Wednesday, October 14, 2015
Coaching The Girl
Our HS debate team made a major breakthrough when our coach flipped the teams, and we went on to win our conference and challenge (but lose to) one of the top teams in the state. You need finely tuned "negative" skills to negate the attacks on the affirmative case, and there is no better defense than a well-planned counter offensive. It also helped that, for both halves of the team, we knew our own standard plans of attack better than the ones who were going to be attacked. We knew what we would do, and were ready for it.
Tell her to think of the challenge of arguing against her preferred position as a way to find holes in that case and shore it up against a counter-attack.
Debate is about analyzing your own argument as much as it is about analyzing your opponents argument. You have to find the weaknesses in your own argument, and that is harder to do when you "believe" in it than when you don't.
There is nothing quite like winning both sides of an argument!
Making good notes is essential.. That way she won't miss arguments.
Watching her time allocation is hard, but necessary.
As for you, you need to decide if you're going to watch her speak or not... It's nerve wracking band some debaters don't want their families and coaches watching.
I also think it's essential not to take it as a matter of life-and-death. There are things people do to win debate tournaments (abusive behavior) that one need not learn.
Also, I hope the judges have moved away from essentially counting the amount of "evidence" one quotes and are paying more attention to logic and rhetorical skills. (Back when I was last involved, things had devolved into "evidence wars.")