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January 10, 2014 / compassioninpolitics

Quick getting better at debate tips

1. You need to have a symbol system for flowing. You need a way to distinguish carded arguments from non-carded arguments (I use a circle with an X in it to signify a carded argument). You also need a symbol for a missed argument. some people use a short dash.
2. Sit near them. Make it as easy as possible to flow.
3. Practice
4. Fill in the gaps in cross-ex (although try not to make this more than 1/2 the cross ex if possible).
5. You can sometimes use their blocks or your blocks (particularly as you get better). You can sometimes go off your blocks
6. If you miss something….you can go read behind them.
7. Your partner can help. Figure out a system that works for both of you.

Partner work
1. Scenario planning & Preparation.
2. Talking it out.

Write frontlines for the 2ac….to answer 1nc neg. arguments. This is HUUUUUGGGGEEEE. This is one of the easiest ways to up your game. Once you learn how to do this–and its a gradual thing–but this will help you get better.

How do you write frontlines:
1. Write a list of everything you heard….and have a separate piece of paper to answer each argument (ie DA, counterplan, critique, case argument, topicality). Leave no stone unturned. Get yourself prepared.
2. Stuff that came out at camp (evidence wise)
3. Chess masters use various starting moves/frameworks to set up their games. This is what frontlines can do for you….and it saves you prep time to focus on other stuff that you might be unprepared for.
4. File them in an expando file. Its about $12 to 15 at the office store. Get one with 31 files if possible….. These are incredibly helpful for maintaining organization.
5. Writing frontlines forces you to think about your best arguments & your opponents best arguments…….and state them in the most . It also allows you use your unconcious brain in the process known as incubation.
6. It helps you get on the same page with your partner–which you said was a problem.
7. It helps you be a bit more confident. Knowing you have written out answers to most arguments the 1NC will throw at you (and even the 2NC if they read new arguments).
8. The value of competitive intelligence (ie reading the disad & counterplan & critique shells the other team will read ahead of time…..and thinking up and writing responses). From Sun Tzu, an epic strategist in his book the Art of War:
Now the reason the enlightened prince and the wise general conquer the enemy whenever they move and their achievements surpass those of ordinary men is foreknowledge.

If you have challenges with regards to writing frontlines….just ask questions in the forums.

By the way….just reading the above is not going to be enough. You have to take action….you have to make a commitment… have to schedule time or otherwise make time to think deeply about the arguments and what they are saying and how they interact. This requires time and work…..and it can be fun. No one got great at debate….without spending serious time getting to know their arguments and thinking about and reading about what their opponent was going to say.


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