How to Improve at Debate Camp

A few students have asked me questions like “what is the best way to get better at camp?”. Below is an article I wrote about this years ago that I still largely agree with. I will post some updated tips in the next few days

 

This is an article I began writing for the first edition of the last word but was weeded out in the editing process. Several people who read this disagreed with a lot of the advice, so bear in mind this is just my opinion- if your lab leaders disagree with something/tell you to do something a different way you should listen to them.

 

The question that seems to be barraging the 3nr as of late is “how can I get the most out of debate camp?”. Anyone who has been to, and especially those who have worked at, a debate camp will tell you that the number one thing students can do to get more out of it is pay more attention. Every summer during the morning lectures at the University of Michigan a good 30% or more of the students spend their time playing games on their computers or being distracted by the internet. But, for the sake of argument, let us assume that you are one of the students who does not spend every waking moment fooling around, what then can you do to get the most out of your time at camp?

Most students approach debate camp as a series of isolated events. They go to the library, conduct research, prepare for debates, give practice speeches etc. These parts, however, don’t occur in isolation. The kind of research and preparation you do directly affects your ability to perform in debates. One of the most important things you can do at camp is study how this interaction works. Over the course of the year research and preparation are usually cut off from your tournament success by a large amount of time. You may cut answers to the Zizek K in September and not debate it until may. This makes experimenting with different strategies or approaches difficult. At camp you may have two or three debates in one day where you know the arguments that will be involved in advance and are able to prepare for them specifically. This gives you a chance to try debating the same arguments in different ways. You can impact turn the cap k in round one and then go for framework and a permutation in round two. Once you start thinking about the connections between the various components of camp you can start practicing the skills you will need during the year.

The rest of this article will be divided into three parts. Part one will explain some general concepts about learning and skill development that can be applied to all aspects of debate camp, or life in general. Part two will apply some of these concepts to the process of preparing for debates in all its forms-research, block writing, argument construction. Part three will discuss these concepts as they relate to practice speeches and debates. The idea will be to try and provide a guide for students that explains how these concepts can help them get the most out of camp, but the same principles apply equally to preparing throughout the year for tournaments.

 

Part 1: Concepts

Expand your comfort zone. Most debaters view debate much like a mixed martial arts competition. They think that different arguments represent different fighting disciplines and that while they may be good at the politics disad they are not good at debating topicality. This view of debate has prompted a lot of coaches to talk about how debaters need to be well rounded or multi-dimensional. To me, this is a bit of a misnomer. There is no special way to debate politics that is fundamentally different from debate about topicality. When people are saying that they can debate X but not Y, what they are really saying is that they are more comfortable debating X, not that they are incapable of debating y. Comfort, fundamentally, is a function of familiarity and time. The more familiar you are with an argument, and the more times you have gone for it, the more comfortable you are going to be with it. This brings me to my first point, in order to improve at debate you must constantly be trying to expand your comfort zone. Camp is the perfect time to experiment with new arguments and strategies because there is no competitive consequence; most practice debates don’t even have a declared winner or loser.

Many students come to camp with a rigid idea of what they should be learning. They say things like “my squad doesn’t run argument x” or “my coach doesn’t let us run y”. These are important constraints during the year, and no doubt will affect your season. However, you have to remember that the point of switch side debate is that by learning both sides of the issue you will be better able to defeat an argument. Even if you will never be allowed by your coaches to read the cap k , reading it at camp can help your level of understanding so that when you debate it on the affirmative you will have a higher chance of success. Expanding your comfort zone is by far the most important concept, in fact, it could easily be said that all other concepts are really just restatements of this fundamental concept.

Practice how you play. It is a fundamental reality of debate that you have a finite amount of time and therefore work that you can accomplish. Debate camp often removes this consideration of time and work potential from the equation by announcing the schedule of debates days in advance or encouraging students to cooperate and distribute workload (having all 2A’s collaborate on blocks for example). To a certain extent this does a huge pedagogical disservice because it means that students are denied practice in a real world environment. As much as possible you should try and simulate real world conditions at camp. If you are debating with the partner you will have during the year it may make sense for you to divide up block writing as that arrangement is one you will use during the year. If you are debating with someone from a different school, however, and you have them write all the counterplan 2AC’s you will leave camp with an obvious deficiency in your block writing skills.

