Should tournaments have split upper/lower divisions?

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Should tournaments have split upper/lower divisions?

Post by Howard » Mon Jan 16, 2012 1:46 pm

sir negsalot wrote:Seeing the Centennial Attack tournament in Georgia, we are considering bracketing teams by national-caliber and regular varsity to promote more games between teams of like ability. Most likely, teams will be able to choose which bracket to participate in. Thoughts on this?
I think this is a great idea. Agree with Mr. C that this may not be feasible with small field sizes, but at the same time, this may make the tournament more attractive to more teams.
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Re: SWAGFEST at Richard Montgomery 2/25/12

Post by Adventure Temple Trail » Mon Jan 16, 2012 8:10 pm

It's my opinion that in the vast majority of cases, bracketing into divisions doesn't make sense. This is particularly at small tournaments in a strong region like DC, where prelim brackets can contain several strong teams anyway which will all play each other in an afternoon playoff. I guess if you got 30 or more teams you might want to consider it, but even then division-splitting has a real harmful effect in that it prevents teams in the lower division from qualifying for Nationals on the basis of a strong performance, while the upper division would get more qualifying spots that would all be wasted on teams that got their bids long ago.
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Re: SWAGFEST at Richard Montgomery 2/25/12

Post by Howard » Mon Jan 16, 2012 8:53 pm

RyuAqua wrote:It's my opinion that in the vast majority of cases, bracketing into divisions doesn't make sense. This is particularly at small tournaments in a strong region like DC, where prelim brackets can contain several strong teams anyway which will all play each other in an afternoon playoff. I guess if you got 30 or more teams you might want to consider it, but even then division-splitting has a real harmful effect in that it prevents teams in the lower division from qualifying for Nationals on the basis of a strong performance, while the upper division would get more qualifying spots that would all be wasted on teams that got their bids long ago.
I suppose we're getting a little off track of the thread here, so I certainly won't be offended if mods think this is better placed elsewhere.

Done. -Mgmt.

Tournaments in or near DC should regularly draw 30 teams. If they do not, we're doing something wrong.

It's been my opinion that one of the significant reasons teams below the second tier do not regularly attend pyramidal tournaments is that they spend too much time being beaten badly by a large portion of the teams in the morning rounds. A few years ago, we attended a tournament at the University of Maryland, spending the initial rounds being beaten badly. My lunchtime discussion with my team was similar to what it normally was-- we'd be rebracketed and have the ability to play teams closer to our own strength. What actually happened was that every team with which we had a shot at being competitive decided that they'd rather not continue being beaten badly and left at rebracketing time.

Moreover, it's my opinion that lopsided matches do little to serve the needs of either team. The better team doesn't get challenged to play at their best, and the worse team typically doesn't hear enough of the question to have a chance at actually learning something from playing the set.

If your goals are to qualify for nationals, then you should by all means have no issues playing with the heavy hitters. If you're a team like mine, which should have no delusions of being good enough to qualify for nationals this year, there should be no issue in playing in a division which will not receive any nationals bids.

While I understand that qualifying for nationals is an appropriate goal for some teams, we shouldn't forget the real goals of quizbowl: knowledge, learning, and thinking. It's the pursuit of these goals that leads to qualifying for nationals in the first place. Trying to worry about qualification separately from these goals, at least for most teams, I think serves as a distraction from the entire purpose of having a team.
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Re: SWAGFEST at Richard Montgomery 2/25/12

Post by Cheynem » Mon Jan 16, 2012 9:10 pm

My problem with separate divisions is that it sort of forces you to self-identify your team right away. When I was a lad, I was on a "mid-major" type school, the kind to use a basketball analogy that get a 10 seed and could conceivably make a little run in the tournament or get bounced quickly against top teams. We liked playing top teams, even though we had a poor record against them, because we liked to pull off upsets. I wouldn't like my team to end up with a shoddy record all day because we were one of the few teams of our skill level to choose to play up. Furthermore, I know teams that are pretty good that don't like playing top teams and would instead like playing weaker teams all day and would choose to play down. I see occasional room for separate divisions, but in my cranky opinion there are too many high school tournaments leaning towards separate divisions to slay imaginary demons lately.

