Ask Da Coach (III) — Running Disads

Q. for Da Coach: What can you tell us about running disadvantages?

So Says Da Coach:

Why You Should Be Running Disads

The best defense is a good offense. When you are the Aff you have preview new offense (that is, you have to preview a new case). But when you are Neg you can have as many new neg cards as you want — by T2 in the Varsity, T3 in the JV.

The key to the Neg is DA’s. Try to have 3 to 4 DA’s you’re ready to run at any tournament. Run two in the regular rounds and save one new DA for the elims. A good DA makes the Aff talk about what you want to talk about.

Run the DA’s first in the 1NC. Then run case. Too many debaters run out of time. If the Aff drops the DA run more Impacts extensions in the 2NC — and by all means extend the original impact!

Choosing Disads

The best DA links to all or at least most of the affirmative files on this year’s resolution. There are many Cuba Affs and a great deal of Cuba link DA’s. Most Aff’s will link to something. Many DA’s have a general link and then links to the country or the plan that is being run in the Aff.

Pick a DA that can answer the Aff impacts then you cross-apply the DA to the case solvency. A good DA has a big impact. The Aff needs to have an impact to their advantage, too. With two or more impacts you can argue Impact Calculus in the rebuttals — i.e., different ways that you on the Neg outweigh the Aff.

The bigger the impacts, the better the DA. If you have multiple impacts the Aff may answer one but drop the other.

Do not use multiple DA’s with the same impacts. The Aff can answer one and then cross-apply.

New Disad Examples

Take a look at the National Debate Coaches Association’s Open Evidence Project.

Filter for Disadvantages.

Voila! 250 disadvantages prepared by university debaters over the summer on the Latin America topic.

Answering a New Disad

The best way for the Aff to answer a DA is to attack the Link. Affs should always attack the Link to any disad they hear. Links are usually the “weak link” (pun intended!) of any off-case negative argument. In addition to Links, take out the Neg’s Impacts. If the DA has no Impacts the DA does not work. Below are some generic (i.e., broadly applicable) impact take-outs. Use them as needed.

Impact/No Impact — Arguments

World War Is Not Going to Happen — Arguments


Don “Da Coach” Baumgartner

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