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Justreallyconfused

How do I improve my spreading?

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I'll say up front, don't do pen drills. They're worthless and unnecessarily uncomfortable.

I'll start with some tips then tell you drills.

Your biggest first task is working on clarity and speaking clearly.

Slow down as you need to in order to stop stumbling and stuttering. Oftentimes when debaters force themselves to go faster than you can, they make so many speaking mistakes that they end up slower. Always do drills at a pace that you can do well. Think about it like lifting weights. You don't start lifting by loading up a ton of weight, you can't do it and it doesn't give any results because you can't do it.

Always stand. Diaphragm blah blah.

Don't try to understand what you read. The biggest trick to spreading is speaking without processing information. That's why parts of cards that are supposed to have emphasis have visual cues like boxes and/or bold text. It slows you down to consider what you're reading. Similar note, never practice with the same file or the same part of a file. Doing the same cards over and over just builds your muscle memory for those cards. 

Last tip, do drills every day. You won't get better at anything if you just do it once in awhile or when you feel like "oh crap I need to do this" at random times.

Drills to do:

- Over-enunciation. Pronounce every single syllable as clearly and with emphasis. The goal here is to beat out slurred speech. Be slow and clear. 

- 'a' drill. Say 'a' between every word in a text you're reading. This is to separate yourself from what you're reading. 

- Backwards drill. Read cards backwards. Like "the united states" is "states united the." This also helps distance yourself from what you read.

A bigger point about speaking is it isn't the most important thing. Efficiency is the real key of being a fast debater. Cut out filler words and make arguments in the shortest, but still content filled, way possible. You can speak at 500 wpm clearly, but if I'm only writing something down like every 30 seconds, you're not giving an effective speech and will get lower speaks regardless. All in all there's a point where you're fast enough and then it's about efficiency and being strategic.

Eventually you'll plateau at a certain speed. That's okay, everyone does and everyone has a cap at different speeds. A) that doesn't mean stop doing drills, you should always aim to sound good and be at a competitive speed, B) make sure you're efficient.

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I agree with what the above poster said, but one other thing I would like to add is pre-tournament warm-ups.

I've noticed that my spreading improves drastically if I just read a few cards for practice while I'm on the bus going to the tournament.   It's not much, but you'd be surprised at just how helpful a warm-up can be, especially when it's right before a competition.

Is it just me, or does anyone else notice that their spreading is better during the last round of the day?  I always feel sluggish during the first round, but the last round feels like straight fire.🔥

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16 minutes ago, JSamuel said:

I agree with what the above poster said, but one other thing I would like to add is pre-tournament warm-ups.

I've noticed that my spreading improves drastically if I just read a few cards for practice while I'm on the bus going to the tournament.   It's not much, but you'd be surprised at just how helpful a warm-up can be, especially when it's right before a competition.

Is it just me, or does anyone else notice that their spreading is better during the last round of the day?  I always feel sluggish during the first round, but the last round feels like straight fire.🔥

It’s not just you, bus spreading really helps me and a lot of others on my team!

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On 8/26/2019 at 8:53 PM, OwenK said:

It’s not just you, bus spreading really helps me and a lot of others on my team!

Bro I love spreading on the bus. It’s one of my favorite hobbies

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to add: debaters new to spreading tend to default to one of two speaking styles: a monotonous droning or a weird sing-song where each sentence ends with an upward inflection, like the entire speech is a series of questions. both styles are hard on the ear when you're sitting at the back of the room, judging. you may want to run drills where you go at less than top speed but actually emote. or, better yet, alternate between spreading and emoting. it can help you break bad habits. plus, emoting every now and again in round tends to do good things to your speaker points. i used to call these "righteous indignation drills" when i was running my debaters through them.

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