First time hosting

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First time hosting

Post by NMBlumberjax » Mon May 26, 2008 7:16 pm

North Myrtle Beach is hoping to host a tournament this upcoming season, what benefit does the tournament have for us and can we write our own questions for teams to answer

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Re: First time hosting

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Mon May 26, 2008 7:25 pm

Well, you can make money and learn lots by writing the questions, which would hopefully then translate into improvement at quizbowl tournaments elsewhere and the increased ability to fund trips to said tournaments. You most certainly can write questions as long as you don't play on them at the same time.
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Re: First time hosting

Post by Tegan » Mon May 26, 2008 8:00 pm

In addition to all that Charlie mentioned above, I think it improves the prestige of your program, provided that it is pulled off with a certain level of professionalism. In other words, if you are going to do it, you have to commit to doing it, and not slack off at some point on the details. If you decide to write your own questions, the questions MUST be done on time, they must all be copied and ready to go on tournament day, and they must be checked for alternate answers, hoses, repetition, etc. in advance. You cannot commit, and then get caught short in the end.

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Re: First time hosting

Post by Byko » Mon May 26, 2008 8:40 pm

Tegan wrote:In addition to all that Charlie mentioned above, I think it improves the prestige of your program, provided that it is pulled off with a certain level of professionalism. In other words, if you are going to do it, you have to commit to doing it, and not slack off at some point on the details. If you decide to write your own questions, the questions MUST be done on time, they must all be copied and ready to go on tournament day, and they must be checked for alternate answers, hoses, repetition, etc. in advance. You cannot commit, and then get caught short in the end.
I couldn't agree more with Tom, especially in the fact that the questions have to be done well in advance (and even more so if it's your first time running a tournament). If you really want to write at least some of your own questions, what I'd recommend is trying to find some tournament that could use questions and running a mirror of it in your neck of the woods, which would allow some ability to contribute questions (and feedback on writing) without having to write the whole tournament yourself.

There are several on here who have run a number of very successful tournaments, and most of them would be happy to help as they can given their location (while my wife and I would love to drive down to Myrtle Beach from Maryland to help, I don't think that would be exactly realistic for us).
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Re: First time hosting

Post by Deviant Insider » Mon May 26, 2008 10:01 pm

If your team is thinking about writing an entire tournament for next year, talk now about how much you want to get done over the Summer. It doesn't have to be the whole thing, but you should set a significant goal. You don't have to finish the whole thing over the Summer, and I realize people generally already have plans.

After Labor Day, you can look at what you've got and decide whether your team is serious about writing enough questions and good questions, which will tell you whether or not you should write all the questions. Even if you can't write the questions, if you are willing to put in the hours to send out invitations, organize the invitations that come back, and put together a schedule (and, if it's expected in your region, line up moderators), then hosting a tournament is generally a good contribution to the quizbowl community. You could use an NAQT IS set or look into other possibilities.
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Re: First time hosting

Post by First Chairman » Mon May 26, 2008 10:32 pm

I'm going to be very contrarian here. I think the first thing you should do is go to tournaments first. Take notes on what other tournaments do well and what they don't. Network and find out who the contacts are. If you've never had experience running a tournament, you should experience good and bad tournaments first.
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Re: First time hosting

Post by Tegan » Mon May 26, 2008 11:53 pm

ILoveReeses wrote:I'm going to be very contrarian here. I think the first thing you should do is go to tournaments first. Take notes on what other tournaments do well and what they don't. Network and find out who the contacts are. If you've never had experience running a tournament, you should experience good and bad tournaments first.
Not quoted for truth, because I can't quote for truth ....

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Re: First time hosting

Post by David Riley » Wed May 28, 2008 12:47 pm

I would add: pay particular attention to logistical details, i.e., details that make sure everything runs smoothly. Make up a check iist and follow it: e.g., making the brackets, checking room availability, ordering refreshments (will you be serving lunch? provide a hospitality room for coaches and moderators?). And what I learned the hard way: if you are using volunteer help that is new to quiz bowl, be sure to tell them that everything must run like clockwork. Good luck!
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Re: First time hosting

Post by Gautam » Wed May 28, 2008 2:21 pm

Ask Evan Silberman (User: BuzzerZen) about his guide to Tournament Directing and such. It is very useful.
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Re: First time hosting

Post by BuzzerZen » Wed May 28, 2008 3:55 pm

gkandlikar wrote:Ask Evan Silberman (User: BuzzerZen) about his guide to Tournament Directing and such. It is very useful.
Here it is!
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Re: First time hosting

Post by jbarnes112358 » Sat Jun 14, 2008 4:21 pm

I would like to offer some advice based on my experiences with tournament hosting over the past decade. Some of it reiterates what Evan and others posted, but most of this advice is born from specific mistakes and problems from our past experience.

