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Hobodog
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Post by Hobodog »

Since I've done more coaching for my team than my coach has this year I'll drop a dime or two...

1. We do practice, but its informal due to conflicts and lack of dedication of members.

2. As far as outside work, none of it. The dedication hasn't been there since our players were sophmores. It wasn't instilled on them at first so its useless now. I personally never specifically study, but you could say that much of my down time (not hanging out with friends) is studying.

3. In practice we have a 4 team buzzer system that I don't particulary like and we just sit down and go at it in a completely disorganized order (oxymoron of sorts) for 45min to 1hour.

4. As far as improvement of players, because of the lack of dedication you don't really see much. I would say that the only significant improvements in knowledge that our kids make is what they learn in school. But being a competitive school and having smarts kids (if SATs are any measure I would say our starting five have all scored in the 1550 range and besides the other senior and I are ranked in the top ten in their classes) means that can amount to something.

5. (since my points aren't really points, just paragraphs)
Does anyone have any kind of suggestion that would allow us to instill a sense of dedication in our team. I assume we just need a coach who isn't afraid to crack the whip, one who makes Quiz Bowl and event and not just a hobby...(as in both, not taking all the fun out of QB)

-ps-Sorry for the rant and for invading the thread. It just dissapoints me to think that I spent 3 years on this team and we never got much better than we were then, then, when I thought we could challenge the best teams around. Teams we used to destroy in JV tend to smoke us now and I am convinced its because of lack of dedicaiton stemming from lack of effective coaching. Some coaches scare me with their intensity but there are some coaches I admire much I wish we had.
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Hobodog
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Post by Hobodog »

THIS ONES FOR LEE

50% Psychological...definetly. Having witnessed what happened today, I can't explain it yet, as a current quiz bowl player, there is a lot in this game that is impacted by ones immediate phsychological state. I have rounds where I get crushed early on by a couple questions that I just absolutely botch (had that happen on two math questions early on against your team today, we were horrendus in that round, atleast I was) and its not that I sit there completely knocked out, but somethign just slows me down and as more questions go by, be they ones I know or ones that absolutely stump me, i get more and more frustrated. I seems the only thing that can help is someone, someone on my team either going on a tear or physically assaulting me. (yes the latter has happened on occasion.) I don't know how badly it affects others but I relaly think it hurts our team bigtime because we get very streaky. We like to get absolutely crushed by really good teams. Then come back and play great teams very closely. Then we like to play down to every weak team we play and go and lose to someone we have no business losing too. (ASCA districts.)

SIDE NOTE: Lee, our team was on fire in the playoffs...
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Post by quizbowllee »

leftsaidfred wrote:Are there any other factors that appear on a regular basis during these matches? Same time of day, specific things that happened in the previous match or anything else?

Given what you told us, my guess is that they're underestimating their opponents to the point where they just can't perform at their regular level.

My high school had a similar problem with the varsity team back in my junior year of high school. They didn't really turn it on until the end of the season and that required a chewing out from the coach. That might help out, but it might not.
No regular factors. Most of the time, it's in the playoffs, but also it happens early on occassionally.

I don't think that they are underestimating anyone. On the contrary, they (all four of them) usually start their "off match" looking like they just watched a puppy get killed. I can always tell when they are gonna choke, because I can see it on their faces. I think that they are underestimating themselves, but I don't understand why.

When I see that look on their faces, their is nothing I can say to snap them out of it... It's eerie. It's also extremely frsutrating. I swear, if I didn't know better, I'd say that they were losing on purpose.

Like I said, if this was something that only happened a couple of times, then I'd chalk it up as a fluke. However, they have done this at every tournament this year - except one. Has anyone else ever seen anything like this????
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Hobodog
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Post by Hobodog »

I can only theorize as to why but its a definite that QB teams can be very streaky, and its not just a coincidence of questions, its just a transition of mindsets. For an example between the two of us, take our Buckhorn match. Andy torched us singlehandedly in the first round, then got like 7 of 10 in the second round or something. Then, even though we were down by a gigantic amount, we got two quick blitzes in the 15point round and then took off. Not nearly enough to come close to yall, but we went from being absolute stomped buzzing speed wise to the opposite. Then of course the next match we drop to a mediocre team and then score like 130 and beat an awful teeam, then we smoke a good team or something of the sort...interesting would be a statistical analysis of the whole thing.
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Post by quizbowllee »

Another question I wish to pose to my fellow coaches:

Do any of you coach middle school and high school? Do you know of any other coaches that do this? It occurred to me that I might be one of the very few coaches in this game who gets kids in the 6th (and sometime 5th) grades and continues to coach them throughout 12th grade.

