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November 24, 2011 / compassioninpolitics

How to prepare for your first debate tournament as a novice or junior varsity policy debater

Usually, folks would provide how to negotiate with your partner, the life at tournaments, or perhaps dealing with judging decisions….those issues are certainly important…but I’m going to just post some key pointers for making your debating skills better. (I believe if you search through my archives you’ll find additional insights which can help you). One big caveat, I’m sorry I haven’t hot-linked the links on this page, so you will have to cut and paste them into another browser window) Without further adeu–my humble suggestions to improve your debate game:

Your local public library should have a remote code for people in your zip code/community/city using their resources. I don’t know if this is 100% universal.

Also, you can use Access My Library
(I think its connected to the Gale folks somehow) Pretty impressive range of journals, though.

And I would re-emphasize that Google scholar, given that its free, is quite helpful.

By the way, if you haven’t check out
1. Debate theory and strategy at The 3NR. This will make more sense after you have participated in debates…and is generally aimed at JV and Varsity debaters…but is a decent place to return to after you have some rounds under your belt. Actually, I made a thread on what I thought were the best posts on the 3NR about a year ago, which you can read here (The Best posts on Policy Debate from the 3NR)

2. Debates & camp lectures at Debate Vision

3. All the Camp Lectures from 2011.

Even more helpful
1. The Open Evidence Project. This can help you know which arguments to prepare for. ( Open Evidence Project )

2. The High School Debate Caselist, which allows you to borrow other peoples ideas to make your cases and arguments better. You can also use it to ensure you are able to answer particular arguments. It is available here.

Its not imperative but I think three issues are key:
1. Watching the Georgetown lectures on evidence comparison. Here are the Georgetown lectures from 2010.

2. Watching the Georgetown lectures on impact comparison (I think the Georgetown 2009 makes the most sense, sense the 2010 lecture is less traditional and builds on the 2009 lecture. I believe its available on

3. Watching one of the greatest coaches of all time on winning in debate from Northwestern. The transcript is on here and the video is I believe on YouTube. ( available here )

Its written more for JV and varsity debaters….but can be helpful for debaters at all levels. I would watch this every 6 months to focus my debating.

Please, please, please bookmark all of the following and share with your coach. Thanks and good luck.


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