Recovering from Mishandled POIs/Contradictions

By: Ben Kornfeld, Yale University 2013 Every debater, even the best, has the occasional mental lapse. Positions are taken that were not well thought out, a contradictory advocacy is provided or a reasonable argument is expressed poorly and misinterpreted. These mistakes are most common in high pressure/on-the-spot situations: POIs, in the rebuttal of a frantic […]

When Dropped Arguments Count

By: Sean Leonard, Rutgers University 2016 Whether you’re pretending it didn’t happen on your side, losing horribly to one in PMR that you missed throughout the round, or delivering an explosive LOR with one at the crux of your offense, a dropped argument will make or break many of your rounds. Yet, perhaps just as […]

The Best Way to Improve

By: Young Seol, Brown University 2014 One of the best ways to improve as a debater, particularly for novices without any prior debate experience, is to simply watch lots of debate rounds. Many high-level rounds are collected online at Passively watching rounds will only do so much, however. This article is intended to provide […]

Straight-Linked PMCs

By: Jodie Goodman, Swarthmore College 2016 Some tournaments, like American University Pro-Ams, are called straight-linked tournaments. At the beginning of each round, one or more topics will be presented to everyone for the first time. You then have 15 minutes to prepare either a PMC or an LOC. If your team is Gov’ing, there are […]

Room Dynamics

By: Pete Falk, Northeastern University 2016 On APDA, “winning the room” means getting the judge and other people watching the round to think you are winning, or support you, whether or not you are actually winning the arguments in the round. This usually only applies in elimination rounds when other debaters and teammates watch. Having […]

Weighing in Member Speeches

By: Pete Falk, Northeastern University 2016 In order to win a debate round, you need to show why what you’re saying is important, and why it is more important than what the other team is saying. This achieved through a technique called “weighing”. The process of weighing is especially important in member speeches, which is […]

Two World PMRs

By Sean Leonard, Rutgers University 2016 Compared to every type of speech you may give in your debate career, the PMR will probably take the most time to master. Opposition has given about 13 minutes of argumentation, and it’s going to be difficult to swing the momentum of the round back into Government territory. However, […]

Tips on Asking Points of Information

By: Michael Norton, Brandeis University 2016 Introduction In parliamentary debate, the Point of Information (POI) is a chance to offer a question or statement to the opposing team while they present one of their constructive speeches. Each team will typically take only 2-4 over the course of a debate, making each POI crucially valuable. As […]

The Most Important Word in Cases

By: Young Seol, Brown University  2014 “On balance, people should not run cases that end with ‘preferable to the status quo.’ Caveat: Opp cannot countercase, tight call, or win.” — Robert Colonel, 1st Team of the Year, 3rd Speaker of the Year, Yale ‘13 There is one word that every debater should know when it […]

Dealing with Short Speeches

By: Russell Leibowitz, Brandeis University 2014 Being able to get good speaks against an undertime speech is a valuable skill on APDA. It enables you to move higher in the bracket and avoid hitting stronger teams until later in the tournament and helps boost your chances of getting speaker awards and breaking high. Below are […]