Quick Directory

Coaching Tips

Advice To A New Coach

Thu, 14 May 2009 - 10:28 AM CST

Be friends with the youth pastor. I have seen too many BQ ministries squelched because it competes with the youth ministry. Often, you pull away the best youth for certain youth activities the youth pastor has in mind. Tell him or her that you want to build the best youth which to be their best help. This relationship is key to success. Be willing to put in the time and effort. Be prepared to do your part of the work.

Phil Steiger coached for nine years at Radiant Springs Assembly of God, appearing at national Finals seven of those years. In 2001, he won National Finals

Not caring about competition. I find when I quit trying and allow God to work in my life, He always does. If your motivation is to win nationals, you probably never will. However, if it is to help kids learn the Word, you will definitely be successful. Loving kids. Loving and appreciating kids is very important. When I first got into Quiz, I felt the quizzers were a reflection of who I was. If they lost, I lost. I thought of them as my tools to success. Now that I am older, I see them as my kids. I want them to succeed in everything they do. The truth of the matter is that those who go through the Bible Quiz ministry often find college to be easy for them. They have already learned how to study and discipline their time. I help prepare them by loving them, not by trying to win every time. Understanding the game. When I first started, I did not understand how the game was played. I did not prepare my quizzers emotionally or how to respond with different question writers. I was not a good quizzer when I quizzed, and I did not understand how to get my quizzers to be good. It probably took me five years to learn the game. If you are a new coach, give yourself some time.

Tom Van Kempen has coached Bible Quiz for sixteen years, his last eight at Las Vegas, Nevada. In four of those years, they made it to national Finals, securing the National Championship in 2000. He currently serves as the executive pastor of Mountain View Assembly of God in Las Vegas.

Your relationship with the quizzers. If your quizzers respect and want to be with you, what you say has a greater chance of being applied to their lives. They’ll receive a deeper grasp of the message through the coach-quizzer relationship.

Rev. Tom Houston is currently the Pastor of College Drive Presbyterian Church in New Concord, Ohio. A former executive director of WBQA.

Get to know your quizzers. Encourage them to find the things they do best—even if all they do is help you set up for practice. Encourage them, praise them, build their self-esteem, and love them. Get them to learn God’s Word. Be the model. If you are excited, the quizzers will be excited. Be patient. New coaches always want to know everything right away. It takes time to learn how to deal with different things, and it doesn’t happen at once. You have to work with the various personalities of quizzers and officials, and many times the decisions you have to make are difficult. Don’t show favorites. You want them to do their best, and sometimes this makes your choices difficult. Competition brings out what is on the inside of us. If it’s more important to win than to help quizzers feel good about themselves, competition works against the ministry of Bible Quiz.

Marilee Jakobitz has worked her way through the ranks of the Nazarene Quiz ministry.

Study like you want the team to study. If a coach wants the team to study chapter one and know all the quote verses, then he should do the same. If he wants the team to study for an hour a day, then he should study for an hour a day. A new coach must be involved with the team and learn it just as the team learns it. You can’t do challenge quizzes until you know the material as well as the team. A new team only goes as far as their coach goes. Experience what you ask the team to do. This includes quizzing. The coach should experience exactly what quizzers go through. You may say you’ve never quizzed in your life, but then neither have some of them. Put yourself in the same situation. Know the rules and spend time going over them. Find better teams in the area and get together for practice. Don’t wait for an official competition.

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.

It is a ministry. Do not focus too much on results. If you focus on needs of the students and how you can minister to them, they will know you care. If those other needs are being met in their lives, then the competition will follow.

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

Don't think that you can do it all by yourself. You need to find good help and be willing to delegate responsibilities. Get parents involved whether your quizzers like it or not. Having their parents on your side makes coaching a much easier job. We invite and encourage parents to come to practices to learn how to officiate.

Maureen Harr, Greater Lansing, Michigan

Keep your focus! Remember why you are doing this. Keep your attitude in check! You are the example. Have patience with yourself and with your quizzers.

