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While the title of my post may not be entirely true, I believe that it will put your negative strategizing in a different light. In my never ending search for expert debating material, I stumbled upon an interesting idea. First, however, a little intro. Negative rounds are my favorite – there is hardly a time when I would not opt to go negative. Am I crazy? Maybe. Then again maybe not. Negative rounds are a 70% guarantee to make you a better debater.The other 30% is for times when you get

1. Get slaughtered


2. Have hit a certain case so many times that you could beat it in your sleep, with only one piece of evidence.

I could be wrong, but from my observation, I would judge negative rounds to be much more beneficial and opportunistic. It is a win-win situation for the debater. So why do I say all this? My point being, every opportunity should be taken to enhance negative debating skills (by any and all possible margins). You should count your win-loss ratio by your Neg. rounds. Do not include your Aff. ones. Every time I walk into a negative round and listen to the 1AC – there are endless possibilities of what I can run. In home school forensics, I do believe affirmative teams have a distinct advantage, especially in Stoa. However, a strong negative team need only sit back and find holes in whatever the Aff. is trying to do. Albeit they are well-aimed and argued holes

Solid negative teams have several components, all of which contribute to wins. Among these, are cross-examination, solid refutation skills, and skilled argument construction. Solid cross examination is key no matter what. It sets the tone for your battlefield, so don’t lose the opportunity. Clear and concise refutation skills ensure a quick and secure defense. If you can hold your ground – then your negative arguments will maintain credibility. Last but definitely not least is argument construction. Well constructed disadvantages and solvency are hard to take down. You should make your arguments like the US, World War II bomber formations. They could cover every angle of attack for literally miles around. Your argument construction should be formidable and almost impenetrable. I realize that I make it sound easy, when in reality it is much harder. It is possible, believe me.

If you pre-prepare or run a Disadvantage, don’t just give it one link and impact. Expand it to two of each. Be creative, logical, and hard to take down.
Good teams should choose their best constructed arguments, and run them deep. Do not speed and spread. Speed may be what the ‘good’ debater’s use, but it is not helpful in real life (peeves are lovely pets to have; talking unnecessarily fast in a debate is one of mine). The bottom line is to use negative rounds to grow your debate skills. Do not rely primarily on your affirmative rounds to win. Give presumption three cheers – and go debate.

Currently a junior, Thaddeus is a second year Stoa debater in CONTROL Speech & Debate, California.

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