I'm also confused why pyramidal tournaments get tagged with the "no fun to play better teams." This should be the case everywhere unless this is just a backdoor admission that non pyramidal tournaments lead to more haphazard, sloppy results. Which is true.
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Re: SWAGFEST at Richard Montgomery 2/25/12

Post by Adventure Temple Trail » Mon Jan 16, 2012 9:17 pm

Howard wrote:Tournaments in or near DC should regularly draw 30 teams. If they do not, we're doing something wrong.
Yes, we are. That problem is an abiding lack of outreach to the very teams which usually make up the middle and bottom of these fields. Solving that would in turn solve a lot of the issues you bring up later by creating a more robust distribution of skill at every tournament.

Howard wrote:It's been my opinion that one of the significant reasons teams below the second tier do not regularly attend pyramidal tournaments is that they spend too much time being beaten badly by a large portion of the teams in the morning rounds. A few years ago, we attended a tournament at the University of Maryland, spending the initial rounds being beaten badly. My lunchtime discussion with my team was similar to what it normally was-- we'd be rebracketed and have the ability to play teams closer to our own strength. What actually happened was that every team with which we had a shot at being competitive decided that they'd rather not continue being beaten badly and left at rebracketing time.
The phenomenon of teams leaving tournaments early, while regrettable, is significantly decreasing in the DC area and elsewhere. I disagree that this is a primary or even secondary reason why teams aren't showing up as often, since it's a thing that happens so much more rarely now than in the past. Rather, I think (as I've said elsewhere) that a lack of outreach to It's Ac-focused teams and middling teams is the main reason why they literally don't know pyramidal tournaments exist.
Howard wrote:Moreover, it's my opinion that lopsided matches do little to serve the needs of either team. The better team doesn't get challenged to play at their best, and the worse team typically doesn't hear enough of the question to have a chance at actually learning something from playing the set.
I disagree with you heavily here, having been on both sides of this experience at different points in time. If a losing team doesn't get a single tossup in a game, and their opponents get all possible points, they can still listen to, write down, or remember every early clue and single bonus part the opposing team hears. That serves plenty of need, and is a lot to learn. Furthermore, it's empirically the case that while some people get despondent at huge losses, others get inspired to become stronger than the thing that killed them -- just talk to Max Schindler, or Matt Bollinger, and they'll say as much about themselves. Removing the top part of the field also removes the ability for a coach to believably say to his/her team, "See? There are teams that can power half the tossups in any given game - and we can be one of them!" When teams are familiar with the best of the best in their area, they know what they themselves are capable of, and creating a permanent wall of separation between divisions as the norm will disincentivize all teams in the middle from improving as much as they can, since after all the rules stipulate that their division won't qualify anyone, ever.
Howard wrote:If your goals are to qualify for nationals, then you should by all means have no issues playing with the heavy hitters. If you're a team like mine, which should have no delusions of being good enough to qualify for nationals this year, there should be no issue in playing in a division which will not receive any nationals bids.
I addressed this in my first post. If a team's goals is to qualify for nationals this late in the year, and there's a smaller nationals division this late in the year, its chance at qualifying actually decreases, since virtually all of that field will be taken up by teams that are (a) better and (b) already qualified by virtue of performance at earlier tournaments, largely by September or October. If you have an intact 30-team field of teams spanning all skills, it's much easier for teams on the edge to perform well in a prelim bracket, win out to the playoffs by doing well, and qualify that way, than it is for them to go through a round-robin of the best ten to twelve teams and emerge without a huge string of losses. It actually benefits Nationals-seeking teams to have a unified tournament field.
Howard wrote:While I understand that qualifying for nationals is an appropriate goal for some teams, we shouldn't forget the real goals of quizbowl: knowledge, learning, and thinking. It's the pursuit of these goals that leads to qualifying for nationals in the first place. Trying to worry about qualification separately from these goals, at least for most teams, I think serves as a distraction from the entire purpose of having a team.
All of those goals which good quizbowl rewards (knowledge, learning, thinking) are best served when every competitor in the field is best able to give its chance at showing its knowledge, learning, and thinking to a representative sample of all skill levels in that field.
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Re: SWAGFEST at Richard Montgomery 2/25/12

