The start of a new season looks a little different this year–breakout rooms have replaced classrooms, and teammates and opponents alike sit miles apart from each other. As the first tournament of the 2020-2021 OCDL season, the Scramble on the 24th is a unique opportunity for both new and returning debaters to gain debate experience and connect with other debaters in the league. Here are some tips to create the best tournament experience possible!
Tip 1: Reach out to people
Debate is a collaborative activity, and since the Scramble’s structure places students from different schools onto one team, it teaches you both the skill of teamwork and that of networking. Especially this year, the Scramble will allow you to get to know others within the league who you might not meet elsewhere, so take this time to get to know your teammates!
Tip 2: Keep track of feedback
As you should do in every tournament, take notes on your judges’ constructive feedback. Keeping these comments organized in one place will allow you to refer to them consistently as you prepare for future tournaments, which is one of the best ways that you can improve your performance. Have a paper and pen out or keep a document open before your disclosures!
Tip 3: Complete a tech check
It is now more important than ever that your Wi-fi works properly and your devices don’t run into any issues. To ensure that no technological difficulties arise when you are giving a speech, try out different setups before the tournament and figure out what allows you to best transition between giving speeches, flowing, and possibly timing yourself. Familiarize yourself with debating virtually during your school’s practices, and check with others on the call to see if you are lagging or cutting out. If you do all of this beforehand, you save yourself from extra stress on tournament day and ensure that nothing distracts from your performance.
Tip 4: Ask questions!
Don’t fall prey to the dreaded silence of Zoom. Your judges are solely there to help you, so after rounds, if you have any questions, please ask. This information will most likely help all of the other debaters and make everyone else more comfortable to ask their questions as well. The most important thing to remember is that debate is supposed to be a community and that the only way to be an active member of that community is to take initiative and build your connections with your peers.
The start of the OCDL season is always an exciting time, and the Scramble is the perfect opportunity to practice your public speaking, receive feedback from experienced coaches and judges, and meet other students within the league. These tips and tricks will help you enhance your debate experience so that you can make the most out of this opportunity. Good luck and happy debating!