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Coaching Tips

How to Keep the Momentum Going

Thu, 14 May 2009 - 10:25 AM CST

How to Keep the Momentum Going

When I was a young coach I always thought Christmas time was a good time for quizzers to study. They had all that extra free time. How wrong I was! I learned that it is hard to motivate quizzers to study in December. One motivator I came up with was a varsity-alumni quiz. The recent former quizzers are back from college during Christmas. We pick one chapter from the League 3 material and have the former quizzers memorize it. Then the current team quizzes against the former quizzers over that chapter. In the years where we had a very young team, we might mix it up and form two-person teams by pairing one former quizzer with one current quizzer trying to get even strength teams. We also have a handicapped, one-on-one tournament where the weaker quizzer is given some number of free questions that the stronger quizzer is not allowed to buzz in on. This became a yearly event that everyone looked forward to.

Richard Ely

*Offer Contests/Incentives to keep quizzers studying...90% of quiz is keeping kids motivated and disciplined to study.
*Go to as many tournaments as possible...they're a great place to learn!
*Expect excellence from quizzers...if you aim for nothing, you will hit it every time.
*Lead by example...if the team is just starting out, you memorize too!
*Have fun together....unity is very important!
*When all else fails, call Pastor Bernie!

Pastor Lorna Albanese

Pile on the work. The temptation this time of year is to ease up and relax. Fight that with everything you’ve got. Quizzers will rise to meet the expectations you set for them...if you expect little, you’ll get even less. Set high goals, so if they come up a little short of those, they are still on schedule. Keep in contact with your quizzers between practices by phone and e-mail to encourage them to keep working. If it’s not a priority for you, it probably won’t be for them.

Reward hard work. Our quizzers are given a goal they have to achieve to go to the Tulsa Tournament in January. If they don’t meet it, they don’t go...period. This may seem harsh, but it gives them a concrete reason to continue to study over the holiday season. We set it 2 months in advance, and we put it in writing. Some may not make it, but it is a valuable motivational tool.

Karl Dawson

Pep Rally with quizzers and parents and Pastor -helps a lot to have his support -- Reminder of contract requirements signed, how we are doing, what we can do and how we are going to do it. (snacks helpful)

One of the coaches or parents have sat down with each quizzer and helped them put a schedule together (usually a copy of a calendar page) with the number of verses or chapters they would like to finish before our next meet and specifically how much time and exactly which verses need to be done daily. This helps them divide and conquer. Also, if the quizzer will probably be going to state finals and beyond -- some longer terms goals are made.

We also just had a Sunday afternoon when we just hung out together- watched movies, ate, fellowshipped. Did this day after last meet -- helped to build morale and inspire deeper dedication.

Pastor Tammy Yukon

Momentum - everyone needs to get the ball rolling and then once the movement has started we look for ways to keep everything rolling in the right direction.

One thing I believe is important is for the coach to bring passion and intensity to his/her roll. If we don't believe totally in what we are trying to do through Bible Quiz, then we are not going to succeed. It doesn't mean just winning. It also means teaching how to win, how to lose, how to live and get along. If you have not charted a path for your team, set down the objectives and principles to follow on the way, and then pusue those objectives with passion.

John Hunter

During the drudge part of the year.. the "I'm not sure I can stick with this program" time... the " I'm still 2 chapters behind last district matches material". this is the time we have an inner team competition. Guys verses girls.... (or team A verses team B) or challenge another close small team in your district.. The competition is on how many verses you can memorize during a given amount of time ( i.e. 5 weeks), and how many none quizzers you can recruit memorize verses from Acts. The recruits:(other students, parents, grandparents, teachers, pastors) can memorize from any version of the Bible, and must be quoted to the quizzer who recruits them. The verses quoted will be added to that teams points. If there are more quizzers on one team-we go by averages.

Sometimes we give a "double points per verse" week...... or "double points for every verse a recruited person quotes" week.

