Omaha Summer Camp 2017!

Posted by Natalie 
We are excited to announce that Olympus Forensics will be hold our first summer camp this August 10-12! Big thanks to the Omaha Knights club for hosting us. We will have targeted sessions for both Team Policy and Lincoln Douglas debate for new and experienced debaters.
In TP you can expect to learn things like:

  • How to run topicality effectively in front of any judge
  • Alternative formats for an affirmative case
  • Topic basics and potential cases
  • Argumentation and presentation strategies

In LD you can expect to learn things like:

  • Strategies for value and criterion
  • How to evaluate evidence effectively
  • The foundational philosophies of the resolution
  • Presentation and refutation strategies

For more information please see our camp page. We would love to see you there!

Tips for Nationals #10: Do Warm Ups

Posted by Natalie

One of the strangest things for me when I transitioned to college was getting used to warm ups. Every morning, before the tournament started, we would get to the tournament early, find an empty room, gather around and do warm ups to wake up our mouths   and bodies. This soon became one of my favorite things to do. When you get up early, your body isn’t ready to go right away and you need to take some time to let your it wake up.

In college, we would use rooms at the tournament. However, I don’t know if the buildings would be open early enough or if the tournament officials would want you wandering around before the tournament starts. So, I would recommend warming up in your hotel room (just keep the volume down to not bother your neighbors).

First, you will want to wake up 30 minutes to 1 hour earlier than you normally would to give your self time to warm up. Then, get ready for the day. Eat breakfast, get dressed, get all your stuff together. When you are all ready, do you warm ups. Start with some tongue twisters, do a couple of activities that will get your body moving, then practice your speech/speeches once (if you are only in debate, read through your affirmative or read through some evidence to get your mouth warmed up). Give yourself plenty of time so that you don’t feel rushed. On the car ride over, don’t sleep no matter how tempted you are. Instead, listed to your favorite pump up music. Stay energized and awake so you are ready to go.

Most of you won’t have events every round and won’t be in both speech and debate. In your off rounds, try to do things that will keep you awake. Don’t just sit in the hang out room and watch videos on your phone. When the time comes for you to perform again, spend the 15-30 minutes before getting warmed up again. The trick is to keep your adrenaline going so the early mornings don’t catch up to you until after the tournament is over and you are safely driving back home.

Tip for Nationals #7: Read everything!


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.

Tips for Nationals #5: Dress to Impress

Posted by Natalie 

By this point, you already know that you need to dress up for tournaments. After all, it is literally a rule you are required to follow. But sometimes just throwing on a thrift store suit and calling it good isn’t enough. 

In our textbook, 101: An Introduction to Team Policy Debate, we talk about rhetorical strategies, including developing ethos through dress:

“An audience will be more likely to be persuaded by you if they think you are credible…We all wish that looks didn’t matter, but unfortunately people judge a person after only a few seconds of seeing them and how you dress can be their first impression of you.”

So first and foremost, make sure your suits fit. A suit that is too big or too tight can make you look younger and inexperienced. Here is guide for you guys out there. Even an inexpensive thrift store suit can look great if it fits well. Here is a guide for girls that is also pretty good. If your suit doesn’t fit properly, getting it tailored is a option and you can most likely find one that is not terribly expensive.

Even if you can’t tailor your suit, there are other steps you can take to look professional. Be aware of color. Pick shirts and ties that are complimentary and not bright or clashing. Wear jewelry that adds to a look but doesn’t stand out too much. Wear shoes that compliment your suit. Also, make sure your clothes aren’t wrinkled. If you don’t have an iron, steam your clothes in the shower for a bit.

Make sure your hair looks presentable. Get a haircut if you need one and do your hair in the morning  (whatever that process means to you).

Establishing credibility is one of the most important steps you can take and how you dress can do that before you even open your mouth. Looking your best isn’t shallow, it is a rhetorical strategy that makes others listen to you and makes you more confident. 

Tips for Nationals #4: Embrace Your Inner Sleeping Beauty

Posted by Natalie 

Your body is a machine and it works best when running at full capacity. If you are not getting enough rest,  your body will not function at peak performance. So even though it might be tempting to stay up late researching or practicing, you need your sleep.

The average teenager need 8-10 hours of sleep a night. Your bodies are still developing and so they need more time to recuperate and absorb everything you did that day. You shouldn’t try and get more than the recommended amount of sleep, but your memory will be stronger and your brain will be sharper if you get enough sleep. Once you get to the tournament, the ideal amount of sleep probably won’t be possible, but adrenaline can’t do its job if you already have a sleep deficit coming into nationals.

