Prospective Orca Bowl Coaches and Teams

How to Form a Team

Orca Bowl teams traditionally consist of teams of four to six* high school students (four competitors and one to two alternates) and an adult coach. Please review NOSB’s eligibility rules below to ensure that your team qualifies to compete.

*NOSB rules only allow for one alternate to compete; however at our regional competition, we allow for two alternates. NOSB rules will apply for the finals competition.

NOSB Eligibility Rules

Each competing team consists of a coach (see the NOSB’s Official Rules for more specific details about forming a team), at least four student members, and in addition may include one student alternate (a team of three is not eligible to compete).

  1. To be eligible to compete, a student must be enrolled for the current school year in grades nine, ten, eleven, or twelve at the team’s school or be participating through a student support organization (private, parochial, and home schools are eligible).
  2. Schools considering establishing a NOSB team should select the regional bowl closest to their home site. If the school location is equidistant between two regional bowl locations, the school may select the preferred bowl location or the bowl location that has availability for new teams.

For the full listing of eligibility requirements, see the NOSB’s Eligibility Rules section of the Competition Rules.

Team Preparation

Like any sport or academic competition, preparing for Orca Bowl takes effort, cooperation, and enthusiasm! Teams use different resources and strategies to study and prepare; the following pointers may help:

Cast a wide net when looking for resources.

Ocean-related textbooks, periodicals, and websites can be mined for background information related to the topics of study. NOSB also provides sample questions, a general list of recommended study resources, and study information about the annual theme of the competition. Many teams use these resources to compose their own questions to practice with, and over time are able to build their own database of questions that helps them to prepare each year. We also recommend using relevant local organizations and inviting scientists to present their research, or incorporating field trips and hands-on activities to enrich the studying.


Practice, practice, practice!

Set up a regular study schedule with your team, and be strategic in how you tackle different subject areas to ensure that you are well prepared in all the areas of study covered at the competition.

Know the competition rules.

Make sure you understand how the game is played, and how best to incorporate strategy into the way you play the game. We have a limited number of buzzer systems available on loan for teams to practice. Please contact orcabowl@uw.edu to request a kit.

See the following documents for more detailed information about how to prepare your team:

How to Register for the Competition

Each Fall, we ask coaches to pre-register their teams online. This first step requires that coaches let us know that they are interested in bringing teams to the coming year’s competition. Pre-registration allows you to hold a spot for your team, as registration is on a first-come, first-served basis. Upon receipt of your pre-registration materials, teams will be added to the queue. These teams will receive official access to final registration materials. All final registration materials must then be completed by coaches and team members and submitted by the stated deadline, typically in early December.

For those who request two teams in pre-registration, all A teams will be accommodated based on space available. B teams will fill any remaining slots, and will be selected per the B Team policies. Up to 20 total A and B teams can compete.

Registration is $150 per team. The competition includes continental breakfast, lunch, and a banquet dinner. Lodging is provided for teams who must travel more than 50 miles. If registration fees are an obstacle to your team’s ability to participate, please contact us so that we may assist you in identifying prospective local sponsorships to support your participation in Orca Bowl.