Inconsistency

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Halinaxus
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Inconsistency

Post by Halinaxus »

My name is Reilly Melville, and I am a current junior at Chaska High School in Minnesota. Chaska is a fairly small program that is not close to being nationally relevant, but we have a storied history and are occasionally local competitors.

We've had roughly the same A team for about a year now, and I've been frustrated with how inconsistent our play has been over that time. Chaska A has put up solid power and PPB numbers against some of the better teams in Minnesota, and we came close to beating both Eden Praire A and Burnsville A last year, two teams that are probably top-5 in the state. However, we've also had some really, really poor performances. At one tournament last year, Chaska A had just 17 powers in 8 games on an A set (2.1 powers per game), and just a few days ago we only had 12 in 5 games (2.4 powers per game). This after we averaged close to four powers a game at our league last year (played on a combination of IS and IS-A), and almost 5 a game in August (on IS-A).

This inconsistency extends to myself as well. I'm Chaska A's main history and geo/CE player, and I've had everywhere from 37 to 60PPG on comparable sets (with the same teammates) over the past year or so. I understand that performance will fluctuate in quiz bowl, but its really frustrating to see your team improve over the course of a season, then mysteriously drop off out of nowhere.

Maybe I'm overreacting to our poor performance on Saturday, because it was ultimately just five games and we weren't able to get into a groove, but we played way better just a month ago with the same online format and against oppoonents of similar quality.

A few stats I referenced above:

Our performance at a tournament this past Saturday - https://www.naqt.com/stats/tournament/t ... _id=265994

Our performance at a similar tournament a month ago - https://www.naqt.com/stats/tournament/t ... _id=252322

Chaska's NAQT stats page (almost all the tournaments we play are NAQT) - https://www.naqt.com/stats/school/resul ... rg_id=1365

Any advice on improving our consistency would be much appreciated, thank you in advance!
Reilly Melville
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Skepticism and Animal Feed
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Re: Inconsistency

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed »

Did you play sloppy, or did you just encounter clues you didn't know?
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Re: Inconsistency

Post by Halinaxus »

Skepticism and Animal Feed wrote: Mon Oct 26, 2020 12:31 pm Did you play sloppy, or did you just encounter clues you didn't know?
Probably a combination of the two, but the former is definitely the bigger issue. I'm not so sure I would call it "sloppy" play per se, but rather an inability to find a "groove" and settle into the game. For me personally, I struggled to make good buzzes. I would hear a clue I knew, but either reflex-buzz, realize I didn't actually know the answer, and neg, or wait to make sure, then realize I did actually know the answer when the other team got it. I think at some point I got inside my own head about this, to the point where I would alternate between negging a ton and hardly ever buzzing (especially early in questions). At our past two online meets, I feel like I've been losing a ton of buzzer races, which also hurts my ability to find a sweet spot.

Our play was sloppier than it ususally is (we screwed up a couple bonus parts that we knew), but nowhere near enough to impact our overall performance, although it probably didn't help our mindset.

I don't think this is a knowledge issue; our knowledge obviously isn't that good in the grand scheme of high school quiz bowl, but it's there. Applying it has been the problem, specifically on tossups. At our last large-scale tournament before Covid, our power numbers were absolutely atrocious (38th out of 64 teams), but our PPB was actually quite good (14th), and we ended up tying for 9th and qualifying for HSNCT.
Reilly Melville
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Re: Inconsistency

Post by joshxu »

Halinaxus wrote: Mon Oct 26, 2020 12:47 pm
Skepticism and Animal Feed wrote: Mon Oct 26, 2020 12:31 pm Did you play sloppy, or did you just encounter clues you didn't know?
Probably a combination of the two, but the former is definitely the bigger issue. I'm not so sure I would call it "sloppy" play per se, but rather an inability to find a "groove" and settle into the game. For me personally, I struggled to make good buzzes. I would hear a clue I knew, but either reflex-buzz, realize I didn't actually know the answer, and neg, or wait to make sure, then realize I did actually know the answer when the other team got it. I think at some point I got inside my own head about this, to the point where I would alternate between negging a ton and hardly ever buzzing (especially early in questions). At our past two online meets, I feel like I've been losing a ton of buzzer races, which also hurts my ability to find a sweet spot.

Our play was sloppier than it ususally is (we screwed up a couple bonus parts that we knew), but nowhere near enough to impact our overall performance, although it probably didn't help our mindset.

I don't think this is a knowledge issue; our knowledge obviously isn't that good in the grand scheme of high school quiz bowl, but it's there. Applying it has been the problem, specifically on tossups. At our last large-scale tournament before Covid, our power numbers were absolutely atrocious (38th out of 64 teams), but our PPB was actually quite good (14th), and we ended up tying for 9th and qualifying for HSNCT.
If your primary issue is playing "sloppily" or not being able to find a "groove", this other thread might be helpful: viewtopic.php?f=117&t=24219
Josh Xu

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Re: Inconsistency

Post by Halinaxus »

joshxu wrote: Mon Oct 26, 2020 3:50 pm If your primary issue is playing "sloppily" or not being able to find a "groove", this other thread might be helpful: viewtopic.php?f=117&t=24219
That was helpful, thank you! I especially like the tip about using timeouts - the MN circuit switched to an untimed format for this year, and we haven't been using our timeouts, so I'll have to try that.
Reilly Melville
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Re: Inconsistency

Post by Stained Diviner »

When Phil Jackson became the coach of the Los Angeles Lakers after having coached the Chicago Bulls to six championships, he looked back at the career of his new center Shaquille O'Neal. He noticed that O'Neal's teams had been swept a lot in the playoffs--the year before in the Conference Semis and the year before that in the Conference Finals. When O'Neal had played with the Orlando Magic, that team from 1994-6 was the first team to be eliminated from the playoffs in sweeps for three consecutive seasons since 1950. Jackson, who had coached against O'Neal in one of those sweeps, figured out that the problem was in how O'Neal reacted to losses. When Shaq lost the first game of a series, he lost his faith in himself and his teammates and played like he deserved to lose.

This was in contrast with Michael Jordan, who Jackson had coached earlier. When the Bulls lost the first game in their first NBA Finals in 1991, Jordan decided that the Bulls should have won and were the better team, and the Bulls won the rest of the games in the series.

Jackson made sure that the team talked about the best way to respond to a loss and various other setbacks. The team won five championships. The best way to respond to setbacks is to focus on the job at hand, be it putting balls through hoops or buzzing in at the best possible moment. That's not true for every setback in life, because some setbacks are serious, but it is true for setbacks that involve losing games. When you are in a quizbowl tournament, play quizbowl.
David Reinstein
PACE VP of Outreach, 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)
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