Questions:
If you choose to write your own questions, please realize that it will take much longer than you might think. It is not unusual to take 30-60 minutes to write a well-researched, well-constructed pyramidal question or a three part bonus. Come up with your answers first. Make sure your rounds adhere to the advertised distribution and that the difficulty level is appropriate for your field. The questions should be done at least a week ahead of time to allow for editing and copying, etc. Of all the mistakes we have made over the years, I would say the biggest would be not following the advice of this item. Your questions can make or break your tournament. So, allow plenty of time for it and do it right. There are some good links for how to write good questions. (Could someone link to them - I don't feel like finding them right now.)

Workers:
The quality and quantity of your helpers is also important in running a successful tournament. Ideally your moderators should at least have been to tournaments before to see what moderating entails. Moderators should be competent and confident readers. They need to be well trained in the rules. If you must use parents, teachers, or students not on the team, they should be thoroughly trained, perhaps the day before, if possible. Make sure moderators do not say things that would be insulting to players and teams. Make sure the helpers are reliable enough to actually show up on time and to stay as long as they said they would. We had problems with no-shows a few years back, and went so far as having people sign a commitment form, though this is an extreme measure we no longer employ. We are able to offer community service hours to students not on our team who help us out. In any case, you need to have backup moderators, scorekeepers, etc. to replace the inevitable no-shows and tardies. ideally, each room needs a scorekeeper and a reader/moderator. Yes, you also need lots of "lackeys" as Evan calls them, to do all sorts of legwork, like setting up multiple buzzer sets that come in during a short span of time. ( I often request that one of the members of the team who brings in a buzzer set accompany one of our lackeys to help set it up, especially if the lackey is unfamiliar with that type of system) Lackeys will also be needed for taking down the buzzers when teams are eager to be on their way home, and putting back the rooms in the afternoon when everyone is eager to go home. You need two or three people in charge of compiling stats, at least one of whom is familiar with the workings of the stats program. I would recommend that the tournament director and the responsible adult in charge (team sponsor or coach) NOT do any of the above tasks, as you we will be needed to take care of all sorts of problems that will pop up and for ruling on protests, etc. Sometimes, as the tournament winds down and there are just a few teams left, the TD might feel things are sufficiently in control to read a round or two.

Scheduling:
I will not get into how to pair the teams, etc, as there are multiple ways to do it. But, do something fair and appropriate for the size and quality of your field. If you do brackets, which is a common approach, try to assess the teams ahead of time to get the brackets as balanced as possible. If schools bring multiple teams try to put them into different brackets. No matter how you set up your pairing, have a backup plan that you can implement quickly. There frequently will be a team or two or three that do not show up or who cancel at the last minute. Allow adequate time for the rounds. You have to allow enough time to accommodate the slower readers, and for teams to transition between rooms. You also need to allow adequate time for lunch, especially if people are traveling off-site for lunch, an hour to an hour and a quarter is usually adequate, depending on your circumstances. It is better to be ahead of your advertised schedule that behind it.

Buzzers:
Having an adequate number of working buzzer sets is a frequent problem. Offer some sort of economic incentive for bringing working buzzers. Usually $10 will bring in enough. You need to have several more than you think you will need, because some of the systems will not function properly and some people will forget to bring them. If you don't have enough, send out a last minute appeal to teams to bring theirs. Set up buzzers in assigned rooms where they can be easily found when teams are ready to leave. In rooms scheduled for playoffs use buzzer systems from teams you anticipate will still be around in playoffs. It might be a good idea to use your team's own buzzer set in the final game.

Rooms:
Make sure you have enough rooms and they are set up the evening before. If you use classrooms, sketch maps for the original layout of the rooms. At the end of the day, put the rooms back exactly as you found them. Some teachers may get upset if their rooms are not exactly right. They are also liable to blame you for anything that is lost or broken. As a courtesy, inform teachers ahead of time that you wish to use their rooms. They may have valuables or sensitive materials they wish to secure. If a teacher shows hesitancy, you probably should just avoid using that room.

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