Debate Team: Tips and Resources
Debating does not only happen during presidential elections. Throughout the year, middle school, high school and college debate teams are honing their arguments and presenting them at local, state and national competitions. Just as presidential candidates spend days honing their arguments, members of debate teams spend hours upon hours building their debating skills. In addition to researching their arguments and finding facts and figures to back up their points, debate team members much master the art of persuasive and public speaking in order to get their point across. The best debate teams know how to take a cockamamie argument and make it sound entirely logical.
Basic Debating Skills
In a competitive debate, determining your main point is only a small part of your preparation. You must learn how to present your point in the most flattering light, respond to your opponents’ arguments and work as a team to present a convincing argument. This requires knowing the general debating process and understanding the basics of persuasive language and public speaking.
- Debate Formats – There are multiple ways to debate and this short guide gives an overview of each debate format.
- Debate Team Dictionary – Debating involves some specific terms and you must learn them to make sure you are on the same page as everyone else.
- The Basic Skills of Debating – From explaining what a debate is to understanding the various roles within a debate, this guide covers it all.
- First Speaker – Discover what it means to be the First Speaker and how to be successful in that role.
- Speaker Roles – Gain an understanding of each speaker’s role on the debate team.
- How to Debate – University of Alaska’s award-winning debate team gives an overview of the debate process.
- Comprehensive Survey of Argumentation, Persuasion, Public Speaking and Debating – Professors present lectures covering nearly every aspect of debating and persuasive speaking.
- CUSID Central Debating Guide – Written by professors involved with some of the top college debate teams in the country, this guide covers everything you need to know about debating.
- Advancing in Debate: Skills and Concepts – Once you know the basics of debating, you can pick up some more advanced skills to improve your technique.
Starting a Debate Team
Starting a debate team takes a lot of work and getting students to join the team is often the hardest part. To make the debate team the club all students want to join, you must get across how much fun debating can be and all of the benefits it provides.
- NAUDL: Starting the Team – Use this guide to help recruit students for debate and get politicians and other community members to support your team.
- Debate Vision: Starting a New Debate Team – Watch a video that puts the process of starting debate teams into simple steps.
- The Debate as a Learning Tool – Debate is about more than winning competitions and presenting arguments, it can also be a tool for learning.
- The Benefits of Debate – Understanding the benefits of debating can help get students and colleagues on board.
- Teacher’s Guide to the Middle School Public Debate Program – This guide helps new debate coaches at all levels make sure they understand what is involved with creating a debate team.
- Monash Association of Debaters Guide to Debating – Coaches and students can use this guide to learn what is required of a debate team and how to be successful.
Being part of a debate team is a lot more rewarding when students actually win debates. In order to win a debate, students must know how to present their arguments in ways that get the attention of the judges and make their opponents’ arguments seem weak. Knowing how to read the judges and what to expect at a debate tournament can help make that happen.
- Learning Classic Debate – This guide helps those new to debate tournaments know what to expect.
- Preparing for a Tournament – The Middle School Public Debate Program provides information to give students an idea of what to expect during their first debate.
- Tips for Debaters – No matter what role you have in a debate, you will find tips and advice in this guide.
- Let the Games Begin: Quick Tips for Winning Debates – Learn how to become a master debater and win tournaments.
- 5 Tips to Help You Win Every Debate Round – Pay attention to these five tips to improve your chances of success at a debate tournament.
- Five Tips to Win Any Debate – These five tips go beyond debating tournaments and help you improve your general debating skills.
- Judge Adaptation and Tips – You never know who will judge a debate tournament, so you must learn how to adapt to appeal to any judge.
- Training Tips – A big part of debate tournament success is the training and preparation that comes before the actual tournament.
- Debate Team: Unwritten Rules – Go beyond the tournament handbook and learn some of the unwritten rules of debating from those who have experienced debating success.