[eDebate] On 7 Round Tournaments

Josh jbhdb8
Mon Oct 12 22:00:54 CDT 2009


We are trying to simultaneously reduce prelims, increase point-spreads, and
decrease power-matched rounds....It seems to mean less rounds for teams
after we spend a TON to travel them, make clearing more random and
potentially related entirely to speaker points, and also make elim days
better....I sure havent noticed a particularly shorter tournament day except
on mondays.

I am not necessarily against any of the changes, but the rush to accomplish
everything at once seems to have really created some wackiness,

Josh

On Fri, Oct 9, 2009 at 12:22 PM, Ralph Paone <ralph.paone at gmail.com> wrote:

> In the spirit of ranks that nobody will ever respond to (Hi Whit and
> D-Lo)..
>
> I suppose this post is a reaction to a trend I've noticed on e-Debate
> regarding tournament safety and some things that I noticed over the weekend
> while at the Clay.
>
> My overall point (the short version) is this:  Debate is good. Shortening
> tournament length decrease Debate, and that is bad (part 1).  If we are
> going to make smaller schedules the norm, we should reevaluate the structure
> of the prelims (part 2).
>
> Part I - Against Shortening Tournament Length
>
> There seems to be a trend towards having fewer prelim rounds at
> tournaments.  A number of arguments are given in support of this claim, but
> few are very well explained. Among them are....     Perhaps the best
> argument that I've heard for having fewer rounds is that debaters will be
> less tired at the end of the tournament, resulting in better elim day
> debates for those involved and less fatigue for all debaters returning home
> to the school work they have put off for the past couple days or weeks. In
> its strongest articulation, the argument for shortening tournament length
> has focused on the need to improve the general tournament atmosphere, making
> debate tournaments more habitable for all.  Those who began the movement for
> shorter tournament -- those to whom I am indebted to and far less wise than
> -- seemed to notice a troubling tide of over-exhaustion, isolation, and
> general grumpiness at tournaments.  Although I am in general supportive of
> measures that make tournaments more inviting and community-building, I am
> not yet convinced that shortening tournament length is the appropriate
> response, and I hope that other solutions will continue to be experimented
> with.
>
> On face, the argument that we should shorten debate tournaments because
> people get too tired just seems silly.  I'm sure, for example, that
> basketball players get extremely tired during the course of a regular season
> game and even more exhausted during a play-off series or a long trip on the
> road.  The solution to this fatigue, however, is not to shorten the length
> of quarters or the number of games being played during the season.  Instead,
> coaches encourage their players to live a lifestyle off the court that
> enables them to adequately handle the stress of the game.  Debaters are not
> just exhausted after a tournament because they had an 8th debate, they are
> exhausted because they've been working on little sleep for days/weeks before
> the tournament, and often up late enjoying themselves each night of the
> tournament.  Neither of those problems are eliminated by having one less
> debate. Some might argue that the shorter schedule puts less stress on
> coaches.  Admittedly, I do not know a lot about being a coach, and am
> perhaps ignorant and in need of a schooling. In my opinion, having 1 fewer
> debate does little to alleviate coach fatigue except for the coaches of
> doubles teams who do not have to stay up late preparing for doubles.  I
> don't know what about having one fewer debate causes coaches who stay up all
> night cutting cards (you know who you are) to suddenly decide that they
> shouldn't do that and should instead go to sleep.  Similar to student
> fatigue, coach fatigue seems a "problem" of personal decisions made by
> individual coaches and the ethos of competition that courses through the
> debate community. * From a debater perspective, I'd much rather have
> another debate than feel marginally less tired Tuesdays after tournaments.
> I'm sure those who could have cleared 5-3 but didn't because they were 4-3
> would agree with me on this*. I have never heard a good answer to the
> argument that shortening tournament length denies the majority of teams an
> extra debate in the name of preserving the energy levels of the select few
> debating on elim day.
>
> I am also curious where the data for the 'we're so tired please don't make
> us debate another round' argument is coming from.  Have any tournaments
> provided participants with a survey of whether or not they would rather
> debate an additional round or feel less tired on Monday/Tuesday?  I would be
> curious to hear thoughts on this, as I might be in the minority.  In any
> case, it would be interesting if tournaments began posing these sorts of
> questions to the participants (judges, debaters, and coaches alike).
>
> Part II - Revising Prelim Structure for the Short Schedule
>
> If we're going to be shortening tournaments, I think it is absolutely
> paramount that tab rooms alter the prelim structure to reflect this change.
> I enjoyed my time in Kentucky this past weekend, but the notion of having 4
> preset rounds in a 7 round tournament is *PATENTLY ABSURD*.  There is
> simply not enough time in the three following rounds to effectively derive
> the top 32 teams via rigorous competition.  This is particularly troubling
> given that most critics are still getting used to the 100 pt scale.  Speaker
> points are more important than ever, but the norms dictating what certain
> points mean are less certain than ever.
>
> This problem is probably solved by beginning to power-match debates after 2
> or 3 rounds, and I hope that such a practice is adopted for future large
> national tournaments that decide to shorten their schedules. (I am aware of
> course that many smaller tournament already pair prelims like this; I think
> that Wake did last year?)..
>
> As a side note, I think it sort of sucks that teams can go 5-2 at a
> tournament and still not clear, but maybe there's not much to be done about
> that.
>
> Responses and clarifications would be extremely appreciated,
>
> -Ralph
>
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