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Academic Team Enterprises

-Building a Team Around Comraderie-

When building a team that is focused on comraderie and having a good time it is important not to lose sight of that intent. Bear in mind that you have not put in the same amount of practice time as many of the teams that you will be competing with, and though winning is usually more fun than losing, it is, in fact, not the most important thing.

Many questions that a new coach has on this type of team will be answered by the team itself.

How often and when will the team practice?

- Ask the team! How often do they want to practice? If you push them too hard or ask too much of them, it will stop being fun and remember, that is the focus of your team--to have a good time. Also, let them know up front what you are willing to do in terms of a practice schedule.

What events will we take part in?

- Some teams will not want to take part in extra events. Most major academic team and quiz bowl tournaments happen on Saturdays or require overnight trips. If these events fit into your schedule as the coach and the kids want to travel to them, then as long as your budget allows, sign up. For some teams that are just interested in having a good time, the travel and the overnight stays are what it's all about. For others, this would be viewed as an unnecessary burden to the schedule. The easiest way to find out what your team thinks is simply to ask them. The last thing you want to do is burn out a team that was in it only for the fun!

How much studying, if any, will we do outside of practice?

-Unless individual students want to study outside of practice, this should never be mandatory on a team whose focus is to have fun and build comraderie. On any team there will be at least one or two players who want to be compeititive. For these players, read over the Competitive Team Building section, or direct them to read through the Getting Started for Players section.

What practice/study material should I purchase for my team?

-Take some time to inventory the materials that the previous coach has given you. If you are starting a teach from scratch, you will have to begin by purchasing your practice questions. We offer a beginner's package within our Store, but there are many other web sites that offer varying styles of questions at different prices. Be sure to request sample questions so that you know what you are buying. The number of questions you will need will depend on the practice schedule on which you decide. Quiz bowl or quick recall practices do not usually move as fast as a match would. Longer questions require more time, of course. I find that a quick recall packet, 100 short questions, usually takes about one hour. A longer format, most notably used by NAQT and ACF, involves twenty toss-up questions, and two bonuses. This format usually takes around 45 minutes per packet. Plan accordingly.

What fund raising should my team and I be doing?

-This depends largely on your team's answers to the questions above. How many questions do you need to buy? In how many events are you planning to take part? Once you have an idea of how much money the team will need for the year, go to your principal. Find out how much is budgeted to the team. You may not need to do much fund raising at all. If your budget falls a little short, tell the principal this. You'd be surprised how some administrators are able to find what they consider to be "small" dollar figures. At the same time, fund raising events can be team building events. Check out our Fund Raising Section for ideas.

Unrelated to these questions, start and end the year off with a party. Watch a movie together. Order some pizzas. Its afternoons/evenings like this that truly build team comraderie. Plus they're a lot of fun!!

Nothing I can write here will ever encapsulate every situation or scenario that might come up, so feel free to contact me at Richard [dot] Carr [at] academicteamenterprises [dot] com or you can reach us through the Contact Us tab at the top.