Don’t Give a Debate Without These Four Elements by: Catherine Alles

During my sophomore year, I was asked as apart of the advanced debate class to spend a round helping a novice team through their first round. Before the debate, I sent them this worksheet I had made, emphasizing that these four main sections were essential for each and every speech they give. Here is what it looked like:

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Moot Court Tips (part 1) by: Hope Turner

​Mister Chief Justice and may it please the court…

​Moot court is something special. It transcends the everyday and takes you to a higher plane of thought. At least, that’s how I think of it. I LOVE moot court, but I’ll be the first to tell you that it is HARD. However, I have learned that if you invest in it, moot court will grow you into a stronger, smoother speaker who gives mic-drop answers using razor-sharp reasoning skills.

​I would like to give you a few tips to approaching moot court that makes you a better advocate and helps you have more fun. These aren’t just abstract tips. I’ve actually done these. In fact, I’m doing them right now as I prepare to compete at Nationals in collegiate moot court.

Fully immerse yourself in moot court
​Moot court can be daunting at first. And two months in. And six months in. In all honesty, I’m still intimidated by it to this day. That’s ok. The Supreme Court of the United States is daunting too. Ask anyone who has argued before the Supreme Court.

​“Come on, Hope,” you say. “It’s just pretend. We’re not actually arguing for a real person in front of the real Supreme Court.” To which I say, “but what if it were real? What if you actually were arguing for a real person before the real Supreme Court trying to affect real change?”

​That is the attitude you should have when you compete in moot court. Take it seriously! Fully immerse yourself in the role of The Attorney: arguing passionately on behalf of your client, who has been seriously injured; or defending the United States of America, who has done nothing wrong. Don’t do it half-heartedly. You get out of moot court what you put into it. So throw your whole self into it! Treat every round as if it were your one chance to speak before the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS). Your client is counting on you for justice. Act like it.

Read the cases
​Real talk: life is busy. Between high school (or college) classes, SAT prep, and everything else you are doing, your time is very limited. I get it. But actually reading the cases is invaluable to your moot court preparation for a few reasons:

  • Quotes
    ​SCOTUS has some pretty punchy lines. Use them to your advantage. Memorize them to use as answers to questions. Incorporate them into your arguments. Respond to opposing counsel’s arguments with them. They are wonderful little tools.
  • Actually understanding the cases
    ​This one seems like a no-brainer, but I can’t tell you how many times I have heard cases misrepresented or misquoted because counsel hasn’t actually read the case. Read the whole thing. Read the footnotes. Read the concurrences and dissents. Read it all.
  • Commentary on other cases
    ​It is common for cases to comment on past cases. Sometimes, SCOTUS overturns past cases (a fancy way of saying that they were wrong). They may even comment on cases you have available to you. That can increase your understanding of those cases, show you how to apply them to different circumstances, and distinguish the rule from dicta. (if you have no idea what I just said, let me explain: the “rule” is the part of a case that is binding on lower courts. It is the actual decision and the reasoning behind it that causes real change. It is how they answer the question presented to them. Anything else, like commentary on other cases or thoughts about potential future cases, is “dicta,” which is the non-binding opinion of the court. Dicta can be great for persuasive or rhetorical appeal, but it is not binding on the court.)

​​Tune into Hope’s next article for tips on – how to read cases…

Hope Turner is a Lasting Impact! Team Member and Coach. She is the reigning Moot Court Champion, along with her partner Hope Rawlson. For more one on one coaching, contact us.

Guest Blog : My Team Policy Debate Partner? My Brother

Brothers, but not TP Partners.


This article was submitted by an Alumni Debater (not pictured)

Debate was my high school sport. I participated in a high school homeschool Speech and Debate League, which values real-world skills over technical debate training, I developed the art of rhetoric, composition, and professional conduct. Yet the most important lesson I learned during that time was a lesson I learned from my brother.

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Coach Noah McKay Breaks Down the 2019-20 NCFCA LD Resolution

I have heard a number of concerns voiced by students and parents about the feasibility of arguing the affirmative side of the NCFCA’s 2019-2020 LD resolution. Granted, preventive war sounds like an ethically dubious activity on its face, and the resolution appears to make some ambitious claims. How can we reasonably make a blanket statement condoning what looks, from most angles, like blunt military aggression? If you don’t have the Lasting Impact! LD Guide, which has tons of ideas and an excellent resource, this article represents my attempt to put such concerns to rest and to show how this resolution can produce interesting and well-balanced debate rounds.

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The Incredible Sport of Competitive Forensics by: Eric Meinerding

On September 6th, 1998 one of the greatest quarterbacks football has ever seen started his first game. Peyton Manning, the first pick in the 1998 draft out of Tennessee, lost in his first game as a rookie with the Indianapolis Colts. Unlike many of the star first round quarterbacks of today’s football, Peyton Manning was never known for his strength, speed, or agility. While he certainly possessed the physical characteristics one would expect from two-time Superbowl champion, that didn’t define his style. He wasn’t one to consistently roll outside the pocket to extend a play or hurtle a ball downfield on sheer talent alone. Peyton Manning’s study, awareness, and preparation allowed him to become the football legend he is now known for today. That notion of skill development and preparation extends so well into the world of competitive forensics. It is one of the many reasons competitive forensics ought to be considered a sport. And it would behoove competitors to think of debate as such.