Also at the District level, we give every quizzer in our district a form that says my 3 goals for the day are: Plus we put down one group goal: i.e. get to talk to 3 people you didn't know and find out 2 things about them. The quizzers put down their goals and their coach makes sure that they are the appropriate level of challenge for that quizzer.. ( i.e. -for the quizzer that never buzzes... one goal will be to buzz in 3 times today. not even care if the answer is right... just buzz in, again for the shy kid- to say the prayer before a match ) (Another goal would be to answer a 30 pointer, . to quiz out, for the top quizers-to quiz out in all of their matches, or to nail every quotation.)

At the end of every match- the quiz master asks if anyone attained one of their goals during this match. If they did, they pick from the candy basket.

All the kids that completed their goal sheets turn them into the coordinator and we draw out 3 to receive a large candy bar- the 5-8 ounce size.

Points are announced every week. (unless you have one team that is so far behind that it doesn't motivate)

At the end of the competition, the winners are served a meal by the losing team. Entertainment must be provided. i.e. a song, skit, piano piece...etc. One year the girls served the boys a Mexican meal and then took the boys to a Legends Baseball game when Roger Clemens played one game with his son. We bought tickets 5 minutes after they announced it on ESPN. We bought 54 bleacher tickets for $4.00 a piece. Later on those tickets were being sold for $200.00-$300.00 a piece. If only we could have sold them we could have solved our fund raising problems for the year. The kids have a blast. And actually the teams that loses has a blast preparing the food, decorating, serving, and coming up with the entertainment.

Karen White

How do you keep the momentum going? That is a tough question. Different things work for different teams.

Quizzing should not be just all quizzing and no fun. It is the coach's responsibility to mix other fun things into practice. I always felt that the team should be doing other things besides quizzing like going bowling or eating pizza. There should be some measure of fun away from the quiz table. This helps break up some things and opens up opportunities for personal growth and fellowship.

As far as momentum in quizzing, tournaments definitely help. It is easy to gear up for events by preparing for tournaments. In early tournaments, it is good to get your feet wet. By midseason, the team should be working out all of the rough spots. By district finals, the team should have mastered the material and start preparing for higher levels of competition. Tournaments are good benchmarks to see where you are at as a team. It is a learning experience for both the coach and the team. The coach can see where the short comings of the individual team and the team as a whole. The coach can help the team with material as well as their attitude. It is a good place to teach valuable lessons, especially winning and losing the right way.

Most important is to remember to add ministry to Bible Quiz. It is great when the coach can help introduce teens in ministry. This could be something simple like feeding the homeless or something as big as a missions trip.

If a coach is addressing all of the above, momentum will naturally fit into the goals of the season. It is possible to have a successful season in quizzing and not win nationals. Winning should not be everything in quizzing. If the quizzers learned all of the material, came together as a team, and participated in ministry, does it really matter if they made it to nationals or not?

One of the great things about quizzing is when quizzers lives are changed because they studied the Word of God and their lives where changed. If they are properly motivated, momentum fits in there with everything else.

Dave Pizzolo

As a coach, one of the hardest things to do is to keep your team motivated, especially over one of the longer books like Acts. There are a couple of things that you can do so that the slow times do not seem so slow. To begin with, diversify the time that you spend together with your team. Plan a Christmas party with your quizzers and their families. Not only does this give you an opportunity to enjoy each other’s company, but it also gives you another time to gain the support of the quizzer’s parents. The more times that the families are all together, the better your quiz ministry will function. One thing that my team has enjoyed in the past is when we have been able to invite the other teams from our league to a party after a match.

Another way to maintain excitement is to mix up practices so that the monotony is broken. Changing your practice venue can completely change the mood of a practice. Have an all day practice that includes a game of basketball or a paintball tournament. Call another local team and spend your practice scrimmaging and scrabbling the teams.

