NSDeep – week 4 responses

If you submitted anything to NSDeep over the break (last week) or this past week, check out the responses here! Thanks for all the submissions

1.How to be a nice person since no one in debate can seem to learn how to :’)
I feel this 100%. Often times people get so caught up in this competitive speaking activity that they don’t pay attention to how badly they are treating people which sucks. There is also always the chance that some people are just not really nice in general (even outside debate) and I think that is a separate issue. Here, I feel being a nice person for yourself is most important. One of my favorite bell hooksian concepts are the “politics of accountability” versus the “politics of blame.” Hold people accountable for treating you badly or being rude, if you feel comfortable explaining your feelings or being an active rather than passive bystander. It is really important to continue to just try to be kind in this activity when you can. Call people out for being disrespectful, maybe even be a killjoy 🙂 but definitely try not to let the negativity of people in the activity personally affect you outside of it. Embracing a love ethic has incredible potential here.
2. What do you do when a coach says they can’t coach you anymore but you still want to be friends with them?Honestly, I think this depends on the situation (e.g. why they can’t coach you anymore, your relationship before the coaching, the status of the current relationship despite the inability to coach you). In the case in which they just can’t coach you but your relationship is still solid, I would carry on as normal and just be friends and talk to them when you can. If it ain’t broke then don’t “fix” it right?
3. How do I make the transition from novice to varsity debate easier for my younger teammates?
Great question! There is no one-cut solution to this of course because everyone’s novice year, learning curve, team dynamics, and debate skills are different. However, increasing the difficulty of the drills you do with them so their skills improve, having them watch varsity debate rounds, [if financially feasible] encouraging them to go to camp, and just helping them learn more of the literature involved within varsity debate are all important things that might make the transition easier. I never had a “novice LD” year, but it seems that the novices I’ve spoken to at camps could definitely benefit from these things.
4. I’m someone who debates mostly on the traditional circuit. However, I went to camp this summer and have been going to more national tournaments. Even though I went to camp, I feel incredibly far behind and left out when I see other kids with their circuit friends and their coaches. What should I do regarding these feelings and how do I improve my outlook on circuit debate?
It is 100% okay to still feel behind after going to camp. Just remember, that the pace you learn and develop at is not measured by how well you perform at every single circuit tournament or how well you perform compared to the people around you/your lab-mates from camp. It is not easy to transition from a traditional to national circuit and you will definitely improve as you get more experience on a national level. As a debater, financial barriers prevented me from going to a large amount of national tournaments or hiring any coaches, and I still caught the hang of it thanks to a pretty diverse local circuit, financially accessible camps/coach and the few national tournaments I went to each year. Give yourself time to adjust, and try to find friends within the community that you genuinely enjoy being around regardless of their debate success/experience by introducing yourself to opponents, keeping in contact with people from camp (e.g. via Facebook) and other small gestures. I made almost all of my lasting debate friendships from camps and judges/coaches/adults I really admire in the community. I think once you do this your outlook on “circuit debate” might improve, I know mine definitely did!
5. Finding private coaches, having the entire process be safe, and general pricing in the community
I am not familiar with the process of finding private coaching because the only one I had was through AccessDebate. However, being in the “High School LD” Facebook group probably makes this search a lot easier because people “advertise” on there ALL the time throughout the year. Furthermore, Wesley Hu made this super convenient spreadsheet via Google Sheets that summarizes who is available for private coaching, their contact information, what their qualifications are and a few other important details! The link to that spreadsheet is here: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1yGzNiRONZVKHV28KInIV78T5tvgFed5fAMr8PeoD6vg. I believe the process can be safe by maintaining a communication that is not too personal, the basic Facebook messenger should be fine. Also maintain permission from your parent(s)/legal guardian(s) and remember to keep them involved in the process. It is hard to say a “general pricing in the community” because that kinda doesn’t exist with the wide variety of private coaching prices ranging from free to ridiculous ‘2-month’s worth of rent’ pricing.

Jayanne Forrest