Hey blog subscribers- I’m the new kid in town- Isaiah and I have become cohorts of sorts and he’s asked me to explain drills, etc. that the members of my debate team (Arx Axiom) have been found doing at tournaments. Before we go into that, a lil’ bit about the author. I went to Blue Valley North HS in Overland Park, Kansas (read NFL policy debate machine) and after being a mediocre debater for four years (I was a better researcher/novice coach), I moved to the University of South Carolina and debated parli (NPTE/NPDA) there for a year- before our program got cut. I picked up some new tricks, did well at some tournaments, and started coaching. Since then, the Lord GRACIOUSLY BLESSED ME with some really really smart and godly kids to teach debate to. Now I have a “real job,” which is awesome, but debate is still my thing.
On to the goods….
I’m going to take a big leap and guess that most of you blog subscribers are not from Region 8. If you are, you probably noticed at the South Carolina Regional Qualifier, among other tournaments, a bunch of kids standing in a corner doing drills. They are probably mine. You’ll see them at Alabama too.
Question : you crazy debate coach, why do you make the kids meet you at the tournament 30 minutes earlier than announcements?
A: I like to torture them. Actually, there’s a good reason for warming up, even if it means you have to get up a half hour early. It turns your brain, and your tongue, on. How many times have you debated at 8am and felt like you had a brick for a brain? I know it’s happened to me a bunch, so my debate coaches in college came up with these drills to sharpen you up before you go. It really only takes 20 minutes but I allow 10 xtra for Q’s, wiping sleep out of eyes, etc.
1. Grab some evidence, a longer card. Just start reading.
2. Alternate between loud and soft, fast and slow. For those of you who already talk too fast, skip the fast.
3. Now start singing your evidence. Not Phantom of the Opera, mind you, but keep that in mind as you “talk/sing” slowly and loudly.
4. Read your evidence from the bottom up.
5. When you reach the first word on the first line, read the first word, the third word, the second word, then the fourth word, volleying back and forth til half way through the card or so. You don’t need to do this forever – this is hard but is supposedly some kind of tricked out synapse-builder. I do it because it’s hard and makes your eyes focus on the words on your paper.
6. Have team members do a cross-x scenario for the rest of time. Ex: 1NCs, what’s your job? Reasons why T is a voter? 2A’s, why are broad limits on T standards good? Why are they bad? 4 reasons you’re voting aff. 3 reasons SQ is fine. etc. whatever you can come up with. You can do this as a group with one person leading, or do it popcorn style.
7. Trade cards with the person to your right. read it. Then find 3 ways the card is bad. I don’t want to hear “old, bad source, etc” because that’s standard and we all know it’s probably not that relevant. Tell me why the author of the card is actually wrong : )
7. Relax, calm down, and go debate. You can alternate the length of your warmup depending on how much time you have. I try to stick with 15-20 minutes.
Hope this helps!