moving onto the administration and making sure you are set to go to tournaments independent of the coach.

Also try to come to HFT!
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Re: Talking to the coach

Post by JordanKuhn »

I'm surprised nobody has said this thus far, but something that I would do is get your team together and raise ... $60 or however much a tournament would cost and then approach your teacher. If they realise that you're REALLY willing to actually go places and it's not just in word only, I think they'd be more receptive.
And then, if your school funds them, you can use that money for a non school funded tournament, or maybe to buy more question sets or something.

But the other people have given good advice, so I won't rephrase what they said :p
~Good luck!
Jordan Kuhn, Christiansburg High School (Christiansburg, VA), class of 2014.
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