Conscious attention to difference. No matter what you are trying to get better at be it debate or playing Mario Kart if you want to improve you need to pay close attention to details when things change. This is the way evolution works, minor differences appear and if they offer an advantage then they are passed on. Many people don’t pay attention to these small differences. When they move up from 50 to 100CC they don’t realize that they need to hit the turns earlier if they want to be able to take them without going off the track. Since they don’t pick up on these details they never get any better, they keep practicing the old way of doing things. Force of habit can be difficult to overcome. The people who improve the most over the course of camp are the ones who can pick up on these minor changes and incorporate them into their skill set.

 

Part 2: Research and Preparation

In general there are three areas most students could use improvement in their research. First, comprehensiveness. This is simply a matter of covering all your bases: books, journals, scholarly papers, general news items, blogs and other internet publications. Books can be the “hardest” for students since often books aren’t catalogued in a system like lexis where you can search for “ontology w/30 nuclear war”. Google books, and other electronic sources like Questia and Elibrary, have made this system a lot better than it was, but does not make it perfect since many books are not included. Journal databases like Project Muse or JSTOR make journal research better than books, but there are still many journals that either are not online, are not online in the databases you have access to, or have older issues that are not online. For both books and journals to make your research more comprehensive you should try spending an hour or two just browsing through titles. If I was researching Feminist International Relations theory for example, and found a good sounding journal article in the Review of International Studies I would then quickly look through the tables of content for other issues of that journal and see if any other titles jumped out at me. To go through all the bound periodicals of a journal in a library in that manner will take you about 20-30 minutes per journal. Online it can be even faster. When I find a good book I go and get it off the shelf and then look at titles of other books around it and see if any other titles jump out at me. If the title looks good I will then check the table of contents again to see if it seems promising. This is a bit of a random process, sometimes you find gold and others you strike out entirely. Another technique is to see who is citing a piece of work that is particularly good. Google scholar has made this process 1,000 times easier than it once was with their “cited by” button. There are also databases that do this like the Social Sciences Citation Index that you may have available to you at university campuses. You can also type the name of a book or journal article into google or project muse and see who is citing it or if any reviews of that work have been written. In addition to finding more supportive evidence this is one of the best ways to find on point answers to common authors/arguments. By typing in “Heidegger nuclear war ontology” into google books I was able to find on point responses to the Zimmerman evidence read on that critique. They were in books I had never heard of that the library I was at did not have copies of but I was able to get the pages I needed. When doing research you should shoot for the moon so to speak- think about what the perfect card would say and then type in words from it. You will be surprised at how often you can find extremely good cards this way.

Another element of comprehensiveness is the dreaded tracking down footnotes. The footnotes are always there in your face to use- they are a wonderful shortcut because someone else has already put in a lot of time researching the issue and all you need to do is follow their footsteps. Nevertheless many debaters neglect footnotes because the process of tracking them all down can be tedious since they often come from diverse media. Don’t fall into this trap. Think of it this way: if you are reading a journal article about troop deployments and their effects on local economies from a peer reviewed journal, how many hours do you think the person(s) who wrote that article spent on it? The answer is hundreds if not thousands. If in their time researching it they found the 20-30 most relevant sources with the best evidence and included them in a list for you it would be crazy to ignore it. A lot of research is filtering through information of various qualities and finding the best material. When you see footnotes what you are looking at is a list where someone who is an expert in the field has done just that already. One of the best ways to find articles is to find an article critical of view X and look at all the people it cites as proponents of that view. For example, Baron William Wallace wrote a famous article decrying the theoretical shift in International Relations Theory in the 90’s. The articles cited by Wallace are a veritable who’s who of critical IR theory. Critics often try and respond to the most popular theorists at the time of their writing, so if you are researching a theoretical development from the early 90’s or late 80’s a good way to get a quick grasp on the main authors is to find a argument criticizing their movement.

Comprehensive research, above all, requires time. The hardest part is applying the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair. In a debate you will only read a few cards on any given issue, the point of preparation is to make sure that you have the best possible two or three cards on that issue to read. There is no way around it, this takes time. The research tips and techniques discussed here can shorten that time slightly, but ultimately you have to put in the hours.