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Themes in Debate PLUS *Sneak Peak at 2019-2020 LD Guide

It’s that time of year again, pumpkins, cool nights, falling leaves and….

Debate prep! If you are doing LD this year, I’m sure you have realized that this resolution is really challenging in more ways than one. Not only is the wording different than you’re probably used to, it’s a fact resolution so there is only one side, but also the topic is unbelievably complicated. Everyone from scholars to military experts has been debating about it for thousands of years. You will need to understand not only debate concepts, but ethics, philosophy, and history just to name a few. Because of all these reasons and the gap we saw in providing real, understandable, concrete help to you, Lasting Impact! created the 2019-2020 NCFCA LD Guidebook written by two of its top competitors, Hope Rawlson and Caleb Sampson. No matter who you are or your experience level, from novice to experienced debater, we believe this guide will be of tremendous benefit to you. This is a complete resource, not your typical “sourcebook”. In addition to LD cases, we wanted to help you understand the most important parts of LD by going through it section by section. Included in the Guidebook are extensive briefs on Definitions, Resolutional Analysis, Values, Contentions, Themes, Philosophy and Case Ideas. Plus, hundreds of evidence cards on historical events relevant to the resolution. So, whether you are learning how to do LD, teaching a club, exploring resources, or trying to get a head start on the season, we believe this Guidebook can send you on your way to being a fantastic LD debater! Click HERE to purchase or read on…

Following is an excerpt from our Themes summary and brief. We hope you enjoy-Happy Debating!!

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The NCFCA 2019-2020 LD Guidebook has arrived!!

Imagine this: It’s the beginning of a new competition season. You’re excited to start learning about the new debate resolution, and you need a way to gain a killer understanding of the topic. So what do you do? You buy a sourcebook for the resolution. Sounds logical, right? Well, not completely. The book you just purchased is composed of two sample cases and a few pages of briefs. You read through all the material, and even though it’s solid, you’re left wanting to learn even more.

I’ve been debating for five years now, and over that time, I’ve come to a conclusion about debating; it can be pretty tricky! Let’s face it, answering questions that have stumped the world’s brightest minds requires a huge amount of foundational knowledge. If you need a beginner case or a basic brief, most LD sourcebooks are great, but if you want a complete, awesome, expert understanding of Lincoln Douglas Debate, they’re simply not enough.

That’s where Lasting Impact! comes in. For the past three months, we’ve been creating a completely new type of LD sourcebook: The 2019-2020 NCFCA LD Guidebook. The purpose of this Guidebook is to fill a role that other sourcebooks don’t, the role of a complete resource. We’ve delved into legal journals, philosophy texts, and ancient writings to round up as much information as possible to send you on your way to being an expert LD debater!

Included in the LD Guidebook are extensive lists of –

  • Definitions
  • Values
  • Resolutional Analysis
  • Contentions
  • Case Ideas
  • Strategies
  • Philosophies

Most important of all, the Guidebook includes HUNDREDS of evidence cards (yes, hundreds) on historical events relevant to the current resolution. So you’ll know all about preventive wars fought in ancient Greece, modern Iraq, and everything in between.

The NCFCA LD Guidebook is written by two of NCFCA’s top competitors- Hope Rawlson and Caleb Sampson. Hope Rawlson is the reigning 2019 National NCFCA LD, Moot, and Extemp Champion. Caleb Sampson is a two-time LD National Quarterfinalist, as well as the 2019 NCFCA Sweepstakes Champion and the 2018 Illustrated Oratory National Champion. “We’re so excited and blessed to be a part of this project, and hope you’ll take advantage of this awesome resource. We truly believe that with the foundation of the Lasting Impact! NCFCA LD Guidebook, competitors will hit the ground running as they get ready to compete in 2020!”

Now is the time to get this awesome resource! CLICK here to purchase yours today.

This article was written by Caleb Sampson.

Incorporating Humor in Speech and Debate

What is humor?

Humor happens in that luminous moment when two things don’t seem to be related at all, but then they come together in a way so unexpected that we laugh…or at least feel the delight of it.  It’s an insight that bubbles out: we feel joy when we see the connection or “get it.” That joy often comes out as laughter – delight escaping after the mental activity of making the connection.  

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Wednesday Workshops THIS Week – Humor, TP, and LD

​This week we have a full line up waiting for you! Why workshops? I am always telling students in order to walk down a path the more you explore and understand what you are getting into the better! This is the same with Speech and Debate! You have the opportunity to get your feet wet before jumping in!! Each of the workshops provides a skilled coach prepared to equip you with the tools for your tool box. As always, workshops are only $5 for members. We use an online tool called Zoom to connect our students from across the country. Some workshops will turn into Recorded Workshops, but unless you purchase the workshop, there is no guarantee! Sign up NOW

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