Summer Drills

Speaking Drills

Find a Wikipedia page or other document with
complex words to practice

  1. Read the paragraph slowly, with extra emphasis on enunciation
  2. Read the paragraph while inserting a filler word between every two words, like “watermelon” or “nuclear”. For instance, “I nuclear want nuclear to nuclear eat nuclear pie nuclear”
  3. Read the paragraph backwards
  4. Read the paragraph with a pencil between your teeth
  5. Breathe in and read as much as you can on one breath
  6. Read the paragraph as fast as you can

Debate Drills

  1. Practice writing cases on past topics (complete with framework, contentions, etc)
  2. Speed rebuttals; practice refuting an entire case in <1 minute. You won’t be able to cover everything, just choose what’s most important
  3. Find one of your past rebuttal speeches from a round. Practice giving it in shorter and shorter times (3:30 to 3:20 to 3:10 … etc)
  4. Practice crystallization on one of your past cases
  5. General overview; refute a case without going into detail to the cases contentions, just do a big picture rebuttal
  6. Watch past NSDA/TOC rounds; practice flowing on them

Speaking Drills

Change emotions every couple minutes or every card. I’ll admit, you can only sound so happy when you’re talking about the extinction of the human race. But being able to do this will help you adapt to mommy judges who expect a calmer toned debate, or help you calm down if you’re feeling really fired up during cross-ex, or if your opponents are getting really fired up and you want to make them look like they’re freaking out for no good reason. In turn, practicing an angry (but controlled) or urgent tone may ramp up your ethos and help your speed.

Over-enunciate. Try to pronounce every single sound in each word. The goal here isn’t to be as fast but rather stretch out your mouth and familiarize yourself with each sound. This helps with clarity. Think of this drill as a stretch before intense exercising. 

Read with a pen in your mouth. To do this, you take a pen and place it in the back of your mouth between your teeth. This may trade off with speed. The goal here is to really get your tongue to work and over-articulate. This greatly improves the clarity of your speaking.

Predetermined Timings. Speeches are divided into five sections: intro, three points, and conclusion. Speakers are given arbitrary times for each section. They must keep speaking in a section until time expires, at which point they move on even if they’re mid-sentence. Improves time management.

Examples, in minutes:

  • 1 – 1 – 1 – 1 – 1
  • 2 -0.5 -0.5 -0.5 – 1.5
  • 0.5- 2 – 1 -0.5 – 1 
  • 0.5-0.5 – 1 -1.5- 1.5
  • 0.5- 1 – 2 – 1 – 0.5

Devil’s Advocate. Pick a topic, speakers are not allowed to say things they personally agree with. Develops passion control and intellectual honesty.

3K. Speaker gives three impromptu speeches back-to-back: prep, speak, prep, speak, prep, speak. No breaks. Examples/points cannot be repeated. Develops prep efficiency and endurance and makes canning much harder. 

One Word Story. With your partner, say one phrase each and write a cohesive story. This will help you develop a narrative and understand each other’s thought process. 


In Round Organization

Impact Reversing – start with an impact and work backwards

  1. Claim: What’s going to happen.
  2. Warrant: Why it’s going to happen.
  3. Impact: Why does it matter.
  4. Argument



  • Framework
    • Give definitions
    • Limit the ground
    • Weighing mechanism
  • Standard
  • Contentions
    • Problem Solution
    • C,W,I 
    • Subpoints



  • Organize
    • Start with my opponent’s first contention. They argue…….
    • However we have —- responses.
    • First 
      • They are wrong that…
      • This isn’t really an issue because…
      • Evidence or analysis
      • So our opponent’s first contention no longer supports their side.
  • Be responsive
  • Don’t be top heavy
    • Don’t spend too much time on one contention
    • When making your case, make your best contention LAST. 
  • Warranted
    • Why are they wrong?
    • Give a good explanation 
      • Ex. Prefer my evidence due to recency.
  • Links and Turning
    • Turn the argument
    • Impact Turn
    • Link Turn



