Ensuring future team success?

Elaborate on the merits of specific tournaments or have general theoretical discussion here.
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SpanishSpy
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Ensuring future team success?

Post by SpanishSpy »

Hi all,

I'm Alex Wallace, graduate of Washington-Lee High School in Arlington, Virginia in 2015 and current sophomore at the College of William & Mary. To make a long story short, I joined the W&M team last year, where I shared a year with our departing greats Sean Smiley, Chris Miller, and Alex Frey, with whom I competed at UNC and VCU in 2015.

However, as I said, they are departing greats, and now they have gone off into the world. Now, the W&M Quizbowl team is run by a troika of James Cole, the captain, Ben Bechtold, and myself, and we have several good new people (some of you might have seen them at the novice tournament UVA hosted on September 10th, where our A team took 3rd and our B team took 6th - I personally came in 9th of all players).

This is my first time really running the College club - 2014-2015 I was a lackluster high school captain that only brought the team to It's Academic and couldn't muster enough interest to go to anything hosted by the VHSL (this was different from years past where other, better captains did a few where I competed). Currently, we practice three nights a week (I only can make two, as can James) and are writing a high school packet for a tournament we want to host by the end of the academic year.

We've lost our greats, and so the joking slogan we use now is "make quizbowl great again." Hence, I would like to ask you good people with experience and savvy, what do I need to do to ensure that this team is successful for the next three years and the years after that?
Alex Wallace
Washington-Lee High School Class of 2015
College of William & Mary Class of 2019

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The Stately Rhododendron
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Re: Ensuring future team success?

Post by The Stately Rhododendron »

Don't quote Donald Trump as a joke, for one.
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naan/steak-holding toll
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Re: Ensuring future team success?

Post by naan/steak-holding toll »

Sign up for the University of Maryland's EFT mirror on Saturday, October 8th! It's meant to be an introduction to the rigor of collegiate quizbowl on more accessible answers, so it'll get you used to playing as a team on some tougher clues without throwing as many hard answers or tough bonuses at you as, say, Regionals or SCT.

Hit up a tournament as a team and figure out how you all mesh together without your previous leaders. That'll help you figure out what areas you need to improve on, what your team synergies are, etc. From that baseline, you can much more easily figure out what y'all need to focus on and study to get better. There are tons of guides to studying available on the forums and lots of people willing to help you out with that.
Last edited by naan/steak-holding toll on Fri Sep 30, 2016 12:24 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Corry
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Re: Ensuring future team success?

Post by Corry »

The Stately Rhododendron wrote:Don't quote Donald Trump as a joke, for one.
Oh, don't take yourself so seriously.

But actually, signing up for EFT would be a good idea. Can confirm, is fun.
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SpanishSpy
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Re: Ensuring future team success?

Post by SpanishSpy »

Periplus of the Erythraean Sea wrote:Sign up for the University of Maryland's EFT mirror on Saturday, October 8th! It's meant to be an introduction to the rigor of collegiate quizbowl on more accessible answers, so it'll get you used to playing as a team on some tougher clues without throwing as many hard answers or tough bonuses at you as, say, Regionals or SCT.

Hit up a tournament as a team and figure out how you all mesh together without your previous leaders. That'll help you figure out what areas you need to improve on, what your team synergies are, etc. From that baseline, you can much more easily figure out what y'all need to focus on and study to get better. There are tons of guides to studying available on the forums and lots of people willing to help you out with that.
I know James has been talking about going to Maryland - this must have been it. We intend to do so although I'm not sure I can - I have my grandfather's funeral in Wisconsin I need to attend around that time.

Thanks, though. Anything else you think needs to be done?
Alex Wallace
Washington-Lee High School Class of 2015
College of William & Mary Class of 2019

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Rococo A Go Go
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Re: Ensuring future team success?

Post by Rococo A Go Go »

The Stately Rhododendron wrote:Don't quote Donald Trump as a joke, for one.
Don't listen to this man.

As to the main point of the thread, attend lots of tournaments, practice as often as you can, and start writing questions as often as it's necessary. Writing a packet for a regular difficulty tournament can be a daunting task for a young team, but it always made us better when we tried it. It's also worthwhile to, once you feel you do well on novice like tournaments, to prioritize reading harder questions (at first regular difficulty, but eventually including nationals level stuff) for both personal and practice purposes.
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Re: Ensuring future team success?

Post by SpanishSpy »

Ferlinghetti's Axis wrote:
The Stately Rhododendron wrote:Don't quote Donald Trump as a joke, for one.
Don't listen to this man.

As to the main point of the thread, attend lots of tournaments, practice as often as you can, and start writing questions as often as it's necessary. Writing a packet for a regular difficulty tournament can be a daunting task for a young team, but it always made us better when we tried it. It's also worthwhile to, once you feel you do well on novice like tournaments, to prioritize reading harder questions (at first regular difficulty, but eventually including nationals level stuff) for both personal and practice purposes.
As I said previously we practice three times a week, and we're trying for more competitions. At this point, Maryland doesn't look likely but we want to do Duke.

We've been working on standard level questions now, having moved up from novice. Last year we almost exclusively did nationals - as good as they were, last year's leadership was more interested in going out with a bang than with building up the new team (which we are doing right now - difficult questions from the get-go turned a lot of prospective players off).

We're also collaboratively writing several high school packets, and we eventually want to do a college tournament. Is there anything we need to be aware of for these?
Alex Wallace
Washington-Lee High School Class of 2015
College of William & Mary Class of 2019

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Aaron's Rod
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Re: Ensuring future team success?

