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.

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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 #3: Speak to Anyone with a Heartbeat 

Posted by Natalie

For those of you going to nationals in speech, I hope you are already practicing multiple times a day. You have less than two weeks left so forensics should be your top priority right now. However, if you are not practicing in front of a person, you are not effectively practicing. We perform differently depending on the context. You know this; you know that how you perform in competition is different than how you perform in your living room. The same is true for practicing. You practice differently when you do it for yourself than if you do it in front of a person and speaking in front of a person gets a lot closer to how you speak in competition. Remember, how you practice is how you perform.

I know, it is sometimes uncomfortable to give you speech to your mom and eventually you feel like you are torturing your siblings by asking them to watch the same speech everyday, but sometimes you have to do it. When I competed in college, I would have Bryan watch all six of my speeches everyday for weeks.

In our first tip, I joked about giving your speech to a random stranger. This is only a slight exaggeration. Find anyone willing to watch your speech and give it to them. If your family literally starts hiding from you whenever you walk past, move on to friends. Also, get together or Skype with other people going to nationals and give your speeches to each other. You may still get tired of hearing them, but at least it is a mutually beneficial relationship.

Bottom line: Give your speech a lot. Give it well. And give it for a person.

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.