Every month, Mac answers your questions about debate, all while giving wise advice. Submit a question to her here!

Dear Mac,

I have a teammate that does not appear to be doing his best or putting in his best effort. I think my teammate could do a better job in his AREI’s, such as using two pieces of evidence and making his impacts more than one sentence long. However, I don’t know how to tell him. Can you help me?


Trouble with Teammate

Dear “Trouble with Teammate,”

Debate is an activity that is supposed to be centered around teamwork, so I am sorry that you are having issues with your teammate. In regards to your teammate putting in more work, sometimes debaters just have work ethic issues while doing research and writing cases. Sectioning off certain parts of a case can worsen this issue. I have found that sitting down and working with your teammates at the same time has helped me in the past. Collaborating with your team will lessen each debater’s workload and allow you to create a strong case while doing an equal amount of work. 

Team collaboration can also help increase the bond between your teammates and create friendships! Forming friendships is always super fun and can also help solve this issue by creating an environment where your teammates feel safe enough to ask for help and questions. This way, instead of not doing the work, your teammates will come to you to ask about any questions they have. You can also turn to them and ask them to improve on something if you need it. 

If this issue worsens even after you have tried these methods, consider speaking to your coach or teacher. Let him or her know that there is more work being done by yourself and that you would like your teammates to help more. Your coach or teacher can ask them to put in more of an effort or change the arrangement of teams. 

In conclusion, teamwork is a tricky thing but it is all about communication. Whether it is working and speaking to your teammate directly about it or asking your coach or teacher, it is crucial that you talk to someone. I hope that after this you are able to speak to someone and maybe the work will become easier. Good luck!



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