One thing I found when I was debating is that I often wanted more practice going up against debaters similar to my level, but often didn’t have the forethought to actually schedule practice rounds. While this was annoying, and I have no doubt I would have been a better debater had I scheduled more practice rounds, I found another way to practice that helped me get experience poking holes in arguments, giving rebuttals, and responding to attacks against my arguments; debating myself.
How to debate yourself
What I would do is I would go through the arguments that I would have used if me on affirmative hit me on negative. My aff case would be the same as always, but everything else was something I could tailor to perfectly exploit my own debate case and debate style.
- 1st CX: What questions would I have the most trouble answering on aff?
- 1NC: How could I tweak my neg case to perfectly exploit the holes in my aff? And what arguments against my aff do I have the hardest time responding to?
- 2nd CX: What questions do I have the most trouble answering on Neg?
- 1AR: How would I respond to my own neg case? And how would I defend my aff case against these arguments?
- NR: How would I defend my neg case? And how would I respond to my 1AR?
- 2AR: How would I respond to my NR?
I would go through and prepare my arguments for each speech, and since it wasn’t a formal round I could take extra time to prepare the best responses possible, or even find evidence that I think would be useful.
Why to debate yourself
It makes you think outside the box
Chances are if you are running a given argument, you find it to be the most compelling argument with the fewest holes. This will make trying to counter it well good practice in constructing good responses to difficult arguments.
It shows you where you need the most work on your argument
Thinking through how you would respond to your own caseshows what you think are the biggest holes in your case and forces you to confront them and think of responses to them.
It allows you to think your arguments all the way through
We can often think of responses to arguments, but in many cases there are holes in our responses. Thinking through not only how to respond to an argument, but also how you could counter your response and how you could support your response makes far stronger arguments.
You are always available to debate
There’s not always someone available to debate you. Maybe no one wants to do a practice round, or maybe you just didn’t think far enough in advance to set one up. But you will always be available to debate yourself.
D. J. an economics major at North Carolina State University. Her debate philosophy is that debate should be fun for everyone, so keep it ethical so your opponent can enjoy the round, keep it entertaining so the judge enjoys it, and keep it lively and humorous so you can enjoy the round too.
To learn more about D. J. you can read her bio here: https://www.ethosdebate.com/djmendenhall/ or book coaching with her here: https://www.ethosdebate.com/xl-3/