The second area many students need work on is designing a strategy. When you first research an argument you are taking a scattergun approach, read a ton of articles and cut the cards you find. After this initial stage is done you need to figure out what areas need more work. When I attended camp in high school the method I was taught for this (that I still use today) involved a few easy steps. Step 1: as you research keep a running catalog of the arguments you have evidence on. The way I do this now is just using the document map and looking at the headings I have. I organize the cards as I am cutting them instead of waiting till the end (this also eliminates the dreaded step of spending hours organizing at an end of a file, the boredom of which usually overwhelms students and causes them to quit half way through resulting in poorly organized files). Step 2: make a list of the arguments answering/attacking the position you are working on. This list should come from you brainstorming (think: what would I say if I debated this) and from the articles you have read (either response articles or from proponents who list and respond to critics). Then you look at any possible differences between these lists to generate a new list of arguments you need to do more work on. I have made this sound simple, just two steps, but really it is not more complicated than that. Generating a good list of possible arguments you could encounter and preparing for them is the most important part of any research endeavor because if you can accurately predict and prepare for the other side’s arguments you will always be one step ahead. This is something that is not easy at first, it definitely takes some practice. You won’t improve, however, without actually doing it. Every summer I see files turned out that have arguments with no carded answer and I know it was a result of a failure of this process. If you turn out such a file you have not done your job. This is also a good area for which to seek help from your lab leaders or research partners because often other people will see things you did not pick up on. Through my last year of debating this is what I used coaches for the most- helping me generate a list of arguments to prepare for whether I was writing an aff or a K for the negative.

The third thing students need to work on is thinking about constructing the file. This can further be subdivided into organization and efficiency. Organization means that arguments are grouped together logically- links are together, impacts are together etc. You want to be as detailed as you can when organizing a file so that a quick glance at the index or document map can let people find what they need quickly. If your case has five advantages you should not have one generic category “solvency” you should have five different ones- divided up by advantages. If you have answers to CP X you should have five separate solvency deficit sections again divided by advantage. This process of organizing the file should not only help other people who need to use the file it should help you become more familiar with the warrants of your evidence. Efficiency means that you should eliminate waste. If you have 20 cards for a politics uniqueness argument make sure you find the best three and eliminate the filler. For a critique you may have 20 alternative cards, if they all make similar arguments then you don’t need them all. If some of them make different arguments then you need to further subdivide them and find the best three for each sub-argument. The subdivision should make clear when someone using the file should use each set of cards so that people have a map how to debate the argument instead of 20 pages of alternative extensions. One thing that makes this process work better is if you exercise discipline when you are cutting cards. For example, recently I did some work on nonviolence and how it could be used to combat dictators. In discussing nonviolence and the Nazi’s many people made the argument that nonviolence may not stop Hitler once he has risen to power, but that a truly nonviolent society would of taken steps to stop the popular sentiment that allowed Hitler to come to power in the first place. This was a common argument I saw in at least 30 books/articles. Once I had seen the argument and bracketed a card about it two or three times I stopped doing so. I stopped because I knew I would never need 30 cards on that argument so there was nothing to be gained by cutting more on the same argument. During camp I will often go through a student’s articles and see they have cut hundreds of cards that all basically say the same thing. This will create more work for you because you will have to block/process all those cards and then go through and sort them/eliminate the repetitive ones. So when you are working on an argument save yourself time-once you have a few cards on an issue do not cut more unless the new card you find is better than the old ones (either in warrants or author qualifications), and if you find a better card don’t worry about processing the older ones you already cut.

I divide research from preparation in this article somewhat arbitrarily by the process of making a file vs what you do with a file when you get it. This is obviously not a clear division but it is clearer at camp then during the year since at camp you will get files on many issues that you will not do personal research on. While it may be true that you would like to have better politics uniqueness cards then those turned out in a camp file, in general you won’t take the time to cut updates for practice debates ( and you shouldn’t, debating with substandard evidence in a few places will help you develop skills and allow you to better spend your time learning other skills). So I will now turn to what I consider preparation which is what you do with a file to make it ready for you to debate. This will be different for many students- some people can pick up a file and debate it quite well without reading through it much if at all. Most students will require some time, and hopefully these tips will help you maximize the utility of the time you have.

First, let’s talk about the negative. At camp you generally have (at first at least) a small number of arguments to chose from. You also usually get to know the aff you are debating a reasonable amount of time before the debate will occur. For each argument you want to read you need to think through how the debate will proceed and prepare accordingly. The first step is to identify the arguments you think will be relevant in the debate- so if you are reading a counterplan for example then the solvency cards for the aff’s particular advantages will obviously be relevant while solvency for advantages they don’t claim won’t be. Since at camp you generally will have access to the aff’s evidence as well you can read through it to identify the warrants in their evidence as well to help you in deciding what arguments you will need to answer. Once you have the relevant arguments, then you need to assemble the evidence you will be using to defeat those arguments. After it’s assembled you want to read through the evidence, highlight it, make sure you agree that whoever put the file together did organize the evidence according to quality, and think about how much evidence you need to read on a particular argument. That is the broad strokes, now let’s get a bit more detailed.