Kristi Schubert, Aurora, Colorado

Don’t get discouraged! Remember to help your quizzers know they don’t have to beat the top teams to be successful. Emphasize the value of the Word over the value of winning. If you’re in it for the ministry, the quizzers won’t be disappointed. There is nothing wrong with competitiveness as long as it is kept in perspective. I once said, “I think we’ve learned everything we can through losing. Now we need to see what we can learn from winning.” Learn to write questions. The determining factor in the nationals-level teams is someone associated with the team has the ability to not only help them master the material, but “gets in there” and writes new questions for them. However, there is the danger for quizzers to rely to heavily on your writing skill. Make sure you use other writers. Get sample questions, such as in the Basic 5 and the League Practice sets, and learn the style of the official writers and league writers, and try to copy their style. One of the best ways to learn to write questions is by learning to rewrite questions. Don’t expect more from them than what they can give or from what they have in ability. Set reasonable goals for them to attain. Keep it fun—especially with younger quizzers. They need fun and fellowship. Work closely with your youth pastor or the youth leader of your church to insure quizzing doesn’t become a substitute for other youth ministries. Love your quizzers; get to know them as individuals. Get deep into the Word of God for yourself. Build relationships with your quizzers. Pray for them, love them, respect them, and be patient with them. Remember this year’s “hanger-on” who’s there just for the pizza could be next year’s leader. I’ve seen it happen!

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.

Love your quizzers. Pray God gives you a vision. Never let go of it. Don’t coach a great team to graduation, and then quit, because they don’t want to start over again. Be in it for the long haul—not just one particular team. Don’t just look for quizzers you think will be successful. Many of my most successful quizzers are those who other people have given up on. I may never have a nationals-winning team, but I have a lot of quizzers who are doing great things for the Lord. Don’t be afraid to make goals for your quizzers. They will respect you for it. A coach’s job is to help young people fall in love with God’s Word, thereby creating a desire for more intense study.

Bill Chew coached Central Assembly, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, from 1969–1979, and since 1979 has coached First Assembly of God, Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He has made frequent Regionals appearances and has brought a team to National Finals three times. In 1988 Bill was named “Coach of the Year.”

I would encourage a new coach to really put their heart into it. They will never get the kids they coach to be committed if they are not committed. One of the best motivators I've discovered is to memorize the material myself. The quizzers don't like someone my age showing them up so it creates a source of motivation. My quizzers also know they can depend on me. Quizzing is a priority. If I tell them I will take them to an invitational, they know I will. They know their hard work will be rewarded.

Mary Chenco, Lebanon, Pennsylvania

Pray. Set the goals you want for the program and how intensely you want the quizzers to study. Allow the individual quizzers to set their own goals; you won’t have a successful program if you set all the goals. Did I mention “pray?” Love a lot.

Rest a lot. Quiz was a big part of our lives, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Sue Wootton coached from 1985 to 1994 for First Assembly of God, Bartlesville, Oklahoma, the church in which she grew up. Her husband, Harold, co-coached, and all three of their children also came through the program. Sons Darryl and Bryan were high scorers at National Finals and Bryan participated in the first Scholarship Quiz. Her daughter, Lisa, was the top individual scorer at nationals for two straight years (1993 and 1994), the top quizzer in the Scholarship Quiz for ‘93 and ‘94, and was the first winner of the Mrs. Robert L. Curtis Memorial Quiz Scholarship. Sue Wootton led Bartlesville to nine straight first place finishes at districts and seven nationals appearances where they finished second twice and tied for second once.

Be ye organized. Lay out your game plan. Come into practice with an agenda and write it on the board. Don’t ever be caught wondering what you will do next. The quizzers can’t help but think, “If you didn’t care enough to think beforehand, why should I?” Make it tough, but attainable. Why would any student want to memorize 1,071 verses? Who wants to study two hours every day? There has to be something besides the Scripture itself that makes it worthwhile. Believe in this ministry. I’m willing to sacrifice a lot of time to do it. The quizzers see this, and they’re willing to do it, too. I am no hero; I’m truly blessed from being in this ministry. I think I’ve gotten more out of quizzing than any quizzer, and it has nothing to do with winning national championships. I’ve learned scripture; I have friendships that last forever; and I have learned from my quizzers just as they’ve learned from me. My family has been blessed because I know I’m in God’s will. Any who thinks Bible Quiz is just for the quizzers is dead wrong.

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.

