Author Archives: Stephen Eltinge

2015 Coaches Conference

The 2015 PACE NSC saw the first annual PACE Coaches Conference, organized and chaired by Fred Morlan.

Team and Circuit Development

In the first part of the talk, several quizbowl leaders discussed various aspects of growing quizbowl teams and circuits:

  • Mike Laudermith, coach at Fenton High School (Bensenville, IL), discussed the role that a quizbowl coach plays in managing a team and its players, as well as generating interest among middle school students.
  • Nicholas Karas, player at University of California, Berkeley and Vice President of Outreach for PACE, discussed effective outreach to schools not currently involved or only peripherally involved in quizbowl.
  • Eric Huff, former coach at Dorman High School (Roebuck, SC), discussed strategies for establishing accountability among students.
  • Julie Gittings, former coach at State College Area High School (State College, PA), discussed strategies for encouraging player development and recruiting.

Listen to this first section of the conference below, or download the mp3. A transcript will be posted later this summer.

Player Development

In the second part of the talk, the previous speakers were joined by Max Schindler, former player for Ladue High School (Ladue, MO) and current player for the University of Chicago; Eric Mukherjee, former player for Brown University and current player for the University of Pennsylvania; Joe Nutter, former player for Walnut Hills High School (Cincinnati, OH) and Michigan State University; and Michael Sorice, former player for the University of Illinois. The panelists discussed topics related to individual player improvement, including:

  • Strategies for effective studying,
  • In-game techniques for recalling information, successfully answering questions, and controlling the flow of a game,
  • Pros and cons of generalist versus specialist player roles,
  • How much certainty is necessary to buzz in on a question,
  • Differences between different national quizbowl formats,
  • Whether to modify your playing style based on what team you’re playing,
  • The psychology of effective playing in high-pressure situations,
  • Posts on the HSQuizbowl forums that contain useful advice,
  • The role that writing questions plays in improvement.

Listen to this second section of the conference below, or download the mp3. A transcript will be posted later this summer.

2014-2015 Question Set Certification Program

PACE certified house-written question sets for the 2014-2015 school year. A committee of experienced authors and editors looked over complete sets of questions and offer extensive feedback to authors, with special attention to content, style, pyramidality, difficulty, and length. The purpose of the program was to improve the quality of house-writes used for weekend tournaments across the country.

On each set, PACE offered an overall rating of “Exceptional”, “Satisfactory”, or “Unsatisfactory.” Contributors to sets labelled Exceptional were recognized at the NSC. All sets submitted to the program were reviewed within two weeks and returned with an extensive breakdown offering both question-specific and general advice.

Sets could not be certified more than once, but PACE members offered follow-up advice to try and ensure that sets were of the utmost quality.

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Joelle Smart, a member of the certification committee, at work. Photo by Colin McNamara.
A list of certified sets for the 2014-2015 school year may be found here.

Question Set Certification Program in past years