Preparing Your Debaters for Tournament One

We have collected our best suggestions for preparation in “Preparing Your First-Year Debaters for T1,” a document that we’ve had posted on the Coaches Resources page of the programming site. This document’s very well worth a careful read as you meet with your debaters to prepare them for T1, and in truth for T2 and T3, too.

And “Preparing Your First-Year Debaters for T1” complements the Checklist for Tournament One that we posted a couple weeks ago — usable as a literal step-check itemization of what you need to do with your team prior to the end of next week, if you can.

One of the key suggestions in “Preparing Your First-Year Debaters for T1” is to establish your debate team’s own Guidelines for the year, which should include Season Objectives and specific rules and policies for your team — e.g., minimum tournament participation per debater, after-school debate meeting requirement, etc. Check out our Guidelines template to help you create your own (substitute “CDL debate team” with your own team name, e.g., Phoenix Military Debate).

But to understand the paramount suggestion in preparing your debaters for Tournament One you needn’t click your mouse or keypad or anything else a single additional time. Because the paramount suggestion in preparing your debaters for Tournament One is simply this: provide each of your debate teams with a set of Core Files filed and get them to the tournament.

To have a set of files filed at a debate tournament is to be equipped — in the same way that a football player must have a set of pads and a helmet, a swimmer must have a Speedo and goggles. Once equipped, and on site, your debate teams will be ready to debate and to learn. And that’s really all Tournament One is about: learning what a debate tournament is, learning to debate. Your debaters will learn immeasurably more in one day at T1 about how to debate, what this is all about, than all that you can try to teach them in the weeks and now days leading up to the tournament. So get each of your teams a set of files, get those files filed, and get them there. Then you can plant the Victory Flag, and relax a bit as you enjoy the teaching and learning process that you’ll be immersed in. And your debate season will be successfully underway.

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