Post by sir negsalot » Mon Jan 16, 2012 9:24 pm

There are numerous instances of teams attending once and never again. Isn't that proof that some aspect of a tournament was unsatisfactory to them?
Also, as one of the best high school quizbowlers of all time, isn't your perspective of quizbowl far different than a team of weaker players?
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Re: SWAGFEST at Richard Montgomery 2/25/12

Post by Important Bird Area » Mon Jan 16, 2012 9:34 pm

RyuAqua wrote:When teams are familiar with the best of the best in their area, they know what they themselves are capable of, and creating a permanent wall of separation between divisions as the norm will disincentivize all teams in the middle from improving as much as they can, since after all the rules stipulate that their division won't qualify anyone, ever.
I don't think anyone is calling for a "permanent wall of separation," just that the option exist for teams to play in a lower division if they want to.
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Re: Should tournaments have split upper/lower divisions?

Post by AKKOLADE » Mon Jan 16, 2012 9:37 pm

If SOMEBODY hadn't have been all over splitting this thread, you all would have already seen this totally sweet post in the proper area:

As a totally non-elite quiz bowler, I'll throw my chips in on this issue to the "sometimes different divisions are okay, but not every tournament needs to have them." I'll expand on these thoughts as time allows.
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Re: Should tournaments have split upper/lower divisions?

Post by Adventure Temple Trail » Mon Jan 16, 2012 9:43 pm

sir negsalot wrote:There are numerous instances of teams attending once and never again. Isn't that proof that some aspect of a tournament was unsatisfactory to them?
No. There are such teams who attended one tournament and never came back; there are also probably far more numerous instances of teams attending one or two tournaments only, but attending those come hell or high water, for a string of years in a row. (At GDS tournaments, we'd always see Maret, Sidwell, and pre-2009 St. Anselm's, but never saw them elsewhere. Centennial seems to continue to draw a huge field of teams that rarely go elsewhere). Though of course reasons vary as to why they don't go to more stuff, we can't know why an individual team makes the choices they do unless we reach out to them more often and get to know them better. If it then turns out that certain schools are dissatisfied with negotiable parts of tournament practice (pyramidality and good question-writing being non-negotiable, and divisions being actually negotiable, of course), we'll know, since their opinions will be registered. It's premature to take non-attendance as a sign of protest until we're in better communication with people.
sir negsalot wrote:Also, as one of the best high school quizbowlers of all time, isn't your perspective of quizbowl far different than a team of weaker players?
I was once much weaker than I am now, and remember that experience pretty well. I speak both from my current level of experience and from my earlier inexperience when I say that I'd much prefer that high school teams try their best at the full field than otherwise. I preferred this at least as early as GSAC 2007, when I and my teammates on GDS B made a strong showing to become 16th-seed in the playoffs. If there had been divisions (like there were at my first tournament in March 2007, Patriot Games), that chance never would have occurred, I wouldn't have seen Dorman A for at least three more months, and I'm unsure if I'd take the chance to overcome my fear of them.
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Re: SWAGFEST at Richard Montgomery 2/25/12

Post by Matt Weiner » Mon Jan 16, 2012 9:55 pm

sir negsalot wrote:There are numerous instances of teams attending once and never again. Isn't that proof that some aspect of a tournament was unsatisfactory to them?
Also, as one of the best high school quizbowlers of all time, isn't your perspective of quizbowl far different than a team of weaker players?
Moderator note: telling someone their opinions are invalid because of their level of quizbowl skill, in any direction, is an avoisive technique that doesn't address the substance of the discussion.
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Re: Should tournaments have split upper/lower divisions?