Reading through the evidence. I think generally you should read through a group of evidence before you start highlighting it. Once you have a better idea of the arguments involved you can do a better job of highlighting the cards. One thing that debaters used to do back in the day was highlight things twice- once in yellow and then in a darker color (you need to use yellow first since you can’t highlight over a dark color). This process is made somewhat obsolete by electronic files, but also often resulted in missing key arguments by leaving them out of the initial yellow highlighting. If you have 4 cards on an issue, card 1 and card 4 may make the same argument but card 4 may make it in a better way. If that is the case you don’t want that particular argument to be read from card 1, so reading through them first will save time as you won’t uselessly highlight things. This is especially true of longer evidence that has multiple warrants. When highlighting you want to get the card down to the smallest number of words that still conveys the claim and warrant. This is more of an art than a science, and takes s practice to get good at and to be able to do it quickly. Each card you read in a debate should of been read beforehand several times so that you internalize the argument and are able to explain it back without needing to look at the card. This not only makes your rebuttals better as you can reference warrants without needing a lot more prep but it makes you sound better in cross-x as you will be able to rattle off arguments quickly. Remember that comparatively the amount of time you have to prep for a debate is much larger than the amount of time you have in the debate. This means that the more work you can do out of the debate the better.

Sorting by quality you should look at a few factors- the quality of the source/author qualifications, date of publication, and the warrants in the evidence. Depending upon the argument, your judge, and internal constraints of the debate like time allocation these factors can vary in terms of which one is the most important-i.e. for a theoretical issue author qualifications may be most important whereas for uniqueness  date may be most important. You may also select evidence with the express purpose of exploiting an asymmetry between your evidence and the other teams. If you know a particular judge puts special emphasis on qualifications and the other team read a poorly qualified card you may chose to read a less warranted piece of evidence that is highly qualified over a well warranted but poorly qualified card in order to make the argument that qualifications should be the deciding factor. In the process of prepping a file I would make small notes after evidence or in a block listing reasons to prefer a particular piece of evidence that I could then reference in my speeches.

Determining how much evidence you need to read requires looking at a few factors: strength of the other teams evidence, importance of the argument in the round, and strength of your evidence. If the other team has fantastic evidence you generally need to read more evidence in response. There are two reasons for this: first, reading more evidence (and arguments in general) can be used to deter the other team from extending that argument. Second, more evidence allows you to introduce more arguments for your side and defeat their point. Sometimes students will read a lot of repetitive or terrible evidence, this strategy only captures the deterrent effect which has some value (quantity has a quality of its own) but does not get the full effect. If we take counterplan solvency as an example, judges will often decide that a counterplan solves some but not all of the case. If the affirmative has great card X and you read mediocre card A on why the counterplan solves judges will often reward the superior affirmative evidence by saying there is a solvency deficit. If, however, you read cards A-E on that issue, even though they all make only mediocre arguments judges will decide that added together they can be better than just excellent card X read by the affirmative (whether or not this is a good form of judging is beyond the scope of this article, suffice to say it is a prevalent form of judging).  If an argument is not very important for some reason, then you can obviously get away with reading fewer cards. Some students chose to read a lot of evidence on a relatively unimportant issue just because they have a lot or because they think their cards are especially good but doing so accomplishes little.

For the affirmative the process is a little different. When picking your aff you need to first determine the relative quality of the options that are available. To do that you must spend a decent amount of time reading through the options beforehand. The process of what makes a good aff could easily be an entire article, but I will briefly go through what I think are the most important for debating an aff at camp. First I would rank diversity- in terms of the number of available advantages and add ons, but also what the negative has available to them. Many students pick the aff that gives the neg the least options which defeats the purpose of practice. Throughout the year you may debate a team who doesn’t have a neg and be rewarded with an easy win. More than likely, however, you will debate teams who are well prepared with a strategy so it is more important that you get practice for those situations. Debating an aff with no neg will not help you improve your skills or force you to work harder. Second is evidence quality. You want to debate a well put together aff so you get practice extending good evidence, explaining warrants, and drawing distinctions between your evidence and the negative’s so that you develop those skills. Third I would say is pushing your boundaries. If you have never run a critical aff its time to learn in an environment where there are no consequences for blunders.

