The Orange County Debate League is so excited to be hosting the Holiday Tournament on December 5th! Although virtual tournaments may still be a little unfamiliar, they offer a valuable learning opportunity for everyone. These tips and tricks take into account some lessons from the Scramble, so we hope that they will create the best debating environment for the upcoming tournament.

Tip 1: Heckle clearly

To accommodate for the delay in some of Zoom’s features, please make sure to unmute yourself, wait a second before speaking, and then heckle. Additionally, you can try heckling in your debate practices and ask your friends if they can hear you. Heckles are often drowned out by the other speaker’s voice, so practicing beforehand is the best way to ensure that your opponents and judge will be able to understand your point. Don’t let muffled heckles cause any confusion during your rounds on the day of the actual tournament!

Tip 2: Become familiar with Zoom

Since many tournaments will likely be online for the remainder this school year, it will greatly benefit you to have some basic knowledge of how Zoom works. If you attended the Scramble in October, you can review the concepts that may have been confusing or new for you during that tournament. Reach out to your coach, your parents, or the Internet to better understand video calls through Zoom to make sure that you know how to join meetings, join breakout rooms, and navigate the control panel to unmute and turn your camera on. 

It’s also very helpful to keep a document with important Zoom codes so that you can keep track of links to various calls. This will help you stay organized, especially if the tournament is held on multiple Zoom calls.

Tip 3: Be patient!

This form of debate is new to everyone, and your judges and coaches are all working to make the transition online as smooth as possible. If technical difficulties arise, however, please do not let yourself be thrown off. Tournament day is supposed to be fun, and the only way to make the most out of your debating experience is to be flexible.

Although we wish that we could be debating in person, online tournaments offer their own unique experience in that we are able to stay safe while continuing to participate in an amazing educational activity. The OCDL looks forward to seeing you soon!

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