Post by AlphaQuizBowler » Mon Jan 16, 2012 10:33 pm

It depends on the strength of the region and the size of the tournament. Last year we used split upper/lower divisions at Alpharetta Varsity and it worked very well: the top 6 teams got to play a double round-robin against themselves, while the 12 other teams played prelims and a rebracketed playoff. The field was rather heterogeneous in terms of ability: none of the 12 teams in the lower division broke 15 ppb in the prelims, while none of the teams in the upper division were below 17.

That's often the case in Georgia (as I imagine it is in most other states): there is a wide gap between elite teams like Centennial, Chattahoochee, Norcross, and Brookwood and teams that are younger and/or less experienced. Sure, it may be inspiring for a team to lost 720 to -10 against Adam Silverman once in a while, but it's also good experience for teams to get a chance to compete against other teams on their level. I would argue that developing players improve more when they have a chance to answer questions and win games.

The negative effects of split divisions are mostly felt by the middle teams, especially those teams at the top of the lower division. Perhaps the tournament didn't end up challenging them enough (though I would note that at Alpharetta Varsity, no team escaped the lower division without a loss). For teams in this situation, though, a split division tournament could show them that they're ready to compete with the top teams. Marist, the winner of the lower division at Alpharetta Varsity last year, has shown strong improvement and this past weekend won some games in the upper division of Centennial's ATTACK.
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Re: Should tournaments have split upper/lower divisions?

Post by Cody » Mon Jan 16, 2012 10:41 pm

AlphaQuizBowler wrote:Sure, it may be inspiring for a team to lost 720 to -10 against Adam Silverman once in a while, but it's also good experience for teams to get a chance to compete against other teams on their level. I would argue that developing players improve more when they have a chance to answer questions and win games.
Ever heard of playoffs?
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Re: Should tournaments have split upper/lower divisions?

Post by Deviant Insider » Mon Jan 16, 2012 10:58 pm

The main reason New Trier uses divisions is the size of the tournament. If we had 24 teams or fewer, we would go to one division, and I don't know what we would do now if we had a little over 24. I don't like what divisions do to middle teams, which in a perfect world would get a chance to play some teams better and some teams worse than themselves. However, I also don't like trying to rank 40 teams or more based on the results of only ten rounds, and most of our teams don't want to play more than that.
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Re: Should tournaments have split upper/lower divisions?

Post by AlphaQuizBowler » Tue Jan 17, 2012 1:51 am

SirT wrote:
AlphaQuizBowler wrote:Sure, it may be inspiring for a team to lost 720 to -10 against Adam Silverman once in a while, but it's also good experience for teams to get a chance to compete against other teams on their level. I would argue that developing players improve more when they have a chance to answer questions and win games.
Ever heard of playoffs?
I have two points in response to this. First of all, tournaments in Georgia are just now making the shift to rebracketed playoffs, and many of them still use single-elimination playoffs. So yes, I have heard of playoffs, but for the less-skilled teams in Georgia that we're talking, about playoffs is playing one more game against a highly-seeded team, one more opportunity to lose 720 to -10 and then go home.

Second, one of the highlights of the rebracketing system is that in the afternoon, after rebracketing, it allows teams to play against other teams of a similar skill level. But my question is this: why is it so bad to have these matches all day? Presumably the point of prelims in a rebracketed system is to ensure that every team has a chance to win the tournament. If some teams want to forgo their chance to be the top team at the tournament, why shouldn't they be able to play afternoon rounds all day? In my conception of split-division tournaments, the choice is always given to the team. If every team wanted to play upper-division, I'd just have a regular tournament. On top of that, the team's choice is only binding for one tournament, so a mistake in self-selection wouldn't have much of an impact.
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Re: Should tournaments have split upper/lower divisions?

