Coach Castner’s Top 3

Coach Castner’s Top 3

By Allison Castner | April 30, 2024

After multiple years of struggling to recruit, train, and retain quizzers, the Lord has shown me a few techniques to give them an edge and to motivate them to excellence. The methods listed below are my three top methods for developing confidence and speed to interrupt questions, for teaching critical thinking skills to answer interrupted questions, and for sowing the Word into their hearts to mold them into Christ’s image.

3. Practice, Practice, Practice

Hold practices at least two times per week in the off-season and every weekday during in the season. When we are not having practices, the students lose the motivation to memorize. We start each practice with a game or two of chair volleyball with a 20” beach ball. Whoever makes an error and causes the other team to make a point has to recite a verse while the ball is in play. The panic of multitasking puts the quizzer in a similar situation of interrupting a question and having ten seconds to start the answer. The activity also bonds the team together and gets their blood pumping without totally exhausting them before quizzing practice. We then quiz one or two rounds on pads. 

2. Train Your Quizzers as Quizmasters

As soon as I feel my quizzers have the maturity to learn how to quizmaster, I train them. I start with scorekeeping. Then they learn how to read the questions and interpret the answers. Lastly, they learn quizzing equipment techniques. Being a quizmaster teaches them more about how to give a correct answer than quizzing alone ever. It also requires the shy ones to come out of their shells and to learn to speak up so everyone can hear them. Lastly, it gives me a chance to quiz against them.


1. Memorize the Whole Passage

When you, the coach, memorize the whole passage: 

  • God will use the Word in your life. You can’t avoid it.
  • You will gain a better understanding of the passage for answering quizzers’ questions.
  • You will understand the challenges of certain chapters so you can encourage your quizzers when you’re all struggling over particular verses.
  • You can quiz against your teams during practice to sharpen them.
  • During time-outs at tournaments, you can discuss questions that they were confused about since you cannot refer to open Scripture during a time-out.

When I’m on a seat against my best quizzers, I challenge them to beat their old and disabled coach off the pads—and I almost always quiz out until December, but then they turn the tables on me. I also make appeals when I think the student quizmaster has made a judgment error so I can model the right way to appeal. Moreover, if I have a few quizzers who aren’t performing well, I can come alongside them and pass answers to them until they feel confident in a few weeks to try to stand up on their own.

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