The Benefits of One on One Coaching

There are many benefits to getting the guidance of a speech and/or debate coach. In fact, our whole web site has article after article, of our coaches trying to assist you in your journey of speech and debate. If you have never had a one on one coaching session, here are some reasons why…

Accountability– If your parent isn’t guiding you, nor do you feel accountable to your speech and debate club- your speech coach can make sure you have that plan of attack, how and when things need to be done by.

Micro-Expressions– There are the finite details that just can’t be done when you run through a speech in full time. By working with a coach in “stop/start mode” or having them help you pick a part your speech you can really take it to  another level. In interpretive speeches you can work on facial expressions, characterizations, or blocking.

Delivery– The way things are said, facial expressions, and hand gestures can all be covered in detail in just one coavhing session.

Idea Generator– It’s always nice to have someone who will help you bring forth ideas to help make your creation into a masterpiece. Each coach has a variety of skills, as well as ideas they can and will bring to the table.

Another Perspective– Whether or not you are winning tournaments, having a coach look at your speech can be a a breath of fresh air or a cog of inspiration.

These are just a few of the benefits having a coaching session can provide. In addition to the various benefits of one on one coaching, there are also times within the season that can be extremely beneficial to some personal coaching. Here is what Heather Neumann had to say about coaching at various points in a competitor’s season…

Beginning– This is probably one of my favorite times, as a coach. I love trying to figure out what piece suits the competitor best. I like looking through scripts, offering suggestions. I also love the thought process, talking through ideas, whether it’s a platform or interpretive speech. So much energy is put into the beginning stages of a speech, I love being part of helping the competitor think of all the angles. And can you believe I have already had people ask me about next season?!

Middle– Sometimes it can be a little tricky coming in mid-season. I usually meet clients mid-season that are trying to figure things out. Perhaps they are breaking, but not making it to finals. Maybe they are still struggling with their cut, their piece, or the topic. This is when we flush out the direction of where they want to go. Almost no speech is written the first time and never revised, so I help them shape or mold their piece with some refining.

End– The student probably knows their piece inside and out, but may need a little help on the fine details. Are they missing anything? Is there something they can be doing to make it better. This is when it’s nice to have a second set of eyes on the piece to make sure it is the best it can be!

Whether you are at the beinnging, middle, or end of your journey, entrusting your speech with a coach can give you insurmountable joy and enrichment. I not only come along side students, but parents, coaches, and clubs. Sometimes I meet with a student once, and other times I coach them all season. My hope is to teach them what to look for, what to think about, and then they can give back what they have learned. Not convinced yet if you see the benefits to one on one coaching… here are what some others had to say…

From an Alumni: “Being coached by other people is something that I find necessary for success. I actually can’t think of a single speech where I didn’t receive any one-on-one critiques before giving it in competition. Here’s the way I look at it: I only have so much creative capability, but my speech can be aided by additional creative suggestions from other people. This could be in the form of restructuring an entire presentation or simply saying a word differently. One on one coaching allows your speech to become fine-tuned and although it’s not always easy to be evaluated and criticized, it results in a superior presentation that you’ll have more joy sharing.”

From a competitor’s point of view: “Over the years I have spent many hours trying to improve my speeches, sometimes to no avail. But one method always provides positive results when I do it, giving my speech in front of others. Others’ constructive criticism has made my speeches Nationals worthy and without it I wouldn’t have been able to get as far as I had.”

What Coach Kristi says:  One on one coaching is more focused than the suggestions you get in a club setting or on a ballot.  And there are reasons for that….

First of all, you’ve likely done some preparation.  At the very least, you’ve set aside your time to give to the individual you’ll be meeting with, and you’ve probably thought about what you want to get from them.  This alone is often more than you bring as a competitor to your speech club meeting.  When I coach kids, I always begin by asking, “What comments have you been getting on your ballots?” and “What do you want to accomplish here?”  If a student doesn’t know the answer to those questions, then we probably won’t get much done in the session.  Thankfully, most kids know.  I hear things like, “I need ideas for blocking.”  or “I keep hearing that my characters aren’t distinct enough.”  Even kids who don’t know exactly WHAT is holding them back can articulate that they keep getting 4th or 5th and they aren’t sure how to get up a notch or two.  What they are really saying is, “What would YOU need to see to rank me higher?”  Usually, I can answer that question after listening.

The second reason that one on one coaching is so effective is that the coach isn’t comparing you to other speeches.  The coach is comparing your speech to the ideal of your speech.  Trust me, there is nearly always room there to get closer to that ideal.  The most frustrating thing for competitors is that every coach will have a slightly different ideal.   Some want more energized blocking, while others focus on diction.  Every single one of these ideals helps you up your game, however!  In fact, finding out what several different coaches emphasize or prefer helps you get a much bigger picture of what your speech could be.  Your judge pool is large and varied.  You want to reach as many of them as possible.

One on one coaching gives the coach the chance to actually voice opinions he or she might not blurt out at club.  It also gives them time to really think through their responses more thoroughly than they ever can during a tournament round.  The whole process is more deliberate than other methods of coaching, so you get more out of it.