Post by Great Bustard » Tue Jan 17, 2012 4:15 am

I think this largely comes down to the number of matches that a team would have a fun time playing. At larger tournaments, 5 rounds is often the max # of prelims that makes sense, and if you're doing brackets like most, then that means that new/not particularly good teams might easily play 2 matches where they get blown away, 1 match where they get beaten badly (maybe something like 300-80) by a team that isn't that great themselves, but has a huge edge over a neophyte/not great team. That leaves 2 matches, maybe, and if these are being played on an IS set, or even in many occasions something of A set level difficulty, then even then, many games end up with scores of something like 120-50 with the vast majority of information on pyramidal tossups being completely overkill.
Is it really too hard to see why many teams and coaches throw their hands up at pyramidal tournaments? More differentiation in terms of both brackets and question sets used at tournaments is super needed, especially in areas like DC (note: I'm taking a break from emailing Centennial tournament teams about our upcoming NHBB tournaments to write this, so there's some outreach for you), but probably almost everywhere where the average number of teams at a tournament is over 15.
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Re: Should tournaments have split upper/lower divisions?

Post by AKKOLADE » Tue Jan 17, 2012 1:02 pm

A lot of people on both sides are doing this, so I'm just going to say this in general: don't assume you know why teams don't play more pyramidal tournaments. No one's actually done any kind of unbiased study into this, and whenever someone says why they think teams aren't playing them, it just happens to line up with their own personal beliefs. I highly doubt this is a one size fits all kind of solution, as well.
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Re: Should tournaments have split upper/lower divisions?

Post by Rococo A Go Go » Tue Jan 17, 2012 4:53 pm

Are teams really not going to tournaments because they have to play teams better than them? I hope not, because that's a bad reason. But if so, I think that says more about their lack of committment to get better than it says about those big, bad tournament directors who won't let them play in the kiddie pool so they won't get their feelings hurt. Also this can't be something unique to pyramidal tournaments, because you can get stomped (even frequently!) in any kind of tournament, I know this from firsthand experience.
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Re: Should tournaments have split upper/lower divisions?

Post by Howard » Tue Jan 17, 2012 8:56 pm

RyuAqua wrote:I disagree that this is a primary or even secondary reason why teams aren't showing up as often, since it's a thing that happens so much more rarely now than in the past. Rather, I think (as I've said elsewhere) that a lack of outreach to It's Ac-focused teams and middling teams is the main reason why they literally don't know pyramidal tournaments exist.
While Fred correctly points out that there has been no unbiased survey (and if we're going to properly analyze the reasons teams do not enter tournaments we really need to do such a thing), I'm also not making this up from my general feelings. Other coaches tell me that being beaten badly and consistently demoralizes their team and this is one of the reasons they leave early or do not enter tournaments.

Nonetheless, I cannot stress enough that advertising tournaments on this board is not sufficient to properly inform the quizbowl community as a whole. You're exactly correct that more teams need to know about the tournaments if we're going to expect them to attend.
RyuAqua wrote:If a losing team doesn't get a single tossup in a game, and their opponents get all possible points, they can still listen to, write down, or remember every early clue and single bonus part the opposing team hears. That serves plenty of need, and is a lot to learn. Furthermore, it's empirically the case that while some people get despondent at huge losses, others get inspired to become stronger than the thing that killed them -- just talk to Max Schindler, or Matt Bollinger, and they'll say as much about themselves.
Certainly the players can do this. But most of them won't. And that's the reason why you and the others you mentioned are among the best in the country-- you want to be very good. The majority of players, however, don't share this drive to be the best. And it's also not the case that learning the hard clue is the best method of learning for all players. Some players need to work on the middle and late clues. While I'm certainly not arguing that players at your level shouldn't be rewarded with the ability to play more tournaments, it's also the case that if we don't continue to do things to reverse the trend of fewer teams attending tournaments, we're going to have fewer and fewer great teams as those that die off aren't replaced with up-and-comers. A significant number of players need to be able to learn things just from hearing and playing on the questions.

