It’s tough to be a debater. It comes more natural to some but no one ever said it was easy. If you’re nervous, you should be. But your first tournament will likely get all the jitters out and you’ll start to realize that debate is way cooler than you thought.
First of all you get to be in a club with some of the smartest people in school, child prodigies, future leaders, and some odd balls sure. But talk about surrounding yourself with powerful influence. Just by reading this today, you’re off to a great start in life.
Debate is a community full of knowledge, passion, and influence. We gain knowledge of world events not taught about in the classroom and learn skills that give us an edge in everything else we do in life. Our passion is what drives us to care for one another and influence people to help make this world a better place.
I urge you to use your skills wisely and take this opportunity seriously for you will never have it again. After you register you can find video courses, material content, and more resources that will guide you on your path through debate.
As a debater your priorities are:
1. Understanding the topics
I can not stress this one enough. Understanding the fundamentals will build a strong foundation for you to stand on. Without it, you’re just reciting information in your speech without knowing what it means. This makes it difficult to answer POI’s and counter refute your opponents.
2. To your team
Your team may consist of just one, two or even several members. If you agree to be a team then you must always be there for one another. No one likes the guy who does the least so don’t be that kind of team player. If you want your team to be successful then set the example. Arrive to practice on time, be productive, and come prepared.
3. Your case
Be sure to work with your team on this one. Advanced debaters will get their assertions (main arguments) together within a week of hearing the topics and use the remaining time to work out the kinks. This allows them to practice with different strategies. Don’t waste time at debate practice learning the topics or figuring out your assertions, use it to actually debate.
4. Your speech
As a debater, I often would forget how important practicing your speech is until it came time to actually give my speech. Depending on the speaking order your speech will likely never be exactly the same as when you practiced it. It will however, allow you to practice different speaking styles, tones, and behaviors that will impact your speaker points and perhaps the outcome of the debate.