Other Team Members Too Afraid To Buzz

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Joined: Wed Jul 31, 2013 9:41 pm
Location: Queen Creek, AZ

Other Team Members Too Afraid To Buzz

Post by Tyden46 »

I started a quizbowl team at my high school this year. We do not have a teacher for a coach so I am basically the coach. We took a team to a local tournament a couple days ago and we performed decently (at least to our standards) but I was almost the only one answering questions. See the stats here (I'm from Team QC, at the bottom of the page): http://www.hsquizbowl.org/db/tournament ... eamdetail/

Two of my team members only got one tossup, one team member got two, and the third got eleven but he had almost as many negs as he had gets.

Throughout the tournament, my team members would say "I knew that!" frequently when the other team got the answer right. I play with some smart people so I don't doubt that they knew it. When I ask them why they don't buzz they say that they assume I will get it. I explain that I want them to buzz in whenever they know it and I encourage them to be more aggressive, but they just can seem to do it. At practice they do fine and they are consistently answering questions but at tournaments they clam up and they won't buzz. Two of my teammates have never negged at all in a tournament, which shows me that they aren't playing anywhere near as a aggressively as they should.

Last November we brought two teams to a tournament and I put these less aggressive teammates in the novice bracket, hoping that they could practice against less experienced teams and learn to not be so buzzer shy. This seemed to work, as they answered significantly more questions. But then when I brought them back up to play with me they went back to not buzzing.

Long story short, I have teammates who are buzzer shy and won't perform well in tournaments when they go up against good teams. They assume that I will know all the questions so it turns into a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy. What can I do to prevent turning my team into just a one man show?
Tyson Dawson
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Re: Other Team Members Too Afraid To Buzz

Post by AKKOLADE »

It might simply be a case of knowledge overlap, where you're beating them on questions they know and questions on different subjects are going unanswered by everyone. If that's the case, get your teammates enthusiastic about learning that information.

If not, and it's truly just a confidence issue, put together practice scenarios where you read them questions and your teammates have to score a certain number of points on a packet to "win." This could also help with the negging.

I would encourage patience as the most important thing. Sometimes players need time to get comfortable playing. For some people, it may not come. Be encouraging and sympathetic, because they're obviously not leaving questions unanswered out of spite.
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Re: Other Team Members Too Afraid To Buzz

Post by Cheynem »

One suggestion might be to check to see how you react to negs, not your teammates' but your own. Obviously some emotion is good and uncontrollable but if you're getting really worked up or mad at yourself, your teammates might think you're going to do that to them. I had a teammate in HS who a reasonable case of buzzer fear and in one of his few times being aggressive, he buzzed in on the last question of a tie game and negged us to a loss. That's tough because like it or not you're going to react negatively in the moment, but then you have to instantly see how you can be a supportive teammate/leader. I also remember another one of my teammates being very aggressive with an early buzz with something that seemed right--he was wrong, but I definitely said something like "I like the aggression, let's keep it up." This is hard--you want to strike a balance of "I want to be competitive, I want to win games, but I also want everyone to feel supported." It's not easy.
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Re: Other Team Members Too Afraid To Buzz

Post by zachary_yan »

If you study a lot more, you'll be more confident about what you know. Also, fear of negging seems somewhat unfounded since it's shown the best teams seem to have a somewhat higher neg amount. In the end people need to realize that most matches that they play are simply not that important, and that negging habits are usually correctable. Somewhat interesting tangent, in the final round of the 2013 HSNCT, there was only two negs among BOTH teams (both from Ladue), even though they both averaged about 3 negs per game, so this suggests being less aggressive on the buzzer during elimination rounds at nationals.
Wayzata '13
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Re: Other Team Members Too Afraid To Buzz

Post by pajaro bobo »

zachary_yan wrote:If you study a lot more, you'll be more confident about what you know.
Not necessarily.
Also, fear of negging seems somewhat unfounded since it's shown the best teams seem to have a somewhat higher neg amount.
Doesn't stop people from fearing negging anyway.
Alex Liu
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Re: Other Team Members Too Afraid To Buzz

Post by Howard »

There's a certain amount of overlap between good students and students who play quizbowl.

As a good student, your goal on a test or quiz is to be as correct as possible; you're judged on the correctness of your response.

As a quizbowl team, you're judged at the end of the game by which team scored more points. This is somewhat different from amount correct. So there's always the tradeoff between aggression and likelihood of being correct. If you wait, the other team might steal the answer, but if you don't you might get it wrong.

Try to determine what you'd like to be a goal for what you see as an optimal correct percentage. I'd put this in the 70% range, and others would put it in the 90% range. Your player with 11 tossups may just need some minor tweaking.

In general, I find those that are timid require the most encouragement and prodding. Remind them that you won't be angry with them for taking appropriate chances. There's usually time at the end of the game to have polite discussion about what you think the errors were and why they occurred. Encourage them to be more aggressive to the point where they're risking getting questions wrong. This may be detrimental to your team's victory percentage for several games, but it'll help them learn how aggressive they can be without crossing the neg line too far. If they just sit there and only buzz when they're sure, then they'll never learn where that magic line is.
John Gilbert
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"John Gilbert is a quiz bowl god" -- leftsaidfred
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