  • If you can’t think of anything else, write a “time stock” contention to take up your opponent’s rebuttal time, this should always be first.
  • TYPE ONE: Contention 1:
    • Explain your claim
    • This is for —- reasons
    • First (explanation)
      • According…… Name + Source + Date
        • Bold + underline 
    • Second (explanation)
      • Card
    • Summary + List # of impacts
    • First (explanation)… etc
    • Thus we affirm… 
  • With sub points, within each sub point you can put as many warrants and impacts as you want.
  • TYPE 2: Contention 2:
    • There are —- # of problems that will happen if we do/don’t… 
    • First, According to…. Card (EXPLAIN THE PROBLEM)
    • Second, card, explain
    • Resolution will solve…
    • Explain
    • Cards




  • Extend arguments that you want to impact off of – things you’re winning. Things you want in the judge RFD and on the ballot. 
  • Critical for summary & final focus
  • Time efficiency and word economy are key


7 Steps to extending an argument in your case

  1. Signpost
  • Give the location of the argument by contention and by which warrant you’re starting on
  • “My 1st contention 1st warrant”
  • When signposting give the NUMBER corresponding to the argument, not the title. This gives the judge two ways to find your argument – the number (“my first contention”) when you signpost, and the title (“about the environment”) when you name/summarize it.
  1. Summarize/name the argument
  • If the argument is pretty straightforward, just give a 3-7 word summary of it. Something like “about south korea nuclearizing” or “about china’s retaliation”
  • If the argument is more complicated give a one sentence description. It helps if you write down one sentence descriptions of all your contentions in your block file as part of your prep so you have the ultimate, most word economic description. 
  1. Summarize their responses
  • Literally use the words “their main response is” or “my opponent’s key response to this is” so that the judge knows you’re skipping from your contention offense to what their argument against it is
  • Be concise! Your opponents already gave the full response so just give a concise summary of what the argument is
  • Group arguments! If they make two responses that are both why SK won’t nuclearize, then say “their main responses engage the idea that SK won’t nuclearize”
  1. Respond
  • Use a transition word like “however” or “but” to make it clear you’re transitioning to an opposing idea
  • Be concise with your response and relate it back to a card in your case if possible
  • Don’t just repeat a card in your case – actually respond to the argument
  1. Extend warrant
  • Be very straightforward about it. “That means you can still extend our warrant of ___”
  1. Extend impact
  • Also be straightforward. “That gives us access to our [first/second/third] impact of ____”
  1. Weigh impact
  • Name a specific weighing mechanism. Some arguments lend themselves to specific weighing mechanisms more easily. For example, if you’re arguing sanctions on South Korea, you probably wouldn’t use scope as your weighing mechanism. 
  • Do a comparative weighing. If you are going to use timeframe for example, you can’t just say that your impact is really long lasting etc – you must do the comparison and say that in contrast, your opponents impact is very short term. This is just good to do in general because it doesn’t force the judge to do the comparison for you. Also, it’s problematic if you’re saying you win on timeframe and your opponent says they win on magnitude, but no one does a comparison. Then the judge must choose whether timeframe or magnitude matters more, and you don’t want to leave them to that decision on their own. Do the comparative weighing and avoid it. 😀 


Debates/News Sources

Notice how you don’t need to use complicated jargon or speak extremely fast to do well!!

Robert Chen of course!!

A great way to keep up with current events is to sign up for free weekly newsletter from News Sources such as the New York Times, Washington Post, Atlantic, Brookings Institute, and more.


First Cross

  • Establish a tone
  • Poke holes (grilling opp., stumping opp)
  • When “grilling” basically just ask mundane questions about something you know a lot about and make the judge see that you’re more reliable.
    • Find weak points in arguments
    • Arguments that don’t make sense
    • Non-topical
    • Logical Fallacies 
    • Evidence misuse 
    • Incentive arguments
  • Get Key concession
  • Clarify what you don’t understand
  • First speaking team
    • If you’re speaking first in Summary then to get your opponent’s responses on your own case so you can bring it up in Summary.
    • Connect their case to yours and ask a question.
  • Framework
  • Evidence

1. Simple yes or no question (doesn’t seem to answer their argument)

2. Turns their answer into something very close to proving their argument wrong.

3. “So,” relates last answer to something on the flow. (reference the flow)

Second Cross

  • Take prep time BEFORE second crossfire to prep your summary.
  • Basically just talk about your first contentions responses in the second cross and if your opponent says “that’s not a question” that’s a good thing. Later on you can say, we already answered this in crossfire.
  • Turns
  • Take outs to contentions to extend.