Once you have picked the aff, you need to prepare the whole file. You don’t know what you will debate in any given round and so you need to be more ready than the average neg needs to be. Preparing an entire aff is also a skill set you will need throughout the year that you need to work on developing early. You need to think about what advantages/add ons work in which specific situations, not just what do I need to read vs this counterplan in this particular instance. Debates will be much more unpredictable when you are aff then when you are neg and this requires a more general prep strategy. For example, you may read a hegemony advantage and the neg doesn’t disclose heg bad but instead reads some defense. Then after the 2AC makes it clear that your main answer to their CP is to argue it doesn’t solve hegemony, the neg impact turns in the 2NC. So while the same basic structure of reading, highlighting, organizing applies to the aff you need to be a lot more broad in terms of the arguments that you prepare for. For the same reason you should try and write 2AC’s to all the off case arguments they could read, not just the ones you are debating in your first debate. In addition to the arguments outlined above, you want to get as much feedback from your lab leaders as possible. If you only write a few blocks because that is all you need (or if you divide up the blocks with someone else) you won’t get practice and you will miss out on valuable feedback.

 

Part 3: Speaking

The most important thing you can work on at camp to improve your speeches is to work on flowing. Try and be as meticulous as possible. You will debate people who are very fast and possibly quite unclear, but these are the same people you will debate during the year. Working as hard as you can to get better at flowing is probably the most important skill you can develop at camp. When I debated I went to the TOC three times and never once heard of a team losing a debate because the block dropped conditionality or because the 2AC dropped a T argument, but in recent years this has become a common occurrence even for teams who are in the top 20 performers at the tournament. It is simply a fact that students do not place the same emphasis on having a good flow as they once did for a variety of reasons. If you want to improve your points and improve your success rate, work on flowing. At camp flowing is of even greater importance for two reasons. First, if you don’t flow an argument and therefore can’t respond to it than your lab leader  can’t comment on how you debated. This is particularly true for 2AC’s responding to case arguments, a key skill for any 2A. Having a detailed flow is a prerequisite to giving a good speech and getting feedback. Second, many students at camp either want to or are forced to give rebuttal redos (a topic I will address at great length later). If you don’t have an accurate flow of the entire debate than a rebuttal redo is a waste of time because you won’t have all the arguments you need to respond to, and more importantly you won’t be able to make intelligent decisions about how to allocate time and what arguments to go for. This is compounded in that redos often occur hours or days after the initial debate which means your memory of the issues will have faded significantly. FLOW!

Second, be prepared for your debate. If you don’t prepare your speeches will be awful and you won’t get any useful feedback from your lab leaders. Period. Failure to prepare is preparing for failure. You want to give your best speech so that you can get the best feedback.

Third, in the debate try and use as little prep time as possible, in fact if you are a lab leader I would encourage you to give the students less than ten minutes of prep going as low as five. The hardest part of debate is giving speeches on the fly where you have to think of the arguments in real time. To get better at this skill, you need to practice it. There is also no penalty for failure since there is no winner or loser, so there is no downside to it. Examples of good times to do this include: debating theory off the top of your head instead of using blocks, debating the case by only writing down the 1NC not your 2AC arguments, and giving the 1AR by not flowing the block but only writing down your responses. In discussing this with other lab leaders a response I often here is that this is not a good strategy to use for younger debaters just starting out, but I could not disagree more. When I was a young debater I debated in an area that gave very little prep and having to give stand up speeches was integral in my development for two reasons. The one stated above, that it forces you to get better at thinking on your feet is definitely the primary one. Second, and almost as important, is that it helps students to become more comfortable in the round. Once you have given a dozen terrible stand up speeches the prospect of giving one seems a lot less scary. If you can get those out of the way at camp, all the better. The majority of times I see students perform poorly when they are new to debate it is because they are nervous, so trying to root that out early should be an important focus.