I've always thought that this gave me an advantage - getting to know the kids, addressing weaknesses/strengths, etc. However, I'm starting to wonder if that student-coach relationship might start to sour after a few years, leading to some of the (now resolved) issues that I've had so far this year with my high school team.

What are your thoughts?
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Post by Matthew D »

I would like to see some thoughts on this myself due to the fact that I am starting down that road of having both next year, if all goes as it should.

But Lee, I think some of that just came from your unique situation when you first started coaching your present group.
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Post by quizbowllee »

I guess by the lack of response to our question for nearly a month that Matt and I are, in fact, the only coaches (at least on this board) who coach both middle school and high school teams...
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Post by Matthew D »

lol.. guess we are on our own... :lol:
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Post by Julie »

Hello coaches, I'm new to this posting thing; my one tidbit to contribute for any younger coaches who might not have been players themselves concerns those lovely times when group practicing contains veterans and vulnerable newbies. My older players are happy to sit behind the youngsters who get to use the buzzers and the oldsters simply say buzz quietly when they know the answer but they let the wee ones buzz when THEY can and then say the answer.

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Post by EagleFan »

I would just like to say a big thanks to those who have posted strategies for practice in this thread. It's been a big help to me as an "assistant coach" for my 2006-2007 team.

Due to an aging head coach and the unresponsive players we've had for the last few years, we haven't really had opportunities to practice well. This year, however, we have enthusiastic players and a fast recruitment team, and we are finally getting into the swing of improving our player pool as fast as we can.

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Post by sweaver »

quizbowllee wrote:I guess by the lack of response to our question for nearly a month that Matt and I are, in fact, the only coaches (at least on this board) who coach both middle school and high school teams...
I do both. We are a 7-12 school.

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Post by PatMan »

quizbowllee wrote:I really need some help and/or advice from some fellow coaches regarding my team's current situation.

I have easily one of the best teams in Alabama this year. There are four players who are all great. At every tournament we go to, they hit on all cylinders, scoring huge win after huge win.

However, at every tournament this year, they hit a point where they just stop. Quite frankly, it's the damndest thing I've ever seen. Take today, for example. In the first round of a tournament, we beat a team 305-115. We went on to crush everyone we played until the playoffs. In the first round of the single-elimination playoffs, we faced that same team again (the one we had just beaten 305-115). They killed us. My kids just sat there.

If this was a one time thing, I'd attribute it to bad luck. I mean, everyone has a bad round sometimes. But, no. They do this at EVERY tournament this year. We recently had a tournament that we won. However, in one round we lost to a team that - to my knowledge - had NEVER beaten an "A" team this year. Their only wins had come from "B" and "C" teams. This team that beat us averaged 70 ppg, whereas we averaged well over 300. It was the same thing, they just SAT THERE and didn't answer anything.

They have now done this in 10 of the 12 tournaments we have attended this year. It's not the losing that upsets me, it's the complete lack of trying. They're not doing it on purpose - I know that. But I just sit there and watch them let things that they know by heart go by. And it's always just one round a tournament, and in all but one case, it was in the playoffs, to teams that are seeded way below us.

I've come to the conclusion that success in this game is about 50% psychological, but I'm at a loss on this. These are the same kids I had last year, who won nearly every tournament that they played in....

If anyone has any suggestions about what I can do to fix, this PLEASE help me. I'm at an absolute loss.


I have had similar troubles for the past three years when we made it to the state tournament here in Idaho. I think mine are more easily explainable than your situation. We tend to have a down round right after either we have received a bye for a round or we have had a close game. I have learned to hate byes, it takes our team totally out of the mindset of the competition and I have yet to figure out how to fix that. The example of the close game letdown is experianced in almost all competitions sports or otherwise. Last year at the state tourny we were up against a team that had ALWAYS beaten us, almost an archnemesis situation. We were down by about 95 points to them at the half point fo the competition and came back to beat them by 10 which in our style of tournys is really unheard of. (Maybe they had a letdown round themselves?) Our kids were so up and excited when the round ended but by the time we met our next competition we had an adrenaline letdown and we were almost asleep and lost...not much to do about that. But I would also like to here some ways to get through these "downtimes".

