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Struggles with Debate

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** Please do not read or respond if you are not a LEGIT policy debater.

 

Hello----

 

I am a National Circuit debater and have been doing policy since middle school. I had a successful freshmen year. I made it to quarters several times and won a lot. Sophomore year was rough... I wasn't winning as much, but neither was anyone else on my team. But now I am a junior. My teammates are starting to break to semis. But me? Not so much. I have been to 3 nat circuit tourneys and my best record was 3-3. I am having several problems now:

 

1) I have dedicated my life to debate and I am starting to wonder if I am smart enough to excel at this level. It is waring on me mentally. I am starting to feel worthless to my team and coaches. It is affecting my every day life and happiness.

 

2) I feel like my team if forgetting about me. It is like they don't care or take me seriously. 

 

3) I am losing hope. 

 

4) Everyone on my team is going to Glenbrooks besides my partner and I. (entry limitations)... this is really making me depressed.

 

So here is what I need:

 

1) Advice.

 

2) How can I win against really good teams? Tricks?

 

3) Is it worth it? 

 

4) How do I keep faith in the system of debate when I get garbage judges who don't know what flowing is?

 

I don't really know who to reach out to so I figured the Cross-X community might be a good start... Thanks. Any KIND input is appreciated. 

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** Please do not read or respond if you are not a LEGIT policy debater.

 

Hello----

 

I am a National Circuit debater and have been doing policy since middle school. I had a successful freshmen year. I made it to quarters several times and won a lot. Sophomore year was rough... I wasn't winning as much, but neither was anyone else on my team. But now I am a junior. My teammates are starting to break to semis. But me? Not so much. I have been to 3 nat circuit tourneys and my best record was 3-3. I am having several problems now:

 

1) I have dedicated my life to debate and I am starting to wonder if I am smart enough to excel at this level. It is waring on me mentally. I am starting to feel worthless to my team and coaches. It is affecting my every day life and happiness.

 

2) I feel like my team if forgetting about me. It is like they don't care or take me seriously. 

 

3) I am losing hope. 

 

4) Everyone on my team is going to Glenbrooks besides my partner and I. (entry limitations)... this is really making me depressed.

 

So here is what I need:

 

1) Advice.

 

2) How can I win against really good teams? Tricks?

 

3) Is it worth it? 

 

4) How do I keep faith in the system of debate when I get garbage judges who don't know what flowing is?

 

I don't really know who to reach out to so I figured the Cross-X community might be a good start... Thanks. Any KIND input is appreciated. 

1) What kind of advice, I need some a-spec to give advice about anything

2) There are no tricks really, you just gotta get good at what you do best at then get good at the parts of debate you think you suck at, getting better is a process that can take a while

3) I have found that debate has given me a family outside of my family, my team is great and the people that debate is involved with are fantastic. So yes it is extremely worth it

4) Every round is a coin flip, either you get a good judge or you don't, all you gotta hope for is a good judge

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It is worth it, but you need to reframe your point of view. As someone who has spent five years in thid activity, I’ve seen folks become obsessed and consumed by debate- and to be honest, it’s a very ugly thing. Losses and failure make it all seem pointless and the black hole of cards, literature, and travel takes away from friends, family, school, and other hobbies.

 

I am by no means telling you to stop- what I am saying is that, if you are truly planning on dedicating your high school career to succeeding, these negative emotions will be supercharged as well.

 

I was very dissapointed in my performances as a freshman and sophomore but I poured a lot of time and effort into practice, camps, reading, and making files. Was it worth it? Some of it yes, some definitely not.

 

I hope you sort out these feelings because if debate is making you feel depressed, then the activity is failing you, you are not failing the activity.

 

Pm me if you want more actual advice or personal support

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** Please do not read or respond if you are not a LEGIT policy debater.

 

Hello----

 

I am a National Circuit debater and have been doing policy since middle school. I had a successful freshmen year. I made it to quarters several times and won a lot. Sophomore year was rough... I wasn't winning as much, but neither was anyone else on my team. But now I am a junior. My teammates are starting to break to semis. But me? Not so much. I have been to 3 nat circuit tourneys and my best record was 3-3. I am having several problems now:

 

1) I have dedicated my life to debate and I am starting to wonder if I am smart enough to excel at this level. It is waring on me mentally. I am starting to feel worthless to my team and coaches. It is affecting my every day life and happiness.

 

2) I feel like my team if forgetting about me. It is like they don't care or take me seriously. 

 

3) I am losing hope. 

 

4) Everyone on my team is going to Glenbrooks besides my partner and I. (entry limitations)... this is really making me depressed.

 

So here is what I need:

 

1) Advice.

 

2) How can I win against really good teams? Tricks?

 

3) Is it worth it? 

 

4) How do I keep faith in the system of debate when I get garbage judges who don't know what flowing is?

 

I don't really know who to reach out to so I figured the Cross-X community might be a good start... Thanks. Any KIND input is appreciated. 

Hey, I do college policy, but i came from a non-nat circuit background so I've felt something similar both starting college debate and also had a bit of a breakdown myself during senior year when I didn't qualify to nats. 

