The “What Now?” After We Don’t Advance at The National Championship

With NCFCA National Speech and Debate Championship right around the corner, most of us are editing our platforms, hammering down our blocking for interps, and revising our debate cases. The preparation is vital, and I can testify to the importance of putting in the work. However, I think it’s necessary to keep a few things in mind while approaching the end of the season…

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Pace your Race to the Finish

If you've taken a nice hard look at the schedule for the NCFCA National Championship this year, you know that the pace of the tournament is a LOT slower than usual for competitors.  More time is built in between rounds.  Two days are short days of competition.  Including Moot Court, the tournament will last for six days.  In my tenure, this is an uprecedented pace, and it is one you should definitely factor into your own personal approach for stamina and optimum performance.

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The Harms of the Compliance Mentality (JO)

I've been involved with my home school speech league for ten years.  Before that, I taught public school where I coached in a different league.  Before THAT, I competed myself in yet another league.  All of those leagues have operated  with rules.  Honestly, no one really loves rules.  We understand the importance of them in maintaining a level playing field, but we don't really love them.  Our human nature longs to kick against them and give ourselves more room.  And when we do, we are in error.  Becoming hyper sensitive to rules and every potential violation of those rules is the equal but opposite error.  It creates a litigious environment where we are on the look-out for rules violators we can haul off to the compliance team to be punished.   There are some dangerous harms in leaning to that side of the balance...

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You’re Heading to Nationals… Now What?


It sounds simple, but so often than not, the goal is met- you made it to Nationals!! Some student’s breathe a sigh of relief and they think, now is the time for a well deserved break! Stop! That is not the attitude to have! In fact, now is when you need to rev up the engines and really start working! Here are Heather’s top tips to help you prepare for National Competition in Speech (and even Debate)…

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Watching Speeches: A Challenge to You by: Gloria Heiss

I know. It’s hard sometimes. You just want to sit and chill with your friends, or you think it will make you nervous, maybe you have three speeches this category and just don’t have the time. I get it. I have faced the same struggles when it’s suggested that I go watch speeches while at a tournament. Watching speeches on Youtube in my free time is a whole other thing compared to being at the tournament and trying to find the time (and courage) to go sit through an entire 10 minute speech. I understand. However, did you know some leagues REQUIRE you to watch the room you compete in?  Not a bad idea… Here are some reasons why…

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Judges and Cell Phones

I was recently at a speech and debate tournament- almost 300 competitors, three days of competition, students from across the country gathered together to give their best. During each day of the competition I heard of situations involving  judges with cell phones. How could this be? During judge training judges are clearly asked to silence cell phones, not to text, or to take phone calls. Perhaps it is early in the competition season, and judges need to get back in the groove?! However, I thought I would give a friendly reminder that judges…

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Speech and Debate Tournament Series – A Novice Perspective (part 4)


I asked a couple “novice” friends, in other words, a beginning speech students, to recollect on their first year. This was their very first competitive experience with Speech and Debate (not counting junior tournaments). This was their experience and perspective on the tournaments they participated in their first year…

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Speech and Debate Tournament Series- Fundraising (part 2)

In our last article we discussed the costs of a typical Speech and Debate Tournament. I know quite a few families that budget their season and each year they do fundraising to pay or help pay for their costs. Below is an article written by one of our competitor interns that fund raises for their tournament expenses- travel, registration, clothing, etc.

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Speech and Debate Tournament Series- Costs (part 1)

“Tournaments are exciting, yet challenging and expensive in terms of time, money, and energy. But, after you see the growth, maturity, and enjoyment of your son/daughter, you will find that the costs are worth it. I did not understand what a tournament entailed until I attended my first one: in the dead of winter with -30 degree wind chills, with my whole family (six children aged 4 – 15) packed in the car driving for 5 hours to Bloomington, IN.”

This is the account of Nancy Chu, Speech and Debate mom in her first year of learning the ropes and navigating the costs of a Speech and Debate Tournament. Heather Neumann also will be chiming in with her guidance on how to cut costs of Speech and Debate Tournaments…

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