Improving and Expanding my Team

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Andre97
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Improving and Expanding my Team

Post by Andre97 »

Hi! I'm currently a junior from Shanghai American School, and I'm looking to improve my team. I am a literature/fine arts/mythology player, with a little knowledge in everything else except science. I score approximately half my team's points. The other junior is our team's second scorer, who mainly covers CE/Geo/and non-US history. The two remaining players, our seniors, mainly cover science. In November, we travelled to Singapore and played Singapore American School. While we did manage to come out on top, our PPB was only at a mediocre 18.2, whereas our main opponents, Singapore A, converted 20.7. While we did score more powers, I was wondering how we could improve on our bonus conversion. My goal is to hit 20 by the end of the year. Is it better to force myself to learn the topics we do not well in (i.e. Philosophy), or to ask my team to do it? Lead by (ironically) my school's former coach, Singapore A has already managed to scare us in their first year . I know they have more practices every week, but is there a way to improve without forcing an additional practice? I try to organize informal practices at my house every month or so, but I think we need something more consistent. This is my first post, so go easy on me :)
Andre Wong
Shanghai American School 2015
Yale-NUS College 2021

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Beevor Feevor
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Re: Improving and Expanding my Team

Post by Beevor Feevor »

Hey Andre!,

You've come to a really good place! I myself asked this question when I was starting up, and my situation was not very different from yours (viewtopic.php?f=3&t=13710). It's sometimes daunting when you're starting to really focus on improving your team; you can't really be sure what direction to take your team.

If you want to improve your bonus conversion, the best way to do this is to just read packets on the packet archives. I'd suggest starting with sets that stick to the canon, such as GSAC and Prison Bowl, and then slowly and gradually move on to harder stuff such as PACE NSC 2013. At higher levels, some of the medium parts will become hard parts on easier sets, making regular difficulty high school sets easier and easier to cover. Familiarity is key, and eventually, you should use that familiarity to get real knowledge about the things that you're learning.

I strongly recommend keeping a notebook. Flash cards are cool too if your mind works that way, but make sure that you don't only make binary associations; there has to be some familiarity with the content matter. One of the things that's very important to remember is that you're responsible for your own improvement. Practices can help coordinate what everyone on the team is learning and work on buzzer speed and such, but the clue learning and serious packet study has to happen at home. You can also PM me on the site if you want to, I'd love to help people improve!

What kind of a goal are you setting for your team? Like what's your end objective, what do you want to reach at nationals, etc.?
Eric Xu
Western Albemarle High School '15
University of Virginia '19

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vinteuil
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Re: Improving and Expanding my Team

Post by vinteuil »

Andre97 wrote:My goal is to hit 20 by the end of the year.
Honestly, I would say that 20PPB is too low of a goal for a team that can get 18.2PPB already—it'll be easier than you think to get there! And the higher you set your goal, the more you're likely to improve.
Andre97 wrote:Is it better to force myself to learn the topics we do not well in (i.e. Philosophy), or to ask my team to do it?
You have to communicate with your teammates about this one—whoever is most interested in getting better at quizbowl is inevitably going to have to do the most (or most of) the work, and it's not really possible to force others to do that. Also keep in mind that getting basic knowledge of these categories will dramatically boost your PPB, since you will have fewer 0s and 10s.

Good luck! It's really exciting to see quizbowl start to expand internationally.
Jacob Reed
Chicago ~'25
Yale '17, '19
East Chapel Hill '13
"...distant bayings from...the musicological mafia"―Denis Stevens

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pajaro bobo
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Re: Improving and Expanding my Team

Post by pajaro bobo »

18 PPB isn't really mediocre at all. Of course you can definitely improve on that number and it's good that you and your teammates are dedicated to raising it, but you guys aren't in a bad spot at all.
Alex Liu
Georgia Tech '1X
Chattahoochee '13

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heterodyne
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Re: Improving and Expanding my Team

Post by heterodyne »

It should be noted that you can't make your teammates get into something if they aren't into it. Sure, it's great to encourage them and give them tips on what to study, but ultimately the only person you can fully control is yourself.

If you want you can host informal practices using Google Hangouts or skype. Like Eric said, don't make only binary associations, other than maybe creator-work associations. If you actually know about something it is a lot easier to buzz than if you memorize a specific clue.

Encourage your teammates to practice good study habits as well, but it's best to assume that they won't and don't rely on that. If they do, it's great, but don't count on it.
Alston [Montgomery] Boyd
Bloomington High School '15
UChicago '19
UChicago Divinity '21
he/him/his or they/them/their

Andre97
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Re: Improving and Expanding my Team

Post by Andre97 »

Thanks for all the feedback! Since our school schedule is a little different, we really only have time for either PACE or HSNCT. If we attend HSNCT I'm aiming for about t-21ish place. The team sometimes uses protobowl for practice, but from what I've read in the forums, Bonus>Tossups for practice material, so I think I should encourage packet bonus study instead? Also, are reading the actual works more effective? I can comfortably power most of the novels I have read, but is it worth the time to read it?
Andre Wong
Shanghai American School 2015
Yale-NUS College 2021

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heterodyne
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Re: Improving and Expanding my Team

Post by heterodyne »

Andre97 wrote:Also, are reading the actual works more effective? I can comfortably power most of the novels I have read, but is it worth the time to read it?
Ooh, something I actually know something about! Depending on your reading speed, it may be a good time investment. If you read something, you will probably be able to power it. It's probably a better idea to read short stories and plays, because you can rip through those pretty quickly. Same with poetry.
Alston [Montgomery] Boyd
Bloomington High School '15
UChicago '19
UChicago Divinity '21
he/him/his or they/them/their

Andre97
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Re: Improving and Expanding my Team

Post by Andre97 »

I've been to my school library and picked up a book that covered most of the poetry that appears frequently. I usually read for about 40 minutes every night before I sleep, I'll try and incorporate short stories and plays into that. On a separate note, is it a good idea to play conservatively? I basically only buzz when I'm 100% sure, and the only time I did neg in the recent tournament was when I accidentally said Minos instead of Midas. I tell my team to go for the question if they are about 90% sure, is this a good idea, or will aggressive buzzing when you're only about half sure yield better results?
Andre Wong
Shanghai American School 2015
Yale-NUS College 2021

Birds2013
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Re: Improving and Expanding my Team

Post by Birds2013 »

It all depends on who you are up against. If you're playing a team that is clearly not quite at your talent level yet, then I would advise you to play conservatively. Even when playing in the aforementioned manner, I see no problem with going in with a 90% sureness. From my experience, at that percentage it's not that you don't know it, it's just that you are unsure if the line you just heard was about what you were thinking or something similar. When playing a team at or just a few slithers above/below your level, just play to the situation. If you're behind, you probably are a bit too relaxed and need something to get a bit of steam going. If you're ahead, still play with an edge, but be smart. If you're playing a team that is far superior to your team, then I would say it's ok to take more chances as the actual chances to convert tossups and the following bonuses slim down significantly. But above all, don't doubt yourself out of reason. I believe there is a fine line between "I think I know this" and "I know this but what if I'm wrong?" ALWAYS buzz in when you face the latter problem.
Daniel Woodman

Southwestern (Piasa) HS 2013

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