Tips for Nationals #2: Cast a Broad Net

Posted by Bryan

This one is for the debaters in the crowd. So you made it to nationals, and now you’re facing competition from all over the country. If you’re lucky, you might have a caselist of what some of the people from other regions are running, but it’s probably incomplete or they might run a new case (but not if they follow Tip #1!). You sit down on your computer, fire up Google, grab a cup of coffee, and prepare for a long night of researching against each specific case. Before you know it, it’s 2am, your eyelids are drooping, you have only found evidence for five cases, and you’re in serious danger of waking up the next morning with the imprint of a keyboard on your face. There must be a better way!

Well, there is. Specific evidence is fantastic, and you should get it when at all possible, but you have two weeks left to prepare and a huge topic. No matter how much you research, you’ll probably face multiple cases at nationals you’ve never even thought of. That’s where generic arguments come in. Try to find arguments that will apply to a large number of cases. For example, if the affirmative has a “hard line” policy (i.e. taking action against China), you could have some cards that say hard line policies will backfire and lead to all kinds of bad things. You could do the same for soft line. Boom! Between those two arguments, you have a solid argument against any case they can run. Find a few arguments like that, and no matter what they throw at you, you’ll have something to say. Of course, case-specific evidence is best, but that’s not always possible. Always have some generic arguments ready, just in case.

As we explain in our upcoming book 101: An Introduction to Team Policy Debate:

“Generic arguments, especially generic disadvantages, are key to your success as a negative. There is no way you will be able to think of and prepare for every possible affirmative case out there. This is especially true in the NCFCA because resolutions tend to be incredibly broad. Generic arguments help level the playing field; they give you something to run even if you’ve never heard of their case before. Generics also give you a kind of ‘home turf.’ If you run a certain position a lot, you will learn it so thoroughly that you can easily predict and refute arguments against it, giving you an area of the round where you’re playing offense, not defense.”

In addition to the examples I gave earlier, here are a couple other generic arguments I ran when I debated China in college:

Increasing trade with China will strengthen the CCCP (Communist Party) and lead to human rights abuses.

Decreasing trade with China weakens the CCP and threatens collapse of the Chinese government (Note on this: In reality, if there was any risk of collapse, China would go to war with India, Japan, and/or Taiwan. That should be fairly easy to find cards for, since basically, every expert agrees on this.)

Increasing relations with China would cause Taiwan or Japan to build or buy a nuke and destabilize the region.

Decreasing relations with China would cause a trade war.

Tips for Nationals #1: Don’t Shake Things Up

Posted by Natalie

As time ticks ever closer to nationals, the pressure can build. You have your eyes focused on the prize and can taste victory in your mouth. Or maybe that metallic taste is just the nerves. Either way, you would do anything to be standing on that podium at the end of the week. This kind of pressure can lead you to do crazy things, like staying up till 4 am researching or running your speech for a random stranger that just knocked on your door to sell magazines. However, no matter the temptation, don’t follow that siren’s call and shake things up.

For speech: lock down any changes. The only time you should change your script is if you are running over time. This allows you to solidify your memory, refine your delivery, and hone your blocking.

For debate: pick a case and stick with it. You’re better off running a solid case that you know in and out, so you can anticipate the arguments, instead of picking a new case in the hopes of catching people off guard. If you haven’t run a case before, you won’t know what they will bring up and you could be the one left surprised.

Trust what got you there in the first place and polish everything.

A New Chapter

Posted by Natalie 

When I graduated high school over six years ago, I thought my journey with NCFCA speech and debate was over. I helped out at my old club when I could, but as the weight of a college schedule and the competitiveness of college forensics began to absorb my schedule, that involvement became less and less frequent. Then, several years ago, our desire to get involved again pushed my husband (Bryan) and I to publish a soucebook and that was how Olympus was born. The sourcebook was short lived as our schedules were once again overtaken, this time by graduate school stress. However, now that both of us have graduated, we are ready and excited to hop into the world of NCFCA speech and debate and this time, we have help as my brother Christopher is bringing his years of debate experience to the team.

The three of us are dedicated to providing the best possible resources to new and experienced NCFCA forensicators at an affordable price. As we slowly grow our company, we plan on expanding the resources we publish, but right now we are starting where we all began our careers: in debate. We hope that you will check out our upcoming publications and contact us if you want to be notified when they go on sale.

However, we also understand that right now is an exciting time. The regular season is over and right now you are either looking forward in anticipation to next year, or in crazy preparation for nationals. With that in mind, starting tomorrow, we will be sharing two weeks of tips leading up to nationals. Some will come from our upcoming Team Policy textbook, others will be from our decades of experience. Also, if you need any last minute coaching let us know. Our hope is that we can offer a little assistance as you get ready for the next chapter.