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June 2, 2012 / compassioninpolitics

How good debaters become great debaters, thinkers, & doers

The following are personal notes…and some reflective questions and some prompts (ideas) which are going through the idea generation and creation stage. They are a work in progress (as is the rest of the blog). I’m trying to write down my thoughts on these issues and record them–so that I can come back at a later date and create more coherent and useable ideas. Ideally some of these ideas can be helpful for both coaches and debaters.

* I’ve put 3 lists which I think may be most helpful….but you can certainly you can read through the reflections/prompts at the top…..

How college is different than high school….
• Free time……lack of adult supervision…….the need responsible use of time.
• Its scarce time–use it well

How debate is different from school….
(you are 50% self-directed–and perhaps 80 to 90% in some cases)
preparation always yields very tangible results–products. (this is the same with essays & with your memory in terms of tests)

Preparing yourself for the real world….

Attention….reflection & activity

What makes great experts?
What makes great debaters?
What makes great thinkers?
Kolb cycle/Experiential thinking
Blooms taxonomy/question cues/Critical thinking
Hypothesis & Intuition

Questions–distinctions/contrast–these things drive great thinkers and great debaters.

You need to out think, out prepare, and out practice—and thus outperform and out persuade

Debate is prepared speeches & impromptu/extemporaneous speeches in a (highly) competitive environment.

Why do you need time:
1. Incubation. Ah ha moments!
2. Create vital questions

Thinking about:
The aporisms in the squadroom
the quote
the sheet
journaling (?)

eliminating excuses (to yourself & your partner & the team) (what are the excuses that typically come up….)

the importance of open communication and talking through issues.

How do you outthink your opponents:
1. Seize the best ground & arguments
2. Knowing both sides of an issue (inside & out). Knowing the territory.
3. Various keys to winning (4)


How do you increase in performance:
1. Health living (the science here is incredible)
2. Questions/reflection/attention (time)
3. Research & interviews & mentorship
4. Passion & drive to be better
5. Recording your ideas & memories [creatives & thinkers need to record their moments of clarity in a semi-regular place–how are you going to do this?]
6. Know the evidence & arguments (underline down & organize)
7. Re-assembly
8. Knowing the enemy (knowing the best–aka patterns)
9. Thinking like the audience (aka a judge). Knowing the audience.
10. Filter/nexus issues

Logistics of debates:
1. Travel/tournaments
2. Working together in a debate
3. Team work & preparation
4. Time & scheduling–focus
5. Physical box (ie your organization system)
6. Other levels of logistics

Why is time spent on debate critical? What does that mean?
1. Arguments don’t write themselves
2. Research doesn’t read itself
3. Flexibility and freedom created by preparation.
4. Game plans don’t create themselves
5. Feedback drives improvement
6. Attention, reflection
7. Incubation & ah-ha moments
8. Ask big questions…and even small ones (what if? what could this mean? why? what is the impact of this? how could we use this? how is this relevant?)
9. Relationships.
10. Building your critical thinking Toolbox, the software of your mind & being your best.


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