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Post by Matthew D »

Okay.. I have a question about handling certain parents.
I have 1 of my players whose mother is attempting to make my life a major pain. Due to her not wanting this child to participate or at least it seems that way. Every time we have a function with the team, this mother seems to come up with a reason for her child to leave early or not even come at all. The latest one is we are having a team get together this Friday and we going to have a lock-in with some team building games, little movie watching (For whom the bell tolls and others), and a cookout. Now this mother is trying to get her kid our of staying for most of it. Other issues have come up with this child playing up at tournaments that are considered JV and she is only an 8th grader. Missing practices and practice times have also been a problem also. The kids are all active in other things, so to help with this I have had my practices in the mornings before school started since the beginning of the team 3 years ago... now according to this lady, the practices are too early... I have talked to the child and my daughter, one of her friends, has also talked to her and she wants to be part of the team and play but it seems like the mother doesn't want to her to do it.
I think I know what I need to do but at the same time, I guess I need someone else to agree with me or even to disagree and give me another option.

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Post by AKKOLADE »

Declare her unfit for parenthood and take the child as your own.

Or, you know, speak with the mom.

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Post by Matthew D »

LOL.. thanks Morlan, I need a good laugh :lol: :lol:

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Post by quizbowllee »

I've learned that with parents like this, you just have to cut them loose. If one kid gets to miss practice for whatever reason, then all the others will think that they are entitled to miss. It snowballs out of control really fast.

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Post by Matthew D »

that was what I was thinking.. and I do remember we had that come up when I was over there with you but I couldn't remember what we did about it..

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Post by First Chairman »

There's not much you can do with someone that young, but among the things that I have (seen) done with Academic Decathlon and other high school activities.

Prepare a "contract"... an agreement in which the student and parent understand the responsibilities to being a participant on the quiz bowl team. Outline the expectations regarding team-building, practices, tournament participation, and fundraising. Explicitly state policies regarding respect and professional behavior as well as maintaining academic eligibility.

Some similar document is likely in play for varsity sports or even summer club sports, but if not, it's pretty simple to write down your expectations for your team, their parents, and your peers.
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Post by jbarnes112358 »

I have to say I am a little more lax about such situations. We have many students who are casual members of the club, many with several different extracurricular activities, issues with transportation and the like. I have never really kicked anybody off the team for lack of practice. People are involved on many levels and for many reasons. I only hope that I get enough serious players to make a competitive team or two. The ones who are more lax will probably never make the top teams, or may not be invited to all tournaments, but can support the team in other ways such as providing practice opponents, helping with our tournament, or simply providing social interaction for the team. I am not saying this is the best approach; it probably is not. But, it is just the way we have traditionally done things. I know most athletic coaches would not be so tolerant, so why should we, right?

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Post by First Chairman »

Well, some coaches are more strict than others, but it should be clear from this commitment sheet what those expectations are. I guess that's really the point. Rather than being relatively passive aggressive, I would prefer the advisor be a bit more explicit. Adjustments can always be made within reason, but at least you won't be held hostage to helicopter parents.
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Post by Matthew D »

I like the contract idea Dr. Chuck... and I did part of that along with the meeting with the parents before the end of the school year, this parent attended but it seems that she thinks all of that applies everyone but her child..
Honestly I think it is the parent not the child that is being this way. The parent comes across as very controlling in all situations, so it looks like I am going to schedule a sit-down with her to discuss what I expect and what I should expect out of her..

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Post by AKKOLADE »

My serious suggestion is to meet with and discuss this with the parent. Punishing the child because the parent's acting oddly does no one any good.

Then again, I'm of the frame of mind of Senor Barnes. Players interested in participating should be allowed to as much as they can.

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Post by Matthew D »

I knew you were serious about the meeting with the parent, that was the thought I had in the first place... and I really don't want to penalize the child because I honestly think it is not her it is the "helicopter" mother that is doing all of this.. and I really think it comes from the fact that her daughter is not the star of the show but just a good player. the child and my daughter a friends and my daughter told me that the child really wants to play and participate in what we do..
I was commenting on your
Declare her unfit for parenthood and take the child as your own.
which had me chucklingly...

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Post by AKKOLADE »

I know what you were laughing about, I just felt the need to expand on my original post for whatever reason.