Of course this article wouldn’t complete with out mentioning that Lasting Impact! could meet your all your coaching needs- from multiple styles of debate, as well as interpretive, platform, and limited prep type speeches.  Simply check out our amazing coaches and schedule an appointment with any one of them! Here are also some of the organizations we have had the opportunity to coach for…

  • NCFCA – National Christian Forensic and Communication Association
  • Stoa
  • NSDA – National Speech and Debate Association
  • CFA – Catholic Forensic Leagues
  • NHD – National History Day
  • TedX

Here is what some of our clients wanted to share:

-The coaches of LastingImpact! have some of the best alum I have seen compete in the past twelve years. They are as dedicated to your success as you are. Their advice is worth your investment.

-Lasting Impact! enlists some of the best coaches, I highly recommend you take the time to present for them.

-Without the help of my Lasting Impact! coach I would not have broke.

-My coach was extremely helpful! She had the perfect combination of motivation, encouragement, and inspiration.

Is This On? Get it on Camera

So, you’re running out of ideas for improving your piece. You’re wondering if there is honestly anything left to do to elevate your it to Nationals quality. But, maybe there is one more way to think of ideas for your speech…..watch a recording of it! I discussed with you a little bit ago the power of practicing in front of a mirror but have you ever reviewed your speech from the audience's perspective?

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Experiencing The Art of Communication By: Abbey Lovett

Abbey Lovett is one of our Lasting Impact! Coaches. She will be hosting an Online Workshop Feb. 10 at 1:00 CT on Storytelling. It will be part of our Online Workshop Series- Storytelling, Illustrated Oratory/ Expository, After Dinner Speaking, and Creating your Characters. More information coming soon to sign up for the online workshops!! For now, enjoy Abbey’s article on The Art of Communication… Be sure to check out her video too!

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Practicing your Speeches… Ideas for Purposeful Practice

My husband is a high school boys soccer coach. He has been coaching for over 20 years. Though out his years coaching, he teaches his players about the importance of how they practice. They must approach a practice as if it is just as important as a game. The same is true for Speech and Debate...

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Sure-tested Ways to Memorizing Speeches

Recently, at Club, I gave the assignment to my returning kids to have them come up with their favorite way to memorize speeches. Everyone who has participated in speech and debate for more than a year or so, has their own particular way they prefer to memorize. I was amazed by the variety of responses! Some kids are able to memorize quite quickly. Others may struggle.

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Tips on Evaluating Speeches During Club Time

A majority of Speech and Debate Clubs use part of their club time to evaluate or give feedback to their speech students. New students and parents often don't feel qualified to give feedback. However club time is the perfect time to give speeches and have them evaluated. This is an excellent teaching opportunity for students - on what speeches should look like, and parents, how to be better judges.

Below is a list/form, club leader, Amy Willson, of Fox Valley Talk in Appleton, WI created to help the process of giving and receiving feedback. The club created a laminated copy/sheet for the room leader to have. The goals for the feedback session may vary from club to club- some include: helping younger students or new parents to give an assessment of speeches, for the speaker to receive quality feedback, keeping the room moving to get through the allotted speeches in any given day.

We are in the process of creating this information in our new resources page for club leaders, as well as families, to use. Be sure to check out the Lasting Impact! Library Coming Soon! We will offer a variety documents for club leaders, students, coaches, etc. FREE for members of Lasting Impact! If you are a club leader that would like to share your documents with other members- let us know! We would love to include your resources in The Lasting Impact! Library. We hope to have the library up and running by the end of the year!

Tips For Evaluating Speech Students During Club Time...

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Why I Don’t Have My Speech Written… Yet

This is the part of the year where everyone is freaking out because they don’t have their speeches written. Practice speech and debate tournaments are coming up or just happened, and everyone is feeling the pressure to get their speeches written and finished. It was for this reason that I chose to not go to my practice tournament this year. Not because I procrastinated on my speeches and don’t have them written. No, this was a conscious decision that I made…

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Tips on Verbal and Written Communication

The wonderful people at www.theaccentcoach.com happened to stumble upon Lasting Impact! They wanted to offer our readers some tips on verbal and written communication for Speech and Debate students. Below is an article specifically designed for our readers, with some added touches by Heather.

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Guest Blog- Tips for Writing your Speech By: Grace Rankin

I came across Grace’s article on Facebook.  I knew I wanted to share her valuable insight with all of my readers, especially students who procrastinate writing their speeches. The time to write is NOW! Below is her article, titled 5 Tips for Academic Paper Success on her site- rightingyourownwriting.org

Although her specific points are addressing academic papers, I believe the concept can be applied to speeches, especially if you are at “crunch-time”. I know some of you are die hard IEW fans (I am too), but as writers we sometimes get stuck. I feel it is always helpful to look at a new approach! This article is posted with permission by her- thanks Grace!

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Impromptu – Practicing (part 3) By: Kaitlyn Butts

“Prepare to be Unprepared:” Practicing Impromptu Every Day

In the world of speech and debate- Interpretative speeches require hours of cutting, blocking, and intensive rehearsal. Platform speeches require brainstorming, editing, memorizing, and regular repetition to keep them stored solidly in your mind. Apologetics requires studying theology and searching for Scriptures. Extemporaneous, at least theoretically, requires surveying the weekly news highlights and becoming familiar with the political mindset of various sources. Impromptu offers the luxurious opportunity to compete in a speech event without doing a lick of work. Wrong. Participating in impromptu offers such an opportunity. The entire point of speech and debate, however, is not mere participation, but visible growth both in character and capability. Mastering impromptu and honing your ability to think on your feet requires rigorous practice. While you can never prepare for a specific impromptu round, you should be perpetually preparing to be unprepared. Practice impromptu every single day.

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