Post by Aaron's Rod »

(This is not about your most recent question of hosting a college tournament, sorry.)

In terms of "after that," transitions can be particularly difficult when one person has run the club for a long period of time. To try and counteract that, the most important things you should do are delegate and involve other people in processes and decisions. It's much easier for them to figure out their way if they've seen what you've done. In addition, if you sense there would be sort of a power struggle for "President" after you leave, create and enforce an election (or other transition) policy.

I was a control freak who almost never delegated, so I wrote a pretty extensive "Lawrence University Quizbowl President’s Binder," which I left to my successor with the intent that he edit it and pass it on to his successor, etc. (I stole this idea from my sorority, which has a binder for every position.) The table of contents looked like this. I would really encourage you to consider this idea to document best practices for your organization. For example, I particularly prided myself on attention to detail--i.e., paranoia--when planning trips to tournaments, hence the three single-spaced pages of "Checklists" I included. I wanted to make sure that anyone after from me would benefit from that particular strength and then add more content pursuant to their own strengths. (I also didn't want them to make the same mistakes that I did.) Since you'll run the organization for so long, you'll learn a lot that others can benefit from.
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Re: Ensuring future team success?

Post by UlyssesInvictus »

Aaron's Rod wrote:I was a control freak who almost never delegated, so I wrote a pretty extensive "Lawrence University Quizbowl President’s Binder," which I left to my successor with the intent that he edit it and pass it on to his successor, etc. (I stole this idea from my sorority, which has a binder for every position.) The table of contents looked like this. I would really encourage you to consider this idea to document best practices for your organization. For example, I particularly prided myself on attention to detail--i.e., paranoia--when planning trips to tournaments, hence the three single-spaced pages of "Checklists" I included. I wanted to make sure that anyone after from me would benefit from that particular strength and then add more content pursuant to their own strengths. (I also didn't want them to make the same mistakes that I did.) Since you'll run the organization for so long, you'll learn a lot that others can benefit from.
If you haven't already, and they're not, like, trade secrets, would you be okay with posting the full binder? I'm basically stuck in the same position, for the same never-delegating reason, so a model to work off of would be really cool.

Oh yeah, I guess that's my redundant tip: delegate, even if you think the output will be worse. It's better in the long run.
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SpanishSpy
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Re: Ensuring future team success?

Post by SpanishSpy »

Aaron's Rod wrote:(This is not about your most recent question of hosting a college tournament, sorry.)

In terms of "after that," transitions can be particularly difficult when one person has run the club for a long period of time. To try and counteract that, the most important things you should do are delegate and involve other people in processes and decisions. It's much easier for them to figure out their way if they've seen what you've done. In addition, if you sense there would be sort of a power struggle for "President" after you leave, create and enforce an election (or other transition) policy.

I was a control freak who almost never delegated, so I wrote a pretty extensive "Lawrence University Quizbowl President’s Binder," which I left to my successor with the intent that he edit it and pass it on to his successor, etc. (I stole this idea from my sorority, which has a binder for every position.) The table of contents looked like this. I would really encourage you to consider this idea to document best practices for your organization. For example, I particularly prided myself on attention to detail--i.e., paranoia--when planning trips to tournaments, hence the three single-spaced pages of "Checklists" I included. I wanted to make sure that anyone after from me would benefit from that particular strength and then add more content pursuant to their own strengths. (I also didn't want them to make the same mistakes that I did.) Since you'll run the organization for so long, you'll learn a lot that others can benefit from.
There is actually, as it currently stands, a good fair bit of delegation in the writing of packets. We have a shared google sheet with packets and subject distributions on them, and we put the subject in the cell of a question we want to write, and color code it to show who is writing it. Each practice we go over the questions we have written and critique them. This would have the effect, I'd imagine, that if they can write questions, they'll have that much more involvement in the club, giving it some more permanence.
Alex Wallace
Washington-Lee High School Class of 2015
College of William & Mary Class of 2019

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Aaron's Rod
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Re: Ensuring future team success?

Post by Aaron's Rod »

UlyssesInvictus wrote:
Aaron's Rod wrote:I was a control freak who almost never delegated, so I wrote a pretty extensive "Lawrence University Quizbowl President’s Binder," which I left to my successor with the intent that he edit it and pass it on to his successor, etc. (I stole this idea from my sorority, which has a binder for every position.) The table of contents looked like this. I would really encourage you to consider this idea to document best practices for your organization. For example, I particularly prided myself on attention to detail--i.e., paranoia--when planning trips to tournaments, hence the three single-spaced pages of "Checklists" I included. I wanted to make sure that anyone after from me would benefit from that particular strength and then add more content pursuant to their own strengths. (I also didn't want them to make the same mistakes that I did.) Since you'll run the organization for so long, you'll learn a lot that others can benefit from.
If you haven't already, and they're not, like, trade secrets, would you be okay with posting the full binder? I'm basically stuck in the same position, for the same never-delegating reason, so a model to work off of would be really cool. [...]
Sorry, I don't go on the forums too much–-I'll PM you a link to the Google Drive folder. Anyone, especially underclassmen running their quizbowl organizations, is welcome to PM me for the link (so I'll get notified via email). There's just some stuff I would rather not make completely public, mostly because the interest of Lawrence QB Presidents can be at odds with the quizbowl community's conventional wisdom.

EDIT: I've already gotten several messages, so by all means don't be shy!
Alex D.
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