Bible Quiz is a marathon not a 100–yard dash. Network! Pick other coaches brains. Don’t be afraid to ask; they are more than willing to help. We’ve all been at the “starting gate” at one time or another. Ask questions of the veteran coaches in your area. Everyone was so eager to help us learn the ropes; it was a real encouragement.

Participate in some tournaments to see how other programs work. Take advantage of any training opportunities you come across. Our district now has a couple of sessions at the Sunday school convention

Be devoted to Quiz. Set goals. Be realistic. Get involved in the quizzers lives. Pray for them. Love them.

Rick Regenfuss, Illinois

Support. If you don’t have committed adults, your ministry won’t go anywhere. There must also be strong emotional and financial support from the church. You need a core group of motivated students.

Above everything else, have fun!

Tom McLaughlin and Stan Hardter, New York

First of all, they need to write out what their purpose is and get that clear in their minds so they do not get discouraged. For most coaches, their purpose is helping young people get the Word of God into their hearts. lf that is your purpose and you keep that in view, it will encourage you through the hard times. Know what you are doing and why you are doing it and do not allow yourself to become discouraged when the team does not do well. It is easy to get discouraged and then ask yourself, “What am l doing this for?” You have to remember the reason you are in this is to minister to young people. l tell new coaches to ask other coaches as many questions as possible and get all kinds of ideas. The year l started, every coach I met 1 asked every question l could think of and l would try different things until l found what worked for me. Go to Bible Quiz retreats or have them and invite creative outside speakers who are experienced in quiz. And anyone considering coaching must count the cost. It is probably the most time consuming ministry in church with just about everything being done outside of church time. You need a very supportive and cooperative family who will understand what you are getting into. No one can just step in and fill in for you; you are a mentor, a teacher, an example, a coach. I think a coach needs to do all he/she can to be there for their quizzers and that takes a huge commitment.

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. ln 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.

Trust your quizzers’ instinct. They will rarely fail you. Know the rules.

Be encouraging. Everyone studies differently and learns at different paces. As a team, discuss your goals for the year and plan how you will achieve them. As a new coach set your goals—from the most important to the least. Winning is not necessarily done at the table. Know what your quizzers goals are and balance yours and theirs. Your main goal should always be the spiritual, the competition can help, but is not the most important.

Mary Decker, Minier, Illinois

Keep the focus on discipleship rather than on the competition. Make sure to read the Coach’s Manual.

Mike Schneider, Mountain Home, Idaho

Don't look around and think this is too hard and you can't do what other teams are doing. Sometimes we get overwhelmed looking at what other teams and coaches are doing and we don't give ourselves a chance become what God can help us to become. The journey of Bible Quizzing is worth far more than the end result because it is in the journey that we find our greatest strengths and accomplishments.

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

There are three things I want to share that are vital for a new coach. The first would be to get some training---either through a mentor, a seminar or through available reading materials. Next, go to tournaments---you will truly learn and grow in those types of situations. Last, keep perspective that discipleship is a process--our culture does not value things that take time--so stick with it!

Pastor Lorna Albanese, is a former Quizzer and current BQ Coach from Evangel Heights A/G, Sarver, Pennsylvania.

Every coaching seminar I do I say “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing”. Keep Jesus # 1. Remember that Bible Quiz is truly a discipleship ministry. This ministry exists to help students learn the Word of God, live the Word of God and influence others to live for God. Teach the Scriptures. Help your students hear tons of questions on the Basic 5 CD, learn through the Study Guide and together work on the Applications for the Discipleship Award. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Pastor Bernie Elliot, National Bible Quiz Coordinator

Care! If you don’t care for your quizzers, they won’t care about succeeding in the ministry. If you show them you care, they will go above and beyond what you expected for them. Review. You will forget everything in a short amount of time if you don’t!

Jason Martin, Crossway A/G, Pennsylvania. Jason is also part of the Alumni Leadership team.


Recommended Basic Materials for New Coach & New Team:
Scripture Portion for every quizzer and coach
Rule Book (found on the website)
Basic 5 CD-ROM
Study Guide CD-ROM
Bible Quiz Coaches Manuel CD-ROM
Middle School Practice Questions CD-ROM (If a Middle School Quiz Team)
League Pack Practice Sets CD-ROM (If “A” Team)

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