So once in awhile students in the club I coach (Vector) surprise me by really putting the extra work into planning for their debates. Last year I was impressed when teams put into Excel ALL possible refutations of their case, then ALL refutations to those, then ALL refutations to those, through the 2AR. This made them machines in terms of being ready for everything (if only they’d actually USE their prep time and come up with clever things to say too!).
Last week, Drew Chambers and Hannah Drown impressed me with some of the judge analysis they are doing.
They have broken down judges into several types of people: “inexperienced (new parent judges, community) vs. very experienced (alumni parents, alumni, debate coaches, frequent judges), and left brained (discounts crybaby cases and emotional impacts) vs. right brained (likes small-scale impacts and cases that help the underdog).”
They are working on multiple versions of their case for different types of judges AND asking themselves what major three things are each of those people looking for in a debate round. This will help them in audience analysis. Of course, the wrong analysis could hurt, but it’s better than none at all.
They also are working to carefully craft a question much better than “what is your judging philosphy?” or “what is your judging experience?” to help classify the judge into these categories. I don’t think they’ve found the perfectly phrased question yet, but they’re working on it.
This is called strategizing and it is hard work. 🙂