Workshop Wednesday – Making the Most of TP Debate Prep by: Eric Meinerding

Eric Meinerding saw much success in High School Speech and Debate, and now he has been a college debater for the last two tears. He has gleaned many pivotal lessons from his professional collegiate coaches. He can’t wait to share what he has learned this Wednesday night! Join us  in his live online workshop (only $5 for members) titled, “Making the Most Out of TP Prep”, for more info click HERE.

One of the crucial elements to save time while researching is to first rethink how you prepare for a debate tournament. Instead of preparing for and researching every case in depth individually, utilizing a better form of the “generic disadvantage” can be a much more efficient use of your time. Although generics have a reputation as being “weaker” arguments in the homeschool debate community, these arguments are the bread and butter of the collegiate policy debate circuit. While I debated for Liberty University’s #1 nationally ranked debate team, I learned how to successfully write briefs this way and wished I had known about this style in high school. There are an extensive list of reasons that have been developed over the past thirty years of college debate as to why exactly varsity debaters this method of debate. To get any idea as to why professional coaches use this strategy, here are two reasons.

1. Practice makes perfect
First of all, it allows negative debaters to become more comfortable defending a position and develop a much better understanding of an argument that can be used in every negative round rather than just one or two. Unless there is an extremely common affirmative case that you debate multiple times a season, you generally only get to present a specific argument once or twice, and as such, don’t get many opportunities to refine your position. The benefit of this style of disadvantage is that it can be used across multiple rounds so long as the affirmative team is topical, much of your argument should still apply. So instead of practicing a negative strategy once in club and maybe debating the case once or twice at a tournament if you get lucky, you can get more comfortable with your own favorite argument and hone the skill of persuasively presenting it in any round.

2. Save the trees!!
Secondly, researching this way allows research done at the start of the year to still be useful at national championships, even if many of the early affirmative cases have fallen out of style. So instead of having to throw out entire folders of out of date evidence, or print 30 page briefs for a case only one team is reading, you can develop arguments that are more “recyclable.” For example, the 2016-2017 CEDA-NDT debate topic was about increasing restrictions on greenhouse gases. During the competition season, President Trump withdrew from the Paris agreements which made a lot of evidence and arguments researched before then useless. However, the central ideas my team had been researching about how climate policy effects nuclear energy, or grid technology still applied. We had to find a few new pieces of evidence of course, but we didn’t have to “reinvent the wheel” and were able to continue to execute strategies we had spent weeks preparing.

This Wednesday I’ll be going into more depth about this type of arguments, how to research them, how to present them in round, and I’ll also as go over a couple of example arguments that you will be able to use throughout the year. Are you worried about your affirmative strategies as well? Don’t worry, a lot of what I’ll be talking about will be beneficial for affirmative cases as well. Hope to see you there.

Eric is studying Policy and Law at Liberty University. Eric sees competitive forensics as way to develop one’s communication and argumentation skills to use in all facets life. Eric loves looking at debate from the perspective of a game, meaning he wants to help debaters process and execute the most strategic arguments and preparation methods for all styles of debate, along with effective rhetorical skills to present those arguments in debate rounds as well as forensics categories.