NSDeep October responses

Thank you for all your submissions! These resemble a lot of the submissions we received last season around this time, so check out the NSDeep articles from last season too! 

  1. Handling school and debate together

I will note that I did not work on debate outside of prepping for tournaments because I was busy with other extra-curriculars and schoolwork. However, I managed my time between debate and school by doing a few things:

  • I maximized my time during school so that I got as much work done instead of talking to my friends or being on my phone for more than 5 minutes. This was really helpful because it decreased the amount of work, I had to take home and sometimes I completed my actual homework in school so when I got home I could do what I wanted, including work on debate.
  • If there are tournaments on the weekend, knock out school assignments in the earlier part of the week so that Thursday and Friday can have more time towards debate prep.
  • I often reminded myself that debate is not that deep, and that it is just an extracurricular activity, but school comes first. Also, my coach maintained that our grades had to be good in order for us to be eligible to compete, so I always kept that in mind.

The honest answer is that you have to prioritize school, so maybe schedule in debate work after your homework or use debate work as a break from school work (e.g. do speed drills in between homework assignments).

As much as we love to kid ourselves, we don’t always get work done at tournaments. I will personally admit that I took a lot of my homework with me to tournaments and never touched it until I got back home. Debating every weekend is hard to balance with school but not impossible! Here are a few tips:

  • Make sure when you’re at school, you’re completing as much work as possible to minimize the amount of homework. This may seem obvious, but it actually takes a decent amount of self-discipline to do other work when in a class that’s not doing anything instead of just talking to your friends.
  • Plan out the work you have due for next week, and if possible, start/complete it before you leave for the tournament
  • Be realistic with the amount of work you take with you on the trip. If you think you can get work done while you’re on the trip, take specific assignments, or ones that you think you can finish in a reasonable amount of time.

2. “How to effectively crossapp a K to case or crossapp a K aff to whatever neg strat they read”

Some amazing tips from NSD Staff-member, Katherine Fennell!!

Cross applying K to case:

An important thing to note when you are answering case in the 1N is that you do not want to just reference cards in the K that you read to answer particular arguments and move on. For example, let’s say the aff is a Kant position with arguments about how practical reason is constitutive of agency and the subject is defined by their ability to reason and you read a Deleuzian K about how the subject is fluid and relational, with links to state action. When you are answering the framework cards in the aff, you don’t want to just say, “Cross apply X card from the K – it disproves this argument.” Not only is that redundant (you have already read the K, you don’t want to spend the time on case restating the argument), but the aff is going to use their framework to answer the K. You want to do warrant comparison (i.e. why is your K correct on the question of how the subject is formed, and why is the aff incorrect on that question). 

You can also use the K to indict the starting point of the aff, to prove why the K comes at a higher level than the aff. For example, if you are reading a cap K against a util aff, you can make arguments about how capitalism infiltrates the way we generate knowledge and think about the world, thus the K comes at a higher level than the aff arguments because the aff arguments have an epistemic bias that isn’t accounted for. The more specific you can be with this, the better. For example, you can make arguments about why the logic of utility is rooted in capitalism, in which we only see people as bodies to be counted within neoliberalism.  

You can also make arguments about how the links to the K also turn and outweigh the aff. You can make arguments about why the link is something that would matter under the affirmative framework, and turns the affirmative offense. 

You can make arguments about why the alternative solves the affirmative (i.e. why the alternative is able to resolve the problems that the aff claims to solve). For example, if the aff is about disability, and you read a cap K, you can make arguments about why the alt solves the case because capitalism is the root cause of ableism.

For a more in depth explanation of these types of arguments, you can look to this article: http://nsdupdate.com/2017/intro-to-k-strategy-the-2nr/

Cross applying a K aff to neg strats: 

This is a great thing to be thinking about! When you are writing an aff, you want to be thinking about how you can use parts of the aff in the 1AR against various positions. 

This question is hard to answer in the abstract, though, because the arguments you can make to leverage the aff against various 1N positions depends heavily on what the aff is and what the 1NC positions are. For example, is the aff a soft left K aff that defends state action, or is it less topical, like a performance aff?

You can use the framing of the aff to answer various off positions. The theory of power of the aff can be used to deny assumptions of parts of the 1n strategy. For example, if the framing of the aff discusses how power operates by the imposition of norms to exclude and eradicate deviancy, you can use that argument to answer T by saying that T is an instance of the imposition of norms to eradicate deviancy. 

If you are answering a K, you make arguments about why the offense of the aff outweighs the K, and is a net benefit to the perm. You can win that there is some barrier to solving oppression that the K cannot solve or account for, which means the alt can’t solve. 

Katherine Fennell

3. How do I not get overwhelmed at tournaments?

Here are some tips and the link for last year’s article that gave a slew of responses to this! http://nsdupdate.com/2018/nsdeep-responses-week-1/

