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The Ideal Practice

Thu, 14 May 2009 - 10:27 AM CST


The ideal practice…

I don’t know if I really have an ideal practice. I probably don’t use enough variety. Throughout the quiz year, I normally assign a chapter or chapter portion, and we do question drills over the chapter. That’s my major emphasis. Drilling works for me, but it may not work for everyone. Drilling is the best way to cover the most material in the least amount of time with the most responses to the buzzer. The weakness of only drilling is the quizzers tend to loose track of how many interruptions they fail to complete.
I write my card file using 3”x5” cards, and I write extensively. I usually average four times as many questions as verses. On key questions like the Lord’s Prayer, I write even more extensively. Another example is the twelve apostles’ names in Matthew. I ask those in as many different ways as possible. We’ll also do some practice quizzing where we take a set of twenty questions and keep score.
Another drill focuses on section headings. You can either go from what chapter the title is from, or vice versa. With better teams, we also practice over the concordance. This is only valuable when the quizzers have really mastered the text itself. The most important thing for the coach is to help them analyze the text and see the answers. Don’t start with the questions, but start with the answers.
You can also drill through the quote cards for each verse, giving them only the introductory remarks and the answer, and they have to write the question. This is for the “higher level.” You have to bring a new team to a place where they know that when they put in enough effort, they will achieve a certain level. Some get discouraged when they run into a good team and give up. Help them remember the other team wasn’t any better when they started quizzing. There must be recognition and praise from the coach and from fellow quizzers.

George Edgerly is a mainstay of Assembly of God Bible Quiz almost from its beginning in 1962, and was a major force in the creation of Junior Bible Quiz in 1975. He began coaching in 1965, leading Gray, Iowa, to four straight district second-place finishes. From 1986–1998 Edgerly coached Park Crest Assembly of God, Springfield, Missouri, leading them to frequent Nationals appearances. In 1990 they were 2nd at Nationals and in 1992 were the National Champions. George recently retired as Sr. Pastor in Ottumwa, Iowa, at First Pentecostal Assembly of God, where he also started a Bible Quiz ministry. George is currently working with the BQ ministry in helping with the transition from JBQ to the BQ ministry.

Everyone shows up. Sometimes this in itself is challenging with busy schedules, etc.
When quizzers come prepared. Have them set (individual) weekly study goals…and meet it.
Goals for the practice is met. Set specific goals for each practice and make sure they are fulfilled.
Practice competition is close to official competition. This involves both quizzers and coaches holding true to the rules as well as answering questions correctly.

John Isett currently serves as the World Bible Quiz president. He also coaches a Youth For Christ (YFC) team in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Start with prayer. I’ve been guilty of getting caught up in all the stuff that’s going on, and I’ve forgotten to pray. You can’t go wrong with prayer, and it keeps them focused on the fact that we are brothers and sisters in the Lord and that we have to hold each other up in prayer. Competition can bring out the worst in us, but prayer keeps us focused. Don’t just pray, “Lord, bless this time.” Make it meaningful. Pray specifically for each quizzer and their family members who need prayer, etc.
Move on to speed drills. I have everyone close their eyes, and then I’ll clap my hands. The first one to buzz in gets a point. We may do ten or twenty of those and make a contest of it. This helps develop speed.
Practice the chapter of the week. Have a relaxed warm-up quiz, during which you read a set of questions and allow them to respond to every question with no quiz outs. After this, have a challenge quiz on the same chapter or group of chapters between the quizzers and yourself. Then have a challenge quiz just between the quizzers. The challenge quizzes are done just like regular quizzes with one exception: You can get as many right as you want, but if you get three wrong, you’re out, and there are no bonus points because there are no quiz-outs. After this, split up into teams and practice official team quizzing, getting as realistic as possible so they get a feel for what it’s really like.
At the beginning of the year, have practice once a week for three to four hours, and then increase it to two or three times a week as you get closer to finals.

Bryan Turner has coached churches in Texas, Arizona, and Oklahoma. He has been to National Finals many times, leading First Assembly of God, Tempe, Arizona, to second place in 1985 and to first place in 1986. Since 1987 Bryan has conducted numerous quiz seminars and retreats.

Start Saturday practice with a devotional. (Everyone on the team is required to do this.) Each week, the quizzers take turns giving a fifteen minute devotional. It’s always based on the book we’re studying, but they have to tie in scripture from elsewhere in the Bible. It has to be written and meet other expectations; when they’re done, I give them a critique. This is not done for quiz’s sake. I want to help them with their presentation and communication skills because I want to help them with their development as people.
We then do quoting, buzzer drills, and question sets. We do other things like one-on-one tournaments to mix things up. On Wednesday’s practice we teach over the scriptures so they know what they’re studying. This involves less quizzing and more drilling over factual material and chapter analysis-type stuff. This is where we sharpen our detail skills. Sometimes we do a few question sets, but it’s not the focus.

