How to Use Summer Work

I want to start by saying that I have never received the volume of hate mail I got after last week’s article about Coaching. Many thought that I criticized Matt West unfairly. I communicated with Matt and he assured me that there was no offense on his part. Let me further say that I respect Matt very much. He was a great (maybe Hall of Fame level) quizzer and has become my favorite entrepreneur. I don’t think anyone has done more in the last five years to work on new programs and help them get more opportunities than Matt West. Nevertheless, I think his coaching, up to this point, has been suspect at best.

Second, I want to give a shout out to my brethren from a little further south in Florida. We have been devastated by Hurricane Charley, but we are a tough people. Teams from both The Master’s Academy and First Baptist Central Florida had damage happen to some of their quizzer’s homes. Many were without power. I know we will all pray for them, and I know I am thankful that both of these perennial powerhouses are seemingly intact for the big events forthcoming.

Now, onto the subject of working over the summer. Many teams, especially those from my home state of Florida, work hard over the summer to learn verses. In fact, some programs down here do not let you even participate on the team, if you haven’t got a few chapters down by early August. Many other teams don’t work at all over the summer. I know of a few programs that don’t even start working until late September. The odd thing is that both of these have been successful over the years, so you get a dichotomy of philosophies.

And on the 7th day he rested. I will begin by stating my theory that it is essential for the mind of any quality quizzer that he rest. While it is possible to completely inundate one’s self in Bible Quizzing, I think God’s example (not to mention the very way he created us) show that is not the best philosophy. It is said that the Sabbath is not for God’s benefit, but for man’s. This natural break is good for us. But the larger question is “Does a one month hiatus from Bible Quiz suffice or is a 4-5 month break a better one?” My answer to this question will shock everyone, but it is “It Depends.”

I think the first thing that every quizzer needs to do (with the help of the coach, as discussed last week) is determine what their ability is for that year. Everyone can clearly see that a student who works 3-4 months longer can have more capability. However, it is also possible that a quizzer who has quizzed for many years might need a longer break, as he might be drained. Sometimes, seniors want a shorter break in their final year, so they can do better that year. I think that every quizzer can always come back, but for some the recuperation time is longer. So, with these facts in mind, the coach should sit down with every student and develop a plan of attack.

This plan of attack should take into account the capabilities of the student and the amount of time he wishes to work. To me, this is the only acceptable answer. I have seen coaches take great quizzers who just needed a couple months off to regroup and tell them they could not quiz (and this was when the section was the short at 378 verses–Five T’s). I have similarly seen a coach take a motivated, capable quizzer and tell him to not work as much (and this was in the longest 1071 verse section–Matthew). Obviously, these two extremes are equally harmful.

A good coach can take a quizzer who wants to work and give them a three month bonus work period. A good coach can similarly see when a good quizzer needs a break. It takes the best of coaches to recognize the difference between these students. Thankfully, leagues like the PQA and the FQA have developed a quizzing system that rewards summer work. Matt West and Jack Bamford throw early tournaments that challenge these people. I would like to see a league help those that start later, but I think those may be in existence, but just out of my view.

Come back next week when we talk about sectioning the passages!!

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