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Post by First Chairman »

Well, I wouldn't penalize the kid for what the mom does. The mom has a right to parent the child, but I would suspect it would be easy to talk with the mom to figure out exactly what her concerns really are. I'm assuming a few things about the conversation (which is that there is perhaps a logical reason for that behavior).
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Post by JohnAndSlation »

As a student, I like the idea of talking to the parent. Helicopter Mommy probably isn't listening to what her daughter wants (recipe for disaster), so maybe even a meeting with both might help. It'd be a chance for you to let the girl (and her mother) know you want her there, and a chance for you to see why the mom doesn't want her daughter playing.

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Post by Howard »

I've got some similare issues right now, although not quite to the degree you describe. I don't like the whole contract idea because I think it takes much of the "here for pleasure" aspect out of the equation. Anyone who can behave reasonably is welcome to come to as many practices, tournaments, and other events as they'd like.

At graduation time, I make sure to give some sort of award to those that have participated. In the past, we were guaranteed scholarship money by our local television tournament, so that's what I've used. More recently, the guarantee of scholarship money went away, and I've found some other sort of award to give as appropriate, at the expense of the team's general funds. But I can guarantee that no one who attends only 20% of events will have an opportunity to represent the team on television nor receive some sort of award for their contribution. The idea is that reward is saved for those that contribute "significantly." Of course, it's up to each coach to decide what constitutes "significantly."

Before meeting with the parent, I'd recommend talking with your students. Make sure you're meeting their collective needs as best you can. Things change over time. Perhaps afternoon practices would be better now. Mostly, keep an open mind and assess what will be best for the largest number of students. Then try resolving issues with those students who still seem left out. If you're still looking at the same situation, then it's time to speak with the parent. Whatever the outcome, take the action that is consistent with your practices for running the team. In fact, if the facts are sorted out in the discussion with the parent, then you can explain at that time what will happen and why it needs to happen. Also, make sure the parent understands that you respect their right to make decisions for their child, and that while your actions are a result of their decisions, you do not intend them to be punitive or a method of attempting to influence the parent's decisions.
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Post by JohnAndSlation »

Howard wrote:I've got some similare issues right now, although not quite to the degree you describe. I don't like the whole contract idea because I think it takes much of the "here for pleasure" aspect out of the equation. Anyone who can behave reasonably is welcome to come to as many practices, tournaments, and other events as they'd like.
Contracts helped. If you're truly there for pleasure, as long as the contract's reasonable, it doesn't act as a deterrent at all.

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Post by rchschem »

Actual coaching tip request:

How might a coach help players reduce negging? I'm not talking about players who don't know anything and just guess blind, but players who do know things but open their mouths when they shouldn't?

I'm thinking of making them wait a two-count after the first time they think they're sure of the answer. Maybe this would slow the malicious dumbness.

Eric

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Post by DumbJaques »

Well I can't just not reply to this. Jeez.

Something that worked for me my senior year, when I tended to have fewer negs than the two years before and after, was pretty much what you said (giving the question an extra two seconds or so). However, I would qualify this. . . if your player hears something they're *sure* about, I'd say to go in. Reducing player effectiveness like this will lead to frustration, which leads to more negs. Be strict about drawing the line though - any kind of guess, no matter how "educated," should be held in for two seconds or so. Generally, if the player still feels just as strongly and hasn't heard anything to remotely suggest the answer was wrong, I say go for it. If the player is still negging, then that wait time can be adjusted even more.

Of course, this is somewhat problematic. . . you're not in a player's head, you can't observe whether this is going on, and you don't want to get on a player's case too much for negging and mess with their (presumably otherwise very good) game. One thing you can do is keep diligent scores (individual, too) in practice if you don't otherwise, and in particular keep track of negs and tossups/negs. One thing that I think always gets me is being complacent about it. . . I try to constantly remind myself that I have that problem. Then I relinquish control to a power higher than myself to stop my negging. On a related note, if you've ever played on a team with me, expect a lengthy apology for all the terrible things I did to you while I was negging.

Hope this helped somewhat, let me know what you think. Also, all you punks can stop asking, I did NOT really go 5/15 at Chicago Open. But I do, in fact, suck. I hope this clears things up.
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Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) »

Chris Ray does, in fact, suck.
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Post by Frater Taciturnus »

DumbJaques wrote: Also, all you punks can stop asking, I did NOT really go 5/15 at Chicago Open.
Hey, I only asked that once, because I knew the numbers didn't add up. And I'm not a punk, just a jerk.