John Porter headed the Bible Quiz ministry at Allison Park Assembly of God, Allison Park, Pennsylvania, from 1987–1998. Before that he coached three years at Stone Church, Palos Heights, Illinois, where he quizzed in 1977–1978. He took Allison Park to National Finals eight straight years and won in 1995. John then moved south and coached at Calvary Assembly of God, Dunwoody, Georgia for several years and brought them to National Finals every year before moving to James River A/G, Ozark, Missouri and
has taken multiple teams to National Finals. John also serves on the National Bible Quiz Advisory Committee.

Have prayer as a team. Then have them quote back to me a predetermined number of verses or chapters, depending on what time of the year it is and how long you have to practice. When we quizzed over Acts, we practiced every day once they learned the material. At the beginning of the year, have them quote as much of the chapter as they can. If they can’t quote everything, have them do it “in essence.” Early in the year we did quoting back for about an hour; later in the year it could be as long as two hours.
Drill on questions, sometimes different types of questions (reference, comparisons, etc.). Do lots of sets you either purchase or make up. As the year progresses, have each quizzer write a set per week which the rest of the team quizzes over. Then quiz with regular sets, depending on what time of the year it is. We wouldn’t take the time to contest. If there was an “iffy” question, we’d all discuss it, but we never spent more than twenty minutes per set.
When we start studying for nationals, we usually work on reference questions. The quizzers learn the references for certain words, and we drill them over these. We also work with quote cards. At one time, we had almost one coach per quizzer, so we had the quizzers individually quote from the cards.
The best thing we ever did was have myself and the assistant coach quiz against the team. We didn’t do this until Regionals and continued all summer until Nationals. We pre-arranged those times because another person had to come in and quizmaster. We quizzed against them a certain number of sets per week, and then the last two weekends before nationals, we quizzed them in a mock national Finals. The assistant coach and myself represented each opposing team.

Mark Gilmer quizzed eight years (1973–1981) for Evangel Temple, Decatur, Georgia, going to nationals five times and winning twice. He coached the next fourteen years (1982–1995) for Evangel, which became Evangel Community Church and moved to Centerville, Georgia. He coached them to eight nationals appearances finishing in the top five 4 times. Mark went to be with the Lord in July 2010 and has left behind a quizzing legacy in Georgia.

For me, an ideal quiz practice is getting as many sets done as possible. When l have a weeknight practice l try to do five or six sets and on Sundays ten to twelve sets. Once we start quizzing it is serious business. l try to run it as close as possible to a regular meet. An ideal practice is one without any attitude problems or headaches and when everyone is getting along.
We will break things up to make it interesting. We might have one quizzer against three or have different teams of two each time or have everyone go against the phantom. Diversity is important as it is easy to get bored doing the same thing for hours.
When training for nationals l have worked with teams from noon to nine doing different things at fifteen minute intervals. Quote for fifteen minutes, then chapter analysis for fifteen minutes, then sets for fifteen minutes, then break for fifteen minutes. We did this for two or three weeks straight and the time really flew by. It proved very productive for us.

Mary Daigle has coached at Grace Assembly, Syracuse, New York, since 1990, taking teams to nationals six times. They won the championship in 1996 with both daughters Joy and Tika on the team. The same year. Joy received the Mrs. Robert L. Curtis Memorial Quiz Scholarship. In 2001 she took a first year A league team consisting of eighth graders to National Finals where they placed fifteenth in the Championship Division. After a bout with cancer and our precious Lord touching Mary she is back as an official from the Potomac District.

Preparation and organization are the most important elements of an ideal practice. Without one you can’t have the other. The preparation of the coach during the week determines the success of the practice well before the practice actually begins. Good coaches will work as hard as, if not harder than, their quizzers during the week on various things: writing questions, concordance work, identifying strengths and weaknesses of their team, and developing a strategy to help their quizzers do their best. They will also come up with a step-by-step agenda for the upcoming practice. When quizzers see the work and dedication coaches put into quizzing, they will be more likely to want to achieve their full potential. The preparation of the coach should translate into an organized and efficient practice.

Nilay Saiya, former National Quizzer and Coach. Currently the official Novice writer.

An Ideal Practice is:
1. is when all of the quizzers show up having learned all of the material for the week.
2. is when one of your quizzers makes a deeper commitment to God because God has been speaking to hom of her through the Scripture.
3. is when a quizzer asks a question that shows he or she truly understands the Scripture.
4. is when the whole team gathers around a quizzer that is hurting and prays for that quizzer.
5. is when, you are discussing Acts, one of the quizzers receives the Baptism in the Holy Spirit.
6. is when you don’t have to sue chocolates to bribe the quizzers to answer questions.

