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A coach (or team advisor) is an adult who accompanies a quizbowl team to tournaments and plays a supervisory role in the management of the team's affairs. A supermajority of high school quizbowl teams have a coach, either by choice or because a state organization such as MSHSAA requires each team to have one. By contrast, almost no college teams have non-player coaches or advisors, instead being run by a team captain or a club president who handles logistical affairs. Most coaches are teachers or academic advisors at the school for which they coach the quizbowl team. A good coach can be the vital in developing great players and turning a great quizbowl program into a consistently excellent one; in contrast, bad coaches often hinder their team's full potential at "good quizbowl" or deprive their team of good opportunities.

In most high school quizbowl tournaments, coaches can sit and watch their team, during which time they have the power to lodge protests, call timeouts, ask for score checks, and make player substitutions at appropriate breaks in gameplay.

The methods and responsibilities of coaches at different schools vary widely, depending on many factors such as level of student leadership and time-intensiveness. However, many coaches take on at least some of the responsibilities form this list:

  • Run practice / read questions to the team at practice
  • Decide on team rosters for the A-team, B-team, etc. and the captains of each team
  • Organize transportation for participation in tournaments
  • Handle team funding and tournament registration

In addition, many successful coaches also take on these responsibilities to help their teams succeed:

  • Keep score as the team plays
  • Take notes on which questions their players got and didn't get, so as to keep track for future improvement
  • Help recruit new players each year
  • Diffuse conflict and spur motivation
  • Help players set their own improvement goals and find quizbowl study methods that work for them

Some of the most successful coaches in "good quizbowl", as measured by constant and continued success of the school, include: