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Sarollas

Any Tips to a Debater just getting in to the larger scale of debate

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hey y'all, I'm a sophomore at riverfield, never heard of right, well we have a graduating class of 34 so not a lot of resources, however our team consistently takes state, and would like to continue to grow, we have 6 teams right now and are for the first time moving out of region to debate, i would like tips, as our local circuit is mainly a stock issues circut

 

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 Think as if you were your judge, not yourself.  Remember, the only person whose opinion matters at the end of the round is the judge’s, not yours!  A common mistake everyone in public speaking makes is assuming that because you understand the argument that your audience does as well.  Take into account the judge’s debate experience before using a lot of debate lingo, and make sure you look up at your judge while making a key point.  This will both reinforce your argument because of the eye contact you will make, and it will allow you to look for signals from the judge (ie, shaking her head) that she understands you.Always act like you’re winning, even if you’re not.  Composure, poise, ethos, whatever you want to call it is an essential skill in public speaking and in life in general.  This does not mean be arrogant!  Rather, it means that you should always display confidence in the arguments that your team is making.  Think about it this way – if the judge doesn’t think you believe in your own arguments, why should he be inclined believe them himself?Refer to your evidence whenever possible.  Even though your own arguments are the most important, far too many debaters discount the importance of referring to evidence, especially that read in the early speeches.  The 1AC isn’t just a way to fill up 8 minutes, it contains valuable warrants by qualified authors that supports the arguments that you will be making in the 2AR.  If you are making a point that one of your authors makes in one of your cards, saying so will give your argument credence over that of your opponents.  If you’re not planning to refer to a piece of evidence in a later speech, why would you be reading it in the first place. Remember that debate is a team activity.  As Pinoy shows that even if you are stronger than your partner, you shouldn’t take over their speech or answer all of their questions in cross-examination.  When that happens, your judge is more inclined to give both of the members lower speaker points, and one debater doesn’t learn the skills necessary to get better.  Instead, make sure that you and your partner are going over arguments together so that you can teach each other the best arguments to make.

 

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Yeah so if you're from a stock issues circuit there are several things you can expect people will do differently as you start to travel for tournaments.

 

(Take this with a grain of salt because I know neither your home circuit nor the tournament to which you're travelling, but in general I think this is accurate)

 

First of all, people will be a lot faster and more tech oriented, because the judging at bigger tournaments allows them to do so. There is less emphasis on persuasion/style and more emphasis on the content of your arguments, namely how good your evidence is and how well you can leverage it to win the "game" of debate. Many judges operate under the paradigm of tech over truth, which means, among other things, that dropped arguments are usually considered true, and that "bad" arguments can be won if they're properly defended.

 

Secondly, affirmatives will structure their case differently and negatives will adapt their strategy accordingly. Maybe you're used to seeing a contention for each stock issue. That won't happen at bigger tournaments (except occasionally solvency will have its own contention). Most affs will have two to three advantages that focus on the internal links and impacts of their harms, and that will be how they spend the bulk of their time. Cases will contain answers to all the key questions that stocks are meant to check, but they aren't usually stated explicitly because it's all about the impacts.

 

I mentioned negative strategy above. Just like stock issues aren't the centerpiece of aff cases, they won't be the focus of negative offense either. Most commonly, solvency will be read on case, and topicality will be read offcase, but that's the extent to which stock issues are debated. Instead, negatives will spend most of their time reading other offcase positions, which can get a little wild. Don't be surprised if you see people reading upwards of 5 off, with multiple counterplans at once, or with a counterplan and a kritik. The key to beating these neg strats is 2AC efficiency. Get through case quickly, and make your best arguments answering the off case. The block is inevitably going to try to capitalize on whatever they think you did the worst job on, so you want to make that decision hard for them by knowing ahead of time what your best arguments are and arranging them strategically.

 

Along those lines, I don't know about your circuit's attitude toward conditionality, but the higher up you get the more likely people are to be open to it. People are also more likely to be open to junky process counterplans that result in the aff but claim a net benefit by doing something differently than the aff. So be prepared to defend each part of your plan text.

 

Last thing, kritiks. This varies a lot depending on location, but I know people who debated on local circuits where most judges wouldn't even listen to cap, but then they decide to go to Glenbrooks and suddenly people are beating them on one-off Baudrillard. It might be good to get a general sense of what kritiks are popular on the topic and how to beat them, because there's a lot of variety in how to properly engage k's. In general, every K 2AC needs a few things-- Framework (usually "let us weigh the aff" accompanied by some defense of consequentialism or util), a permutation, something on the link debate which argues that your plan or your model of communication is good for x harm area, and an alt takeout such as cedes the political, state engagement key, or something along those lines. Those are important pieces of a K 2AC but those alone won't make a complete 2AC. You always need something engaging their specific argument or if you have nothing, a very very robust defense of your method.

 

And, sometimes people read kritikal affs which don't endorse a plan but rather advocate an ethical framework or a mindset shift within the debate space. You can beat these by reading kritiks, but the easiest route, especially if you're just starting out debating K affs, is just go 2 off framework and cap, and usually go for framework in the 2NR. If you have any questions about how to do that, I'd be happy to explain further but I think this post has gotten long enough. Good luck!

 

edit: typo

Edited by Nonegfiat
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