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How To Transition From JV to Varsity

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Hi, my partner and I recently went our first national varsity tournament at Wake Forest. We went 4-2, but were unable to break because of low speaker points. How do we become like those debaters who consistently break at national tournaments especially just coming out of JV? Thanks in adv.

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Hi, my partner and I recently went our first national varsity tournament at Wake Forest. We went 4-2, but were unable to break because of low speaker points. How do we become like those debaters who consistently break at national tournaments especially just coming out of JV? Thanks in adv.

 

Practice practice practice

 

On the one hand, you have unreasonable expectations.  Breaking consistently at national tournaments right out of JV, especially large ones like Wake Forest, is not something you should expect to do.

 

On the other hand, in my experience, even good national JV debaters tend to be deficient in tactical thinking and effective communication of complicated stories (notably Ks).  On tactical thinking, that means making mistakes in time allotment or going for the wrong arguments based on the flow or focusing on the wrong responses.  Having good game in varsity means having a good understanding of what the flow looks like *to the judge*, and adapting your choices to that.  As far as effective communication goes, if, for example, you can't explain Deleuze to a bus driver in 4 minutes, you probably shouldn't be running it.  JV debaters tend to have issues with judge adaptation as well.  

 

And if this year's camp files are any indication (or any year, but this year feels especially bad), there are significant issues with stringing cards together in a way that actually builds a cohesive argument, especially in the context of K/semi-K affs which want to K something they don't actually understand.  On the policy end, Wake's ADT case is incoherent (which is a shame, ADT could have been a great case), and on the kritikal end, DDI's critical financial case doesn't understand the thing it's Kritiking (credit scores) or what purpose they serve, just to pick on two examples.

 

I'd recommend practicing in front of "judges" (whomever you can get to judge practice rounds) who are either ignorant of -- or even hostile to -- the positions you're espousing.  

 

Might want to have a competent adult (not college student) look at the arguments you're making and do some sanity checking.  Even better if they aren't familiar with your arguments.  You don't have to read them at speed - you want careful contemplation.  So your (or your partner's) parents are probably excellent for this purpose if they're willing to seriously engage with it.  But lots of debate arguments fail the smell test to someone who hasn't drunk the Kool-aid, and being able to argue them so they're actually persuasive to someone not 'in the know' will vastly improve them.

Edited by Squirrelloid
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You're acting like going 4-2 is bad, I don't know how finals went, but I know McDonogh JN went 4-2 in prelims and finaled, so did Little Rock Central WW and they made it to semis. 

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4-2 at your first varsity tournament is great! You'll get better with time

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Preparation, preparation, preparation (write frontlines).

 

Here are the key areas:

1) Advantage + Solvency

2) Frontlines for neg. arguments you are going to run regularly

3) Overviews & Impact comparisons

4) 2AC (T, DA, K, and Case debate).

 

And ideally you have decent advantage add-ons that help give you offense against CPs vs. the DAs they are typically run with.

 

This saves so much prep time and can give you a bit more confidence.  It also means you have a bit more time to focus on arguments you might not be quite as ready to talk about.

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Preparation, preparation, preparation (write frontlines).

 

 

3) Overviews

No. Bad. Don't do this. I've not seen a single overview in HS debate that made me think, 'wow, this actually helped them.' Pre-written overviews are even worse.

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Pre-written overviews are even worse.

 

 

You don't get good at writing over views by not writing them.  You get better by writing them.

 

Writing overviews help you think strategically--that is with the end in mind.

Writing overviews helps you think big picture.

 

Yes....super wordy overviews are perhaps annoying. 

 

So what is it you think distinguishes good overviews from bad ones?

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*Snark cutting evidence*

"You don't get good at writing overviews."

Hmm...

"That's correct, you don't get good by writing overviews."

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