The Hub (Gainesville, Florida) wrote:Are teams really not going to tournaments because they have to play teams better than them? I hope not, because that's a bad reason. But if so, I think that says more about their lack of committment to get better than it says about those big, bad tournament directors who won't let them play in the kiddie pool so they won't get their feelings hurt.
Look, if someone wants to run a tournament with only one division, that's okay. I don't think anyone in this thread has implied that tournament directors are evil if they only want one division. And you're also right it says more about the teams than the director. And that's also what I'm saying. If we don't consider the teams, they may not consider our tournament.
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sir negsalot wrote:There are numerous instances of teams attending once and never again. Isn't that proof that some aspect of a tournament was unsatisfactory to them?
Also, as one of the best high school quizbowlers of all time, isn't your perspective of quizbowl far different than a team of weaker players?
Moderator note: telling someone their opinions are invalid because of their level of quizbowl skill, in any direction, is an avoisive technique that doesn't address the substance of the discussion.
I can't speak for Daniel's intent, but I think it's at least somewhat important to realize that players' opinions and preferences on the topic may at least in some way be correlated to the players' skill levels. For the record, I don't think this makes Matt's opinions invalid or even less important than others. At the same time, if we don't make sure we consider the variety of opinions from the variety of skill levels, what we're really doing is continuing part of the disconnect that has already developed between the top couple tiers and the rest of the teams.
RyuAqua wrote:...creating a permanent wall of separation between divisions as the norm will disincentivize all teams in the middle from improving as much as they can, since after all the rules stipulate that their division won't qualify anyone, ever.
I don't think I'd ever recommend a permanent wall. While I'm sure there are going to be a couple outlying coaches who try to put their team in a division lower than they belong to give them a better chance of winning, I think the vast majority of coaches will choose the most appropriate division for their team the vast majority of the time. And I think this can vary from tournament to tournament depending on the teams entered and the players on the team in question on a given day. I do not dispute the philosophy that playing better teams will make you better. If my team were to demonstrate they were near the top of a division, that's a sign it's time for them to move up.
RyuAqua wrote:All of those goals which good quizbowl rewards (knowledge, learning, thinking) are best served when every competitor in the field is best able to give its chance at showing its knowledge, learning, and thinking to a representative sample of all skill levels in that field.
I'd need some substantial argument to believe this is true. While I've had teams where this was an excellent approach, I've had others where this made them want to quit pyramidal.
RyuAqua wrote:I preferred this at least as early as GSAC 2007, when I and my teammates on GDS B made a strong showing to become 16th-seed in the playoffs. If there had been divisions (like there were at my first tournament in March 2007, Patriot Games), that chance never would have occurred, I wouldn't have seen Dorman A for at least three more months, and I'm unsure if I'd take the chance to overcome my fear of them.
I know you don't mean it this way, but not only is this is an excellent example of what makes you a great player, it also illustrates how great you were even as a freshman. In my opinion, a finish like this indicates the team belongs in the upper division. To place 16th in the preliminaries at GSAC, I think puts the team at the second-tier level, which is significantly above middle-level teams. So I don't think, as a coach, I would have entered that team in the lower division at any tournament after I figured out this was a second-tier team.
nationalhistorybeeandbowl wrote:More differentiation in terms of both brackets and question sets used at tournaments is super needed, especially in areas like DC ... but probably almost everywhere where the average number of teams at a tournament is over 15.
I agree that both these things will have the effect of making tournaments better able to better serve the individual needs of teams, but we're also in a situation where good questions are hard to come by. So I'm not sure we're in a position to have separate question sets for separate divisions. My team played January 7 on horrible questions which were purchased from an outside vendor whom I won't bother to name. They also played January 14 on a set from a well-reputed vendor. Having moderated at the second tournament, it was clear to me that the question set was completed too late for proper editing-- some material was repeated and some questions didn't make any sense; it was necessary in several instances to read through the question silently a couple times to figure out what wording needed to be added/removed/modified. Nonetheless, the questions at the second tournament were largely very good. The clues were ordered well and questions were factually correct.
John Gilbert
Coach, Howard High School Academic Team
Ellicott City, MD

