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The term bounceback can refer to two distinct situations:


Bouncebacks on bonuses, also known as rebounds or steals, mean that when the team controlling a bonus misses a part, the other team is given a chance to answer the part. Bouncebacks are common in middle and high school quiz bowl, but probably used at less than a majority of tournaments, but are almost nonexistent at higher levels.

Arguments in favor of bouncebacks:

  • Teams answering very few tossups get a chance to answer some questions and possibly score some points.
  • Teams not in control of the bonus pay more attention to the bonus.
  • Teams are rewarded for knowing something their opponent does not know.
  • Teams that are very weak in a topic are encouraged to learn something about it to prevent other teams from rebounding their bonuses in that topic.

Arguments against bouncebacks:

  • They lengthen matches, especially if the moderating crew has some weak members, meaning that tournaments last longer or have fewer rounds.
  • They complicate statistics, potentially leading to a greater turnaround time for reseeding pools.
  • They change the nature of bonuses, making them less of a "bonus" for the team that answered the tossup.
  • They can lead to game strategies near the end of a game in which a team is better off not answering a tossup.
  • Teams controlling a rebounding bonus have to confer quietly to avoid giving information to the other team.

The most prominent tournament using bouncebacks is the PACE NSC. Several states, including Illinois and Missouri, used bouncebacks at pretty much all high school tournaments before 2005, but now have tournaments both with and without them. NAQT lightning rounds are sometimes played with bouncebacks.


The term less commonly refers to the ability of teams/players to answer a tossup after another team has gotten the question wrong.

While nearly all versions of quizbowl feature bouncebacks on tossups, many TV shows do not. Such programs include It's Academic.