[eDebate] Suggestions for small schools to stay competitve

matt stannard stannardmatt
Tue Apr 11 12:31:14 CDT 2006

Another suggestion:  Attend the Wyoming Debate Cooperative, August 1-14.  
MANY resource-challenged programs have utilized the Cooperative to their 
advantage over the last six years, including teams who subsequently appeared 
in elims at NDT and CEDA nats.


>From: "Anne Canavan" <anne.canavan at gmail.com>
>To: edebate at ndtceda.com
>Subject: [eDebate] Suggestions for small schools to stay competitve
>Date: Tue, 11 Apr 2006 10:26:23 -0700
>In the last several months there have been some on again, off again
>discussions of the role of small schools in policy debate and how they 
>being crushed by larger schools.  As a coach from a small university, and a
>competitor from a small program, here are some things that worked for us,
>and some new suggestions that might work in the future.
>1) Write your own cases!  A team that develops and writes their own cases
>(and neg strategy) knows their material forward and backward, and it gives
>competitors ownership of the activity.  This is also great as a squad
>because you may have several different aff cases on one squad which makes
>you a bit less predictable.  Is it a lot more research in the beginning?
>Yes.  Is it worth it? Yes.
>2) Don't disclose.  (I know this is going to get people unhappy, but hear 
>out.)  Small schools which develop their own cases are generally better off
>if they don't disclose before the round.  Frequently these squads have 
>coaches/GAs than larger schools, and if you disclose your team runs the 
>of debating the other team's coach instead of the other team.
>Also, disclosing gives away a vital strategic advantage to writing your own
>case-- if you're going to disclose, why not just run a camp case?  Now, the
>manners part-- I encourage my teams to politely say it is not our squad
>policy to disclose due to the limited size of our coaching staff.
>Furhtermore, we do not ask others to disclose, as that would be unethical 
>my view given our stance.
>3) Evidence share-  Camp evidence is great stuff, if for no other reason
>than it gives you a basis to build your own research off of.  Try to find
>other small programs in your area and arrange an evidence swap (for example
>a set of WDI evidence for a set of ADI).  This is one way of maximizing 
>you get for your maoney as well as building good relations with other 
>4) Small schools only tournaments-  I have never tried/seen this in policy
>debate, but Transylvania in KY does it for parli and speech,a nd it was a
>fantastic experience.  It would be a good way for small schools to go to
>more tournaments, but with the advantage they get to build their confidence
>up, since the larger teams that tend to dominate tournaments would not be
>present.  It would also encourage fraternity among smaller schools, etc.
>5) Teaching tournaments- Maybe a tournament that only has 3 or 4 rounds, 
>has built in time for long critiques... maybe even between speeches.  The
>idea would be more instructional than competitive, and would expose 
>to a broader range of critics, and different perspectives on debate.
>I know there are more fantastic ideas out there, we only need to think of
>them and then (the hard part) put them into action.
>Anne M. Canavan
>Instructor, Assistant Speech and Debate Coach
>Tennessee Technological University
>931 529 0300

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