Student looking to start a team

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Student looking to start a team

Post by please » Wed Apr 04, 2018 11:30 pm

Hi, so I’m a high schooler in NYS right now, and I’m really interested in starting a quiz bowl team but I have no idea where to start. Everything I’ve found online is just how a teacher can start it but there’s nothing really for how a student can start it that I’ve seen (I know there’s probably stuff out there but I can’t find it). At the moment, I have a few friends who are interested but not a possible coach. Any advice would be very very appreciated!!! :kenj:
Jamesville-DeWitt HS

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Re: Student looking to start a team

Post by jonah » Thu Apr 05, 2018 12:34 pm

Is this article helpful?
Jonah Greenthal
National Academic Quiz Tournaments

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Re: Student looking to start a team

Post by nsb2 » Fri Apr 06, 2018 1:04 pm

In addition to the NAQT packets mentioned in the link Jonah provided, you can access a large number of non-NAQT packets at the Quizbowl Packet Archive,

In addition, if you're interested in another national tournament that is not run by NAQT, you can take a look at the PACE NSC ( However, the questions at PACE (also available from the packet archive) are harder than at HSNCT, so it might help to gain more experience before you get a feel for them.
Pranav Sivakumar
Barrington Station MS '13, Barrington High School --> IMSA '17
UC Berkeley '21

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Re: Student looking to start a team

Post by please » Sun Apr 08, 2018 10:24 am

Thank you both for the help!! That article was pretty good and I’ll definitely go look at those packets. :grin:
Jamesville-DeWitt HS

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Re: Student looking to start a team

Post by Habitat_Against_Humanity » Sun Apr 08, 2018 8:12 pm

please wrote:Thank you both for the help!! That article was pretty good and I’ll definitely go look at those packets. :grin:

You're in Jamesville-Dewitt????!!!!

I just moved to JD last July and have been bemoaning the lack of qb in this area. Please hit me up with any questions. I'm more than willing to help out with anything I can do start a quiz bowl team here.

Lest I seem just like some rando, I've been playing quiz bowl since I was in the sixth grade in 1998. I played throughout middle and high school in rural Michigan and was on several national-champion caliber teams while in college at UChicago. My wife is professor at Syracuse. I'd love a chance to help out. Please, please, please don't hesitate to PM me with any questions.
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Re: Student looking to start a team

Post by cthewolf » Wed Aug 08, 2018 4:57 pm

As someone who had to start/rebuild a quizbowl team myself, these are my 14 tips. Hope this helps.

1. Recruit for specialties: There are few people that are just generally interested in academics as most have a specific subject they like. Imo, you are likely to find a quizbowler if you search for someone who likes science, history etc., but more likely to find a resume-stuffer if you search for someone who "loves" academics and wants to join a young club. This also converts really well once they start playing and choose a specialty as well. You can figure out interests by classes taken or other clubs they are involved with.

2. Recruit from other clubs: Going off #1, other academic clubs are the best place to find potential members. Don't be shy about talking to club leadership or asking specific individuals. You should have an email or a flyer ready to send or hand out for such opportunities. This may not apply to your school, but making a morning announcement over the speaker or putting one in a bulletin can really help.

3. Have friends talk to friends: You might recruit someone who turns out to not be so interested after all, but their friend might love quizbowl.

4. Ignore age: This is huge. Do not assume that younger students or those who haven't taken higher level classes know less. A big mistake I made was avoiding older students, especially seniors, when recruiting. This year, I found out one of my close friends is really good at quizbowl (on HSNCT sets no less), just due to his interests and extensive general knowledge. Unfortunately, it was about 3 weeks before his graduation and HSNCT was in 1.5 weeks.

5. Find ways to give new players opportunities: New players are usually fairly intimidated, so they need to have opportunities to play and see what they are good at. This can be as simple as reading a novice packet or having a separate practice for them. One of the mistakes I made was having PACE NSC questions read at our only practice before our first tournament. It actually ended up being a big confidence booster because once I figured out that it was a national level set, the players were proud that they were even able to answer questions.

6. Encourage team members to find roles: I always tell players that each of them has a unique way of contributing whether they are scoring 5 ppg or 50 ppg. It could be as simple as a nod on a bonus, but this makes the other players more reassured and also gives the nodder a sense that they are being active on the team. Furthermore, give praise as necessary. People are very different, and a small shout out can do huge things for someone's confidence. I especially make a point to notice when someone scores on a personal weakness (e.g. our historian knows very little about sub Saharan Africa).

7. Ask your moderators, other coaches, and even other teams for advice: The community should be more than happy to help and will give helpful tips on what to study and how to improve as a team especially during the game. Often someone on the outside may notice a tendency that you wouldn't as a player. You want to compete at a tournament as early as possible.

8. Make sure you are practicing at the appropriate level: At one point, one of the team members refused to read any non-novice rounds which really irked me. We were well past that point and were first lining almost every question.This caveat goes both ways as reading rounds that are too hard or too easy are harmful and ineffective. This can also turn off players who feel it is not worth the time.

9. Play as much as you can: This applies to tournaments and practice. This not only improves the team but will keep the team interested and accelerate building chemistry. Again, remember that you should be competing at an appropriate level.

10. You don't necessarily need a coach: This has a couple levels. Someone who does not have significant experience playing or watching some type of bowl will have a very hard time coaching, at least in a meaningful way. Depending on your school policies, you'll more than likely need an advisor, and that person will be very important. Make sure they are genuinely interested and knowledgeable enough to help you. Details like finances and parent permission will need to be addressed in the future. You will also need a place to practice. I would say that a captain can easily cover many of the coaching responsibilities, but an outside point of view like a non-player student, an elder sibling, or parent can be helpful. I do recommend that this person is older than the rest of the team just from personal experiences.

11. Set and reset reasonable goals: If I had said we are going to be in playoffs at HSNCT in a year (excluding our hiatus) before our first tournament, my teammates probably would have called bs and left then. However, this became a lot more reasonable as we continued to grow.

12. Persevere through setbacks: As I mentioned, our team went on a hiatus for sometime over personal reasons and we didn't all get back together till early December of last year. Opinion differences tend to be common in young clubs of all kinds. Be prepared and work together for better solutions.

13. I guess you should have fun: I don't know why everyone always says this cause it's so easy. Try not to be too serious and boring. This one is pretty hard to mess up, yet some people manage to do it.

14. Use all the resources you have: There is a ton of material and advice available for free on the NAQT website.
Christy Jestin
Boston Latin School '20
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