NSDeep September

Thank you for all the submissions to NSDeep for this month! We are really kicking off the season with some spicy submissions. Here are our top 3 responses:

What can I do to help build/hype up my friends who are smart and make good arguments but still think they’re bad at debate?

This is super hard because that is very much a confidence issue that everyone deals with and is deeply rooted in self esteem issues that most competitive activities cause. However, it sounds like you are being a great friend and maybe your compliments could be more direct! Taking specific examples of things that they have done really well is awesome, including the arguments they make or their performance in certain rounds. However, reminding them that the activity is not the end-all-be-all will relieve some of the stress they are placing on themselves. Debate is a competitive activity and it is important to students for different reasons, but it is not important enough to beat yourself up over or stress you more than high school. PSA: Debate alone does not get people into college. Winning TOC does not always guarantee you a spot at your top choice. So, remind them to give it a break. Relax with them at tournaments, hype them up whenever possible, and be there for them when they are sad. Most importantly, cut out the negativity as soon as you hear it. When they say things like “I wish I was not so bad at….” or “that sucked, I’m so stupid I couldn’t even…” those are some of the most important moments to boost them up and get them out of the habit of constantly tearing themselves down and viewing the glass as half empty. Hope this helps, this is so important. Self love is the best love. It is useful to remind yourself that they are awesome and totally worthy, however at the end of the day it is really on them. The person must truly believe in themselves, and if they do not see that then it may be hard for a third party to convince them. Do not be afraid to take a healthy step back sometimes and remind yourself that you cannot singlehandedly make someone love/be more confident in themselves.

How to break/How to get a bid (with tips from Becca Traber)

  1. Judge adaptation – speak pretty and make the round clear (via good strategy and clear explanation) by the last speech so that you can get the ballot. Adapting to the judge is important because at the end of the day they are the ones submitting the ballot (a very important exception to this is the case of debating novice debaters – in which case you should make the round educational and accessible for everyone instead of being rude or very very shady for no reason). The difference between debaters who get to outrounds/get the bid and debaters who are around the same skill level is how much they think about judges – not in the context of complaining about decisions, but the mindset that every judge is winnable when you make the right decisions
  2. Specifically for a bid:
    1. Adapting to panels is very important.
    2. Stamina: late outrounds require getting sleep that night before and keeping your body ready. Eat and stay hydrated so your body can keep you going.
    3. Flex: Thinking about scenarios when doing pre-tournament prep. Think about what type of opponents and judges are in the pool, do you have something to do in these situations? (ex: a Policy judge and an opponent who often reads Ks). 
    4. Judge Prefs! Do not think in the abstract about what judges you want but which judges you want in which circumstances. 
  3. Be confident – debate is about persuasion, if you barely believe the words coming out of your mouth (and it’s obvious) then no one else will. Tell your ballot story like you’re trying to win and that might actually help you win. Some say fake it til you make it, but I think this is a better version of that.
  4. Hard work! – Several people in history have used the quote “hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard” and it is especially true in the context of doing your best in rounds. Pre-round prep is cool, but this is not the only factor. Having cases prepared, getting a feel for the competitor pool, doing drills, writing frontlines, compiling block files, etc. are all useful things that help people win rounds and win tournaments. In a world of thousands of private coaching, prep groups, and some adults writing more debate content than the students, it is easy to feel defeated. However, you know your positions best, work to get better at defending them. 
  5. Win rounds – there is no key to success here so I won’t try to break down how to win rounds. Don’t underestimate your opponents and don’t overestimate your judge – you may find that helps a lot. Think less about specific substantive arguments/prep and more generally about situations. It does not matter if you have the best Kritik of a particular position if you have a judge who would not evaluate/understand/care about that Kritik (this is partially resolved by preffing).

How to pressure a tricks NC in cross-ex (all tips from Becca Traber and Stephen Scopa)

  1. Call them out! A lot of tricks debaters these days get away with ridiculous NC strategies that are contradictory or just flat out incoherent. Most people seem to be afraid of calling them out on this because they are worried that they just don’t understand the NC. You probably understand and are probably correct it doesn’t make sense! 
  2. Use the aff! A lot of people try to answer the NC straight up, but you have your aff for a reason, make sure you use to your framework/ROB to take out the justifications. A lot of the time NCs don’t necessarily take into account the nature of the aff, and it will be much easier to cross-apply the aff to answer it than trying to answer a complicated syllogism the NC will most likely have.
  3. Figure out the intricacies of how the burden works:
    1. The relationship between different types of triggers (e.g. permissibility, presumption)
    2. What the AFF burden is and how the NEG arguments interact with the burden
    3. What is turn-able?
    4. What is sufficient to win?
    5. Which NEG arguments have K or theory implications, is there a route for them to get rid of theory or a K role of the ballot? That is dependent on what the AFF is*
    6. Is theory a voter in the world of the NEG? If there is any shadiness in there, it could very well not be a voter.
    7. Much better to think of a prioris in terms of what the burden is and what the argument is that interacts
      1. For example: if there is a Skepticism argument (kinda an a priori) is it still a reason to vote, even if they lose the truth testing role of the ballot? 
  4. In Cross-Ex you want to figure out how the NC works but keep in mind what they are being shady about answering to see what they will go for in the next speech. Shadiness is useful to remember. 
  5. Get specific clarification for why “X” NEG argument takes out potential 1AR argument “Y.” 
    1. If they explain how something functions and you want to answer it (ex: X argument takes out theory, and you want to run theory), get as much clarity/warranting as possible about what has to be true to conclude that it takes out theory. 
    2. This makes your pre-empting in the 1AR very specific and much more convincing. 
  6. ANSWER TRUTH TESTING. I don’t know why nobody does this. It is far more likely you will miss an a priori than it is you concede a damning truth testing warrant. You can more likely recover from a truth testing justification than you can a conceded a priori if you’ve conceded truth testing. Truth testing is the lynchpin of most of these NC strategies, if you can spend the majority of the time answering truth testing and then your additional time answering whatever arguments might operate under your role of the ballot, you’ll be in much better shape than if you had tried to line-by-line the entire tricks NC.
  7. Basic questions that can be made specific in the context of the NC for that round:
    1. Does the NC function under the aff and if so how? 
    2.  (If burden + truth testing) How does truth testing not take out the burden, given that the burden is a re-contextualization of the topical burden? 
    3. Are there any skep triggers, contingent standards, or presumption triggers in the NC? Where are they? 
    4. How does the NC interact with the other case positions in the 1NC? (a lot of the time they will have tension with one another)

Love what you see and want more? Check out our advice from last season by searching “NSDeep” in the search bar on the top right of this page.

Have your own request? Make submissions for NSDeep October here: https://forms.gle/w5kPnyEPBiEqExz98

Jayanne Forrest