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How to Buzz

Posted: Thu May 16, 2013 1:35 am
by samus149
I've never figured out the proper way to buzz, just because the types of buzzers are so variable. There's handheld buzzers, box buzzers, tiny button buzzers. I've seen players use their thumbs, index fingers, tables, and heads (with less than satisfactory results). Some people hold the buzzers, some leave them on the table, some people flick their fingers off the buzzer, some just slam it as hard as possible, etc. Since nationals are right around the corner, I was wondering if anybody's developed a method for reliably winning buzzer races not just by knowing the answer first, but buzzing first.

Re: How to Buzz

Posted: Thu May 16, 2013 1:46 am
by Kouign Amann
There's really no kinesiological solution to this problem; the best way to win buzzer races is to have an answer already in mind. That way, even the first syllable of the next clue can confirm what you're thinking and allow you to beat people who have to react to the whole word. As a question goes by, always have an idea of where it's going, and a have a few workable guesses in mind. As it gets nearer and nearer to the end, know that the one key word you need is coming, and buzz without hesitation as soon as you think you're beginning to hear it.

Re: How to Buzz

Posted: Thu May 16, 2013 3:08 am
by Tale of Mac Datho's Pachycephalosaur
Taking what Aidan said a step further, have multiple possible answers in mind. Try to keep yourself thinking laterally through the entirety of the tossup, and concentrate how you might reconcile each new clue with the previous clues. This is very challenging to do consistently, but I find that it works well in science and history.

For example, if I hear a series of clues on the Battle of Hastings, I can usually fairly quickly discern the time period, since many questions mention certain historians by name. If you know who those historians are, then you can contextualize the clues and hone in on what you think is the answer. Then, when something very buzzable comes up (Malfosse, for example), you need only hear the first syllable to confirm your suspicions and buzz in correctly.

This approach lends itself well to specialization because it is quite difficult to develop the knowledge base to do this effectively on the full-packet scale--but also because it is mentally quite tiring.

Re: How to Buzz

Posted: Thu May 16, 2013 3:17 am
by Guile Island
If something triggers your buzz, take advantage of the time you get after a buzz to pull the answer, if you can. In the few seconds it took for you to remember that answer, the other guy might beat you to the buzzer if you don't buzz right away.

Re: How to Buzz

Posted: Thu May 16, 2013 9:05 am
by MorganV
Golden-bellied Starfrontlet wrote:If something triggers your buzz, take advantage of the time you get after a buzz to pull the answer, if you can. In the few seconds it took for you to remember that answer, the other guy might beat you to the buzzer if you don't buzz right away.
ITT Dylan explains how to get your neg levels on par with his

Re: How to Buzz

Posted: Thu May 16, 2013 9:13 am
by Banned Tiny Toon Adventures Episode
if you're trying to find a way to win buzzer races based on buzzer speed over knowledge, you probably have the wrong approach to quizbowl in general

Re: How to Buzz

Posted: Thu May 16, 2013 9:32 am
by Skepticism and Animal Feed
Golden-bellied Starfrontlet wrote:If something triggers your buzz, take advantage of the time you get after a buzz to pull the answer, if you can. In the few seconds it took for you to remember that answer, the other guy might beat you to the buzzer if you don't buzz right away.
Yeah, five seconds is actually a lot of time, and a lot of top players use that time very productively. Buzzing gives you a short-term monopoly on the ability to come up with the answer for points.

Re: How to Buzz

Posted: Thu May 16, 2013 12:38 pm
by Rompimientos del Centauro
If this is a question on actual buzzer technique, do something that feels comfortable and is ergonomic and all that. If your trigger finger hurts at the end of tournaments because you've been trying to "Dorman buzz" all day or something, try something different. Just do something that feels natural and smooth, while keeping in mind in the long run you're better off finding different and better ways of buzzing in before other people. It's pretty difficult to consistently win buzzer races on pure physical factors alone - often, as has been explained, anticipation of the answer is how to effectively buzz in before other people do.

I am unsure if there's any significant advantage to priming the buzzer down, but I'm inclined to say no, and that I don't do it. Some buzzers make priming impossible, but even on the ones that are more difficult to depress, the benefits seem minimal. Personally it seems as if the risks of negging accidentally are too high to justify having your buzzer finger travel several millimeters fewer. Knowing the answer earlier, working with an answer already in mind, and confident buzzing on a clue you know (then taking the full 5 seconds to pull your answer) are your best bets to winning buzzer races.

Re: How to Buzz

Posted: Thu May 16, 2013 1:24 pm
by Mewto55555
Skepticism and Animal Feed wrote:
Golden-bellied Starfrontlet wrote:If something triggers your buzz, take advantage of the time you get after a buzz to pull the answer, if you can. In the few seconds it took for you to remember that answer, the other guy might beat you to the buzzer if you don't buzz right away.
Yeah, five seconds is actually a lot of time, and a lot of top players use that time very productively. Buzzing gives you a short-term monopoly on the ability to come up with the answer for points.
At HSNCT though, moderators will crush your hopes and dreams after 2 seconds, sometimes multiple times per match!

Re: How to Buzz

Posted: Thu May 16, 2013 1:39 pm
by the return of AHAN
samus149 wrote:I've never figured out the proper way to buzz, just because the types of buzzers are so variable. There's handheld buzzers, box buzzers, tiny button buzzers. I've seen players use their thumbs, index fingers, tables, and heads (with less than satisfactory results). Some people hold the buzzers, some leave them on the table, some people flick their fingers off the buzzer, some just slam it as hard as possible, etc. Since nationals are right around the corner, I was wondering if anybody's developed a method for reliably winning buzzer races not just by knowing the answer first, but buzzing first.
As a coach, I feel I should point out that I never once discussed with my players any sort of physical techniques to buzz faster, outside of simply having their hand or finger near the button. I DID, however, talk about something I called the "buzz threshold," which is that it is only correct to wait for 100% certainty on a rebound. Their "buzz threshhold," optimally, was in the 80-90% range. Not that anyone was actually computing anything, but if you felt better than 80% sure of the answer line, go ahead and take your shot. It seemed to work well for us. :cool:

Re: How to Buzz

Posted: Thu May 16, 2013 7:25 pm
by geowzrd
If the answer to a question is sentimental or if I know it on the first clue, my buzzing in will become more exaggerated. Also, losing a buzzer race also has a tendency to exaggerate movement.