  • Make sure to take care of yourself right before tournaments! Instead of stressing out & staying up super late the night before to cut loads of prep, try to work out and sleep early! Or watch some Netflix. If you can get yourself in a more relaxed mood and take care of yourself before the tournament, you won’t feel as stressed during the weekend.
  • Music! Before one of the biggest rounds of my career all I wanted to do was cry after I got my pairing. My coach put these giant headphones on me and played Beyoncé, and it calmed me down. Make pump up playlists, calming playlists, distracting playlists—whatever you need.  
  • Do non-debate things between rounds. My teammates and I played a lot of Contact, trivia games, card games, etc. Even 5 minutes can help get your mind off of what’s stressful. Using a fidget spinner, cube or kinetic sand at tournaments, helps to have something small to fidget or play with to help focus more
  • Get up and move around if you are able to. Especially when I’m on a big campus like UF or Harvard, I just go for a walk. I put on my comfy shoes and put in my ear buds and I just walk and take in deep breaths and just reflect. This works best in areas where the air is cool because I can feel the air going in my noise and that makes it easier for me to focus on my breathing and make sure it’s slow and controlled.
  • Maintain healthy relationships, a lot of times it’s easy to make toxic friendships which just made debate seem less fun.
  • Speak your truth in the midst of anxiety due to fear of retaliation against your identity. “Being Black and talking about structural violence in debate usually comes off as ‘aggressive’ or ‘unconvincing’ but when these same arguments are spewed from a white mouth they somehow become more coherent. In order to cope with this anxiety of going into rounds in front of white judges and white judging panels, adopting a form of hope by continuing to speak truth to power can be a great thing in itself. Bringing these issues into round is a good thing in itself, regardless of the results of the ballot.” – Delon Fuller
  • Do yoga. It’s very grounding.
  • Do what you love!!! If you love policy style debate, if you love high theory, if you like kritikal literature – do it. This activity is meant to be fun regardless of what anyone tells you, so do what you love in the space. When you’re excited to run your new AFF, it can block out some of your anxious fears.

4. How to deal with tough losses?

“If you’re holding on to the idea that winning is everything then that is a problem, because that cannot be the only goal. Through your own sense of self-compassion you can become your inner ally instead of your inner enemy. So, it’s about developing self-compassion; self-esteem and confidence aren’t it. Self-compassion is the ability to talk to yourself, just like you talk to a friend you believe in or care about. If you have this, you see that failure is a stepping stone and not something that defines you. This does not mean accept less than your best, but it is really about working towards your mission and vision for your goal. If your goal is to win the debate and get the bid, that’s okay. However, if you don’t, you have to withstand the disappointment rather than letting it destroy you because you want to have a rational perspective about yourself and your experience. Sometimes you’re going to lose when you should’ve won, because the world isn’t fair and that is frustrating. However, you can be willing to take the risk and approach yourself with a strong sense of self compassion.” – Shirley Matthews PhD.

Interested in learning more about this concept? Dr. Shirley Matthews is citing one of her favorite books: The Mindful Self-Compassion Workbook: A Proven Way to Accept Yourself, Build Inner Strength, and Thrive by Kristin Neff, PhD and Christopher Germer, PhD.

5. “How do i go as an independent to nat circ tournaments if my school doesn’t do progressive tournaments (like if we only go to locals)?

Two responses from NSD Staff-members Megan Wu and Matt Moorhead!!

“Since this question is fairly vague, I’ll answer it in two parts – administrative approval and economics.

First, with administrative approval, there are a few things you have to do.

1. Most tournaments either allow completely independent entries (you can literally go alone) or just require a signature from your school, in which case you just need to go to your admins and get them to a sign a form. However, if it is a tournament that requires a school administrator to be present, you need someone signed off by the school to attend with you. I know a few independents who had their parents signed off by the school to be representatives, but it all depends on your admins. 2. Get access a coaches tabroom account and register for the tournament on your own OR have a coach from your school do it for you if they are okay with it.

For economics, there are also a few things – 

1. Stretch your dollar where you can – book cheap flights, cheap hotels, and drive to whatever tournaments you can. My entire run on the circuit I drove to any tournament within six hours of me and never flew to a tournament. I had one tournament with registration, entry, and hotel costs come down to under $200.

2. If you are in need of financial support, contact tournament admins before the tournament to see if they can help with registration costs. You’d be surprised how many directors are incredibly supportive and helpful of low-income programs.

3. Get local judging that has transportation and lodging already covered. There are people all over the high school LD and policy pages that are usually available.

Best of luck!”

Matt Moorhead

“1) Talk to your coach about whether you would be allowed to compete at national circuit tournaments, and under what conditions. Some coaches will be okay with it if you have a parent there with you to chaperone you, but other coaches/schools have more rules about liability and using your school’s name.

2) In the case where your school doesn’t allow you to compete using your school’s name, you need to make a school on Tabroom with a name that meets your school’s requirements. Some possibilities are “[City] Independent,” “[School Name] Independent,” or just “Independent.” Instructions for creating a school on Tabroom can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/notes/small-schoolindependent-debate/faq/194487060977702/!

3) Register for tournaments using your new school on Tabroom. Remember to register early, pay fees on time, and be clear and honest with tournament directors about your situation.”

Megan Wu

6. “How to find coaching

The High School Lincoln Douglas Debate FB group is a good resource to look for coaches — prospective coaches often post in it when they are looking for kids, and you can make a post if you are looking for a coach. 

Also, reach out to any coaches that you know, and see if they can recommend coaches to you. Don’t be afraid to email or message coaches on Facebook and ask if they are looking to pick up more kids or know coaches who are. If you aren’t sure where to start, you can look at the staff of camps and start reaching out to those people. 

Don’t be afraid to have some intro sessions with more than one coach, to see who you think would be the best fit for how you learn and what you are interested in working on.

Katherine Fennell

 7. “How to prosper despite disparities such as not having school coaches or teammates

As a former small school debater myself, I understand how it feels to be feeling as if you have to go above and beyond to face schools that are larger and have more resources. Honestly, work hard and do your best to write frontlines to and block out some suggested answers to your cases (e.g. ask other people how they would respond to your case and then write responses to that) and then take a break to take your mind off debate. Do not let foolish social stigmas like “rep” or how many TOC bids someone has bog you down or cause you to be salty when you get pairings, just be confident. Keep in mind, coaches can write things out for you and tell you which cases to read but they can’t give anyone’s rebuttal speech for them, so always try your best and that will be more than enough to keep up.

Jayanne Forrest