Dr. Bob Roller has been involved in the Bible Quiz Ministry for many years. He has coached in three different regions of America. He is an excellent writer and has written, practice, tournaments and even been the official Question Writer. Bob is currently coaching a Novice team, with his daughter Laura on it, at Faith Chapel A/G, Overland Park, Kansas. Dr. Roller is the President of the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education.
Everyone is prepared. The quizzers have completed their assignments, are on time, and are ready to work. The coach has prepared an agenda, knows what he wants to accomplish, and has a game plan for how to get there. There is prayer, fun, and lots of hard work all the way around. New coaches need to be careful not to fall into the last minute trap. Prepare yourself during the week. Pull your questions, determine your drills, and call your quizzers in advance to encourage them. If you want your quizzers to study all week, you need to prepare yourself as well.

Make sure to include a little fun in your practice. Even as we work, we laugh a lot. Especially for Novice quizzers, they need to remember that quiz is a game, and games are supposed to be fun. That helps make the hard work worth it. Tell a story or a joke, do fun drills in addition to regular drills, and try to have special activities every once in awhile. Bible Quiz is a lot of fun, and if it’s not, you might not be doing it right.
Over-plan a little. That way you won’t run out of stuff to do if something doesn’t work as well as you thought. Have kids quote some in practice, don’t just drill questions. This can help you pinpoint potential trouble spots. It also lets the quizzers know that if they don’t do their assignments, your going to know. Start and end on time, and recognize that sometimes your quizzers need a break.

Karl Dawson, James River A/G, Ozark, MO. Karl has been involved with quiz for more than 15 years as a quizzer, official, and coach. As a quizzer, he made multiple nationals appearances and finished in the top ten three times. Currently, Karl coaches for James River Assembly in Ozark, MO.

My idea of the ideal practice would be, first of all, my quizzers would come in with all of their work done for that week. If I have confidence that my quizzers will be ready then I can select not only the correct material for practice but also some particular question styles or types that we can use to develop the skills they will need to compete well. I like to cover a certain number of sets of questions which is for me, also an indication of how ready the team came for practice. Everything starts here and then ...

John Hunter, BQ Coach of Pathway A/G, Middlebury, Indiana and former Indiana District Bible Quiz Coordinator.

As a Bible Quiz coach, you want to break up your practices by doing some drills, some quoting, some teaching on the material, as well as reading questions to your quizzers. If all you do is read questions, your quizzers may get bored. (You may get bored too.) One way to guarantee that a quizzer will be bored during a practice is if that quizzer does not know the material. Bible Quiz really is no fun when you don't know the answers. For that reason a coach should always be attempting to motivate their quizzers to study. Motivation looks different for every team. Some quizzers respond to a stirring speech about the importance of studying God's Word, others respond to the challenge of meeting a certain team goal (making it Districts, Regionals, or Nationals), others respond to rewards such as candy or money. The list goes on and on. Get to know your quizzers, and get to know what motivates them to study. Otherwise, not much will be accomplished in practice.

Aaron Kohler, BQ Coach and former National Quizzer. He is also the writer for several BQ tournaments and National Practice sets.

For me the ideal practice is one where both the quizzers and the coaches come completely prepared. The quizzers have done their schedules for the week, they are ready to quote off some chapters for the national memorization award, and they are prepared well enough that nothing at practice could possibly bore them. The coaches come knowing what they are going to be doing during practice from who will be quoting to whom to what games they are going to play to which questions set they will be asking and the timeframes in which they will be doing all this.

Jason Martin, Crossway A/G, Pennsylvania. Jason is a former quizzer who quizzed through his High School years and won National Finals in 1995. Jason is part of the Alumni Leadership team.

An ideal practice is when it involves four items. First, make it spiritual. Take time to pray for one another. Have one quizzer each week come prepared to share a devotion on the chapter you are practicing on that week. Explain how the Scriptures apply to the quizzers lives now. Second-questions, questions, questions. Give the quizzers an opportunity to hear many different ways a question can be asked. Third-Quoting, Quoting. The quizzers need to know they will be quoting at every practice. Fourth-have fun. Have one creative drill/game revolving around the chapter you are practicing on that week.

Pastor Bernie Elliot, National Bible Quiz Coordinator

Be as organized as possible, efficiently using the time allotted. This doesn’t mean to sacrifice positive interaction with the quizzers, as this is a key time for mentoring, but consider your practice time precious, and stay on course with a written schedule. Don’t do things with the team that can be done outside of the quiz practice – but instead work on the needs of the team as a whole, and that mainly involves lots and lots of quizzing with instruction from the coach. If you have 5+ quizzers - consider having multiple rooms going so that everyone can participate and answer questions (and be held accountable). Keep your practices fairly routine, but mix in some fun stuff every few weeks. I can't say this strong enough - infuse all your energy and positive attitude into the practice, and don’t allow petty contesting to eat up precious time and break down teamwork. You're in control, and your attitude and energy level sets the pace. Finally, make sure the quizzers leave with a clear understanding of expectations for the next practice time.

Kent Kloefkorn, National Championship Coach in 2005. Kent Kloefkorn has been active in quiz for approximately 25 of the past 33 years.

Recommend BQ products for the Ideal Practice:
Coaches Manual
Basic 5 CD
Question Pro

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