Posted by Bryan
Debate is my jam, so here’s another one for you debaters out there.
When Natalie and I are coming up with these posts, we kind of ask ourselves “what advice did we ignore in high school?” This is definitely one of them. It is important to stay caught up on the news, but there’s always a time tradeoff between researching and getting to know your own arguments. If you’re looking in your folders and you notice you have 47 pages against free trade with China, do you really need to research more against that aff? Probably not. In an average debate round, you’ll use a dozen or so cards at most. Most likely, you have a lot of really good cards that apply to a number of cases and you don’t even realize it. About a week before the tournament, you should stop spending a lot of time on researching and instead just read the cards that you already have. Even if you’ve read them before, read them again. You will notice new nuances, new ways to use them, and probably news strategies against cases. Also, if you know what you have in your box forwards and backwards, you can cobble together a strategy against a case you’ve never heard of before.
This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t stay up on the news. China is a topic that can change almost daily, especially with Trump in the office. But there’s a difference between skimming headlines and researching. The round is usually won by the person who knows their evidence better than the other team; make sure that is you.