Adding some type of intra-team competition can also spice things up. At several practices, test each quizzer in areas such as perfect quoting, speed quoting, random verses, chapter analysis, unique words, questions, and whatever else you can think of. Establish a point system that quantifies how well each quizzer is doing and keep it totaled from week to week. After several weeks, award some type of prize to the winner. The prizes could range from determining who will be captain at the next competition to a steak dinner with the coach.

Sometimes mixing things up can rejuvenate a sluggish team.

Jason Martin

I believe the toughest part of a Bible Quiz season is from the middle of December through January. The best thing a coach can do is to (a) help their team stay focused learning new material, (b) back off a bit with intense practices, and (c) refocus them in mid-January using a tournament.

Concerning studying, there are two errors that a coach can make during the holidays – (1) assigning quizzers to “review”, and (2) assigning too much material. I believe just reviewing is a mistake because, quite frankly, it will not be done. The quizzers have not yet learned at this point in the season how to focus on just reviewing - they should have however a good habit of memorizing new verses each week – so keep to this discipline and don’t shake up their schedule (it’s already shaken up with no school, lots of free time, and all the chaos that goes with the holidays.) On the other hand, some coaches think that quizzers “want” to spend all that extra holiday time working extra-hard on new material. You need to remember that it’s time to relax and enjoy this time of year, not lock yourself up in your room while the rest of the family is enjoying quality time together. (Parents also do not like this!) All this to say – just keep with the regular routine of trying to memorize a new chapter a week, while finding time to keep quoting the past chapters.

Regarding practices, you have to remember you’re working with teens, and during this time of year their minds are going to drift and their focus will wonder. Accept it! Try to meet as regular as possible, and stay to a “routine” in your practices, as again the quizzes have enough variables to deal with during this time of the year. Keep quizzing over both the new material and review material, but realize that they are going to be a bit sloppy. Don’t rub their noses in it, and don’t try re-teaching them quizzing skills, just be patient and supportive.

Finally, in early January, find a tournament to attend in either late January or early to mid February. Promote it big, building it up as a reward for hard work. Help your team develop new study plans for the next four – six weeks to prepare for the tournament. The tournament is the carrot to get the team back up and going.

Kent Kloefkorn

December/January are probably two of the toughest months of the year to keep quizzers motivated to keep memorizing and to stay on a schedule. With days off from school most of the discipline and rigor of everyday life goes out the window. Because of this, It's even more important to produce a daily schedule over the holidays and to begin the new year. One that you can call your quizzers and make them accountable for what is on it. It would be wise to get their "buy in" that they will do the schedule that is mutually agreed upon. I ask my quizzers when school is out for the holidays to do their quizzing in the morning prior to getting into their busy day where they will be shopping and spending time with friends and family.

Inevitably all quizzers get "off schedule" especially over a large book like Acts. You may have to re-calibrate their full year schedule if they have gotten behind on memorizing. You may want to put together a simple contest to get them to catch up over the holidays and into January. I have challenged my quizzers in the past by providing incentives with a mall gift certificate of $20.00 or so by getting a certain amount of material done over a certain period of time. The holidays are a good time to possibly even accelerate their schedule because they have more time with school being out. A contest should be set up that allows you to measure progress on areas that are weak with your quizzers. It could be getting behind in memorizing, knowing a chapters verses randomly or chapter analysis material for a given chapter. These are just a few areas that are important to work on.

For those quiz teams that may be behind and won't have a single quizzer memorizing all the material....I would make sure that between all of your quizzers the material is covered. Some quizzers will lose the enthusiasm to memorize all of Acts and dividing the material up is a good idea. Here again, putting a contest together to keep the team moving forward and getting the material covered as a "team" will go a long way.

John Porter

If you would like to contribute to future Coaching Insights, please send an email to the Bible Quiz office at bq@ag.org. If there are any specific topics that you would like to see covered, please email those ideas to the BQ office as well.

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