I would say having a two-second rule would have cut our negs to actually acceptable levels, and probably won once a few close matches. (A lot of our negs had us smacking ourselves as soon as the question restarted, if not before then.)
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Post by Stained Diviner »

I don't like the two-second rule. There are too many times that you need to buzz in immediately.

I would make a list during each match of negs, with the wrong answer given and the right answer. You can then discuss them with your team and figure out which ones were reasonable negs and which ones should have been avoided. You can also set goals for your team, such as averaging less than three negs per match or having each player average less than one neg per match.

There is no reason to get upset about negging at this point in the season, unless it's caused by somebody trying to be The Man rather than playing within their limits. At this point, you are much better off with a team that negs too much than a team that just sits on their buzzers.
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Post by theMoMA »

Negging is directly proportional to guessing. So either figure out some way to make them stop guessing so much, or make them learn more things so they're not guessing so much. The second method is probably preferable for obvious reasons.

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Post by grapesmoker »

I highly recommend being more aggressive, but a general good rule of thumb that's worked for me is that when you think you know the answer (unless you know it cold), it's often a good idea to hear just one more clue to confirm your suspicions. I can't say that I always follow my own advice, but it's worked for me often enough.
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Post by rchschem »

ReinsteinD wrote:I don't like the two-second rule. There are too many times that you need to buzz in immediately.
I don't like having to play with the safeties on either, but with great power comes great responsibility. My team lost its last two matches last year by negging 7 times in the penultimate and 6 in the ultimate match (NAQT sets). Both were more than the margin of victory.

So speaking completely in the abstract, and not about a particular player, since more than half of that team is gone, I posed this question. All of you are right, in my mind, which is why I wonder about a successful approach.

Thanks.
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Re: Coaches' Corner

Post by Down and out in Quintana Roo »

Question for you Coaches.

What do you do when your top students/members have other commitments and cannot attend regular practice? I have students who are in the school plays, school sports, Math League, Earth Club, TSA, and countless other organizations and activities. And when you have practice twice a week, every week, pretty much all year long... there're bound to be conflicts.

I've found that i have to penalize them in some fashion. To my discretion, students who don't show up regularly to practice (or at least, whenever they possibly can) are not eligible for the "A" Team. This has indeed hurt us in actual competitions, but i feel like i can't just put somebody on the top team just for "being good" and not for attending practice and contributing as much as the others.

It's something i've been both praised for and criticized by my kids. So i just wanted to see if anyone else has had to deal with this issue.
Mr. Andrew Chrzanowski
Caesar Rodney High School
Camden, Delaware
CRHS '97-'01
University of Delaware '01-'05
CRHS quizbowl coach '06-'12
http://crquizbowl.edublogs.org

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First Chairman
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Re: Coaches' Corner

Post by First Chairman »

Andrew:

(Insert pitch here to pre-register for the NSC if you can do it.)

Have you used a "commitment contract"? I know many programs require their students to sign it to be part of the team. Obviously it's harder for smaller-sized schools, but you should consider such a form for your students on the team.
Emil Thomas Chuck, Ph.D.
Founder, PACE
Facebook junkie and unofficial advisor to aspiring health professionals in quiz bowl
---
Pimping Green Tea Ginger Ale (Canada Dry)

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btressler
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Re: Coaches' Corner

Post by btressler »

My general rule is "if you want to go to tournaments, I want to see you at practice at least once in a while". I get to declare when "once in a while" has not been met.

After school practices are only one part of the equation. A student could demonstrate effort to me by agreeing to learn some topic, list of facts, etc. on their own time.

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Howard
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Re: Coaches' Corner

Post by Howard »

Caesar Rodney HS wrote:What do you do when your top students/members have other commitments and cannot attend regular practice?
Everyone is welcome to attend any practice or event they see fit, but I assign minimum attendance guidelines. Students who fail to meet the guidelines will not be able to represent us in our primary goal tournament (It's Academic) regardless of ability, and are not eligible for awards for that year.

I figure these are high school students and learning about goal setting, responsibility, and tough choices is more important than the actual answering of questions. I simply tell them the rules and allow them to make their choices accordingly. While your primary goal is likely different than ours, similar principles can still apply.
John Gilbert
Coach, Howard High School Academic Team
Ellicott City, MD

"John Gilbert is a quiz bowl god" -- leftsaidfred

palos07
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Re: Coaches' Corner

Post by palos07 »

:w-hat: I'm new here. Could you please guide me? Thanks!

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