Continuing with comfort, my fourth tip would be to practice going for arguments you don’t frequently go for or have no experience with. The more you go for something the better you will be at it, but also the better you will be at arguing against it. Many students every summer don’t understand why kritiks are successful arguments/make any sense but after reading them for a few weeks they quickly identify the deficiencies in a lot of 2AC’s to the K and then are better able to beat those arguments themselves. Becoming a well rounded debater should be one of your primary purposes at camp, so if there are obvious deficiencies in your repertoire now is the time to root them out. Being diverse and able to go for any argument in the 1NC makes it a nightmare for affs to debate you because they can’t over allocate time to any one issue. This may mean that you go for a different 2NR strategy then you would were you trying to win the debate. This is ok because there is no winner and loser. It also helps you develop the skills you need to be able to come from behind and win tough debates. Too many students in practice debates go for things the 1AR dropped which doesn’t force them to improve at all- anyone can win a debate where the 1AR dropped a disad. Putting yourself in a hard spot is the best way to force yourself to get better. The same applies to the aff in terms of what arguments to go for in a 1AR/2AR. Maybe they dropped a perm on consult NATO, but since that is a common strategy you will debate throughout the year it will serve you better to take the uphill battle and try and beat them on something else. If you aren’t used to straight impact turning politics or an advantage, camp is the time to do it. These kind of hyper aggressive strategies are difficult to execute if you have never practiced them before as they change the way you need to think about time allocation and prioritizing issues differently. If you don’t have experience going for conditionality bad you need to start practicing since we are in the era of double digit counterplans. If you go for conditionality all the time, stop.

Moving on past general tips, the last thing I would like to do is offer some specific tips on kinds of speeches to do. First let’s talk about speed drills. When doing a speed drill I think there are two things you can be simultaneously working on. If you read theory blocks when doing speed drills it will help you become a much better theory debater. You will learn (even memorize) the arguments and understand the warrants better. This means you can often debate theory without having to take the time to pull a block, and will help your rebuttals when you have to compare arguments off the top of your head. If every day during the camp you read through the 10-20 most important theory blocks by the end of camp your theory knowledge will be much higher. The other thing you can do is time blocks to help you allocate time during the debate. As you are reading just look at a timer and write short notes about how long particular blocks or cards take. There is a trade-off here, doing either of these will trade off with the time you can be “cold” reading new cards. Cold reading is an important skill to develop so that you can be able to read files you haven’t read before as quickly as evidence you are familiar with. I often tell students they should be able to read anything as fast as they read their 1AC, if they can’t they have work to do. How much speaking should you do at camp? I think at least 30 minutes a day. Speaking is one of the most important skills in debate so you need to dedicate that time. When I say 30 minutes I mean 30 minutes of your own speaking work not counting drills you do in lab or actual debates.

Next, speech redos. This is one area where I feel students waste a lot of time. Usually what they do is type out word for word what they want to say in their redo and then show up and read it. This is a huge waste of time. Never in a debate will you have the time to do this, so why practice it? The second thing students often do is fail to incorporate the criticism they were given earlier. If you are giving the same speech, what is the point? When doing a redo what you should do is get out some new paper and look at your flow of the speech you are responding to. Then assume you have 3-4 minutes of prep and prep out as much as you can during that time while thinking about the comments you were given after the last rebuttal (in terms of what to go for, how to change explanations for arguments etc). You should do this process 2 or 3 times by yourself, prepping and then giving the speech. When giving the speech to yourself you should look at how you allocated time, where you able to make the changes suggested to you by the lab leader, how smooth was your rate of delivery, where did you need to be more efficient, where did you properly extend and compare evidence etc. By the time you get to giving the speech in front of your lab leader you should have put in some work to make the speech better, not to make it a robotic reading of a script. A key part of doing it this way is that you practice the prepping in a useful way that will make you better in debates. If your ability to give a rebuttal stayed the same, but your ability to prep the rebuttal improved greatly you would still end up giving much better speeches so this approach helps you in two ways. You should also consider giving multiple rebuttals from the same debate where you go for different issues. Not only does this give you diversity practice but it also helps you see how well you execute different strategies. You should also try different rebuttal strategies in the redo. The simplest example of this is run and gun vs slow and steady. Give one 2NR where you go for T, a DA, a CP, and case turns. Then give another where you just go for T. Practice both strategies because in different debates you may need different skills.

 

Recommended Reading

http://spdebate.blogspot.com/2008/06/researching-large-file-part-1.html

http://spdebate.blogspot.com/2008/07/cutting-large-file-part-2.html

http://spdebate.blogspot.com/2009/03/working-on-speech-improvement-alone-pt.html

http://spdebate.blogspot.com/2009/04/working-on-speech-improvement-alone-pt.html

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