Captaining and Challenging
Captaining involves many responsibilities.
First, you are the leader of your team and it is your responsibility to motivate, encourage and manage your team members. Younger and inexperienced quizzers always look up to older quizzers. They often hold those older quizzers in quite high regard. You have an incredible opportunity to be a leader, teacher and mentor.
Second, you are the "coach" on the stage for the entire quiz. You can give feedback and strategize between every question. You also have the ability to challenge. Challenges should be used to benefit your own team or if you believe the quizmaster has made an incorrect ruling that you would like reversed (this may benefit another team, which is alright!).
To maximize their team's ability, captains need to know the strengths and weaknesses of their team. As the captain is often the strongest quizzer, he/she likely has the ability to "hold back" on questions their teammates are strong on and still quiz out on other questions.
Between meets the captain can check-in with team members to see how their studying is progressing.
Challenging is a privilege granted to captains only (or co-captains if the captain is not on the stage). Challenging gives each captain the opportunity to challenge quizmaster questions and judgments and ensures fairness for all involved.
- You cannot challenge once the next question has been called. If you think you may want to challenge, get up from your chair. The quizmaster will give you a moment to gather your thoughts so you can decide whether you want to challenge or not. (it was an often occurrence to see Michelle Miller or David Norris squat in front of their seats after questions!--they were contemplating whether to challenge or not).
- When communicating your challenge, do not do so in an accusatory manner (even if you know you're right!). Lots of judgment goes into decisions. And while judgments by the quizmaster should be made based solely on the rules, always speaking gently only helps your cause.
- Since other captains get the opportunity to rebut your challenge, and you do not get to respond to rebuttals (quizzes would take forever otherwise), anticipate rebuttals and address them in your opening challenge.
- Keep it simple and lay out the facts. Being concise is good!
- You don't have to challenge only when it benefits you or your team. Challenging an incorrect decision by the quizmaster to give an opponent a correct answer should be done in all except the most competitive circumstances. It's a display of your character to help out other quizzers.
- Make sure you present the most compelling case for your challenge. Avoid caveats such as "maybe", "I think" or "perhaps." State your case clearly; persuade the quizmaster to see your point of view. Too often I hear challenges where the challenger simply repeats the situation, and never tells explains why the ruling should be different.