 

I say you should stay in debate b/c as "A Trash Debater" mentioned, there are a lot of other benefits to it besides winning. I know feeling of like you've hit a peak and are unable to improve, but you will. It just takes time and some changes. Debate should be for challenging yourself in as many ways possible, not just for striving towards trophies.  

 

I'm probably not too helpful but there are a couple things I recommend that have helped me.

 

  1. If you're having trouble on the neg, I suggest finding unique, but understandable to all judges offcase positions. Like running the same k every round, da, whatever. It may be rough at first, but once you have a certain position nailed you are far better off.
  2. Try and record your rounds if possible/have practice rounds and then evaluate your performance as honestly as you can. Also evaluate your partner's speeches (and vice-versa).
  3. Give as many practice speeches as possible in front of all sorts of people. To practice things for lay judges for example (idk if this is where your trouble is) I would give speeches to my mom and have her tell me the major ideas to see if I was conveying everything simply. For more flow judges, ask your coach for help or some seniors on your team!
  4. Write down everything you have lost to (aff and neg) and try to assess why you lost that round. Then write blocks. You should try and never lose to the same argument twice (although it happens to me all the time).
  5. Maybe some judges you pref are not exactly the best and you need to revise them.
  6. Watch as many out rounds as possible and try and incorporate some of the arguments they run into your debate files/if they are competition, write blocks before you hit those teams. I like to try and watch "good" teams debate in out rounds that run similar positions to me so I can better apply their technique to my debating. 

 

It takes a while to really get in the hang of things and "excel". But I really believe that anybody, with the right work ethic and perseverance, can achieve more than they ever thought. 

 

Best of luck. You can PM me if you need any help at all!!

Edited by AlisonPotter

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** Please do not read or respond if you are not a LEGIT policy debater.

 

Hello----

 

I am a National Circuit debater and have been doing policy since middle school. I had a successful freshmen year. I made it to quarters several times and won a lot. Sophomore year was rough... I wasn't winning as much, but neither was anyone else on my team. But now I am a junior. My teammates are starting to break to semis. But me? Not so much. I have been to 3 nat circuit tourneys and my best record was 3-3. I am having several problems now:

 

1) I have dedicated my life to debate and I am starting to wonder if I am smart enough to excel at this level. It is waring on me mentally. I am starting to feel worthless to my team and coaches. It is affecting my every day life and happiness.

 

2) I feel like my team if forgetting about me. It is like they don't care or take me seriously. 

 

3) I am losing hope. 

 

4) Everyone on my team is going to Glenbrooks besides my partner and I. (entry limitations)... this is really making me depressed.

 

So here is what I need:

 

1) Advice.

 

2) How can I win against really good teams? Tricks?

 

3) Is it worth it? 

 

4) How do I keep faith in the system of debate when I get garbage judges who don't know what flowing is?

 

I don't really know who to reach out to so I figured the Cross-X community might be a good start... Thanks. Any KIND input is appreciated. 

 

A lot of my debate career has been defined by losing, as well as getting into situations where I feel like I have a significant gap in experience/skill compared to the competition. I've been at it for a couple years and I have experienced some modest success, so while I don't know if I'm "legit", I think I can help with some of this stuff.

 

1) Don't dedicate your life to debate. At the point where your passion for debate goes beyond motivating you to get better and starts causing you unhappiness, you need to take a step back and reframe your perspective. It will be more fun once you accept winning and losing doesn't define your worth or your intelligence. (I know how easy it is to feel otherwise)

 

2) You're not gonna beat teams who are legitimately better than you with any debate tricks. Sorry. They might fuck up and drop/mishandle a theory cheap shot every now and then, but broadly, you should be looking to beat people by debating well, not with tricks. The keys to winning debates, generally,

 

a. knowing the arguments (get lots of rounds on the topic)

b. knowing your evidence and

c. having some sort of vision of the macro-level strategy of the round. (What arguments will be the winning ones? How do the various flows and impacts interact? How can you end up with the most offense in the 2AR/2NR?

 

The most advanced debaters have all kinds of tricks and ways to be fast and efficient, and they'll lean more toward techy jargon no matter which side of the policy/K spectrum they land on, but being a good debater, in my opinion, isn't as complicated as they make it seem.

 

3) That's up to you. I've learned a lot about myself through the process of constantly getting beaten and turning around and working harder to eventually get better. Debate is one of the only things in my life that has genuinely made me feel stupid and incapable, but none of these people who seem like they're miles ahead of you were born knowing how to do any of this, and that means you can reach that point too. I've found it incredibly satisfying to see something come out of all that struggle, and I don't take any win for granted.

 

4) Debate on the national circuit. Every policy judge on the national circuit will know what they're doing. If you have a lay judge, the options are either you can adapt your style and win, or be stubborn and keep doing techy debate and call judgescrew when you lose. For a long time, I've chosen the latter. But is it really worth it? You can also try striking the lay judges if you can.

Edited by Nonegfiat

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