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

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Matt Weiner
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Re: Should tournaments have split upper/lower divisions?

Post by Matt Weiner » Tue Jan 17, 2012 9:02 pm

Someone already made this point, but the whole question of splitting divisions is largely moot at the vast majority of tournaments. Until we get teams to show up at all, it's not viable even if it's a good idea.

My additional thoughts may largely reduce to reminding people what the point of pyramidal quizbowl is (that all teams can play the same questions), what the current state of most high school question sets is (too hard), and what the bottom line is, at sets of appropriate difficulty, about teams who can't listen to 15 seconds of clues they don't know before buzzing on those they do (at some point, once correct difficulty is hit, we need to worry less about catering to the misplaced desire of bad teams to get questions early without deserving to do so, and do more to let people know how to improve).
Matt Weiner
Founder of hsquizbowl.org

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Deviant Insider
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Re: Should tournaments have split upper/lower divisions?

Post by Deviant Insider » Tue Jan 17, 2012 10:23 pm

I'll add that TDs need to be aware of the expectations in their area. If you are attracting teams that are used to going home at lunchtime, then you need to be very clear in every possible way that they are not going to do that at your tournament. Put the expectation prominently in your announcement/invitation, in your confirmation letter/rules/directions, and announce it at the morning meeting. Also, if you are attracting teams that have not been exposed much to good questions, then include a link to the QB Packets Archive and possibly even advice on which packets there are good for teams new to pyramidal quizbowl so that teams can practice on good questions before showing up to your tournament.
David Reinstein
Head Writer and Editor for Scobol Solo and Masonics (Illinois), TD for New Trier Scobol Solo and New Trier Varsity, Writer for NAQT (2011-2017), IHSSBCA Board Member, IHSSBCA Chair (2004-2014), PACE Member, PACE President (2016-2018), New Trier Coach (1994-2011)

wareagle
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Re: Should tournaments have split upper/lower divisions?

Post by wareagle » Thu Jan 26, 2012 10:40 am

AlphaQuizBowler wrote:For teams in this situation, though, a split division tournament could show them that they're ready to compete with the top teams. Marist, the winner of the lower division at Alpharetta Varsity last year, has shown strong improvement and this past weekend won some games in the upper division of Centennial's ATTACK.
We are a relatively new team--this is our fourth year. And I can say that the 720-30 loses we experienced for the first two years were NOT particularly strong motivators. Don't get me wrong, a new team should get beat badly somtimes, to show them how good teams can be at this, but we seemed light years away from being able to answer questions as early and often as the best teams. Our development has been incremental because of close matches, rather than exponential because of blow outs.

So, yes, I think winning the Varsity division at last year's Alpharetta tournament was a more meaningful experience than finishing 7th if we had included the Nationals teams in a single event. There is something to be said for the win early/win often approach to coaching. Without having to lose (badly) to the Nationals teams at Alpharetta last year, we actually still benefited from feeling like we were the next best team, the next team almost ready to take them on. That motivated us to make sure to be ready...for HSNCT last year and for competing against the best teams at Centennial this year, where we felt like we could hold our own against even the best teams at the tournament. With these closer matches this year in the Nationals division, I am confident our improvement will continue, incrementally.
Kevin Mullally
Marist School
Academic Team Head Coach

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