Grand Cross

  • Losing team: last stand
  • First speaking: take out frontlines made in second summary
  • Ahead on everything: 
    • Grill them
    • Methodology
    • Make the crossfire about nothing important (stall)
  • Ask the weaker opponent’s member questions by name.

Closing The Round

Before the Tournament

You and your partner should have a general strategy


  • Your strongest impact
  • The best link to that impact
  • The best reason why your link is true (warrant)
  • Consider creating one or two strong impacts with multiple links

Second Speaker


  • Weighing: telling the judge what argument is most important

Second Crossfire

  • As things are usually clarified in first cross, second cross should start questioning about what arguments are more important

Prep Time

  • Case is pre written
  • Rebuttal is “impromptu” in name only

You should take the MOST prep time before summary!

Summary and Final Focus should look very similar! This is called parallelism.


  • Do not talk about every single contention in the round, there isn’t enough time in 2 minutes to discuss 8 minutes of cases.
  • Reasons to vote for you should not be taglines

Argument Selection

This is another reason why flowing is important, you should be able to see what arguments you pick.


  • Small or heavily outweighed arguments
  • Lots of defense


  • Turns
  • Offense
    • With warrants and impacts


  • Frontlining
  • Extend weighing analysis
  • Sign Post

Final Focus

  • Follow the same order as your partner in summary
  • Sign post
  • Less substance, more weighing
  • Tell the judge which arguments are most important

October 30th, 2019

Hey Debaters!

A lot of you weren’t here for the PF meeting, so here’s what happened (please note the IMPORTANT message at the end):

We went over cross fire, and drilled like we did last week. We also went more in depth for summary and final focus.


This is now a 3 min speech. The main focus is on collapsing and crystallizing your arguments. What does this mean? You should choose your strongest arguments within the round, and mainly talk about those. Otherwise, here’s a basic structure we gave:

Go over the standard you and your opponents have decided on for the debate, or argue why the judge should use your standard to weigh the round. Introduce the voter issues, or areas of clash where you and your opponent fought on. (30 sec)

Frontlining: The rebuttal to your opponent’s rebuttal. Address everything they said to you, and argue why your arguments are stronger or outweight. (~1 min)

Explain your strongest arguments. After all this is the “summary” speech. But then start weighing your impacts versus your opponents impacts. Here are some key weighing mechanisms:

Magnitude: The severity of your impact. (Ex. The US falling back to cyber operations saves x amount of money yearly)

Scope: The range of your impact. (Ex. X affects Y amount of people)

Timeframe: How long it takes for your impact to manifest. (Ex. X will happen in Y years)

Metaweighing (Probability): How likely your impact will happen. (Ex. X has a Y percent chance of occurring)

Final Focus:

This speech should relate to what your partner said in summary. If your partner brings up something in summary, and you drop it (don’t mention it) in FF, then the judge might not account for this. Similarly, if your partner does not mention something in summary, but you mention it in FF, then the judge might not account for that as well.

This speech should really be pushing against the opponent’s arguments, addressing why you outweigh after summary. Although at first it will seem like a reiteration of what your partner said in summary, a good final focus builds upon what has already been said, and drives it home for the judge. Focus on weighing, showing the judge why your arguments matter or impact more than your opponents, and wrap everything up!


Please have a case (or two) written out by next meeting. If you do not have a case, we will drop you from the upcoming tournaments (SCU, CFL LD / PF, etc.)

September 25th, 2019

Hey Debaters!

Here’s a brief breakdown of what each branch did in the last meeting:
JV LD: Went over case structure, as well as how to cut / format cards
V LD: Had practice debates
JV Parli: Went over what plans and framework is, as well as how to flow
V Parli: Had practice debates, and also went over counterplans
PF: Debriefed the upcoming topic Resolved: The benefits of the United States federal government’s use of offensive cyber operations outweigh the harms.

Upcoming Tournament: Stephen Stewart is this weekend, Saturday & Sunday, September 28th – 29th. More information can be found below:
Where: Milpitas High School (1285 Escuela Pkwy, Milpitas, CA 95035)
Map: Milpitas High School Map
Tabroom Link:
Please refer to the Stephen Stewart email for more logistics on judging / check-in / advisor contact info.

Best of luck to all going!


From now on, this is going to be the MVSD debate website, working as a subpage of the MVSD club website that can be found here.

After every meeting, a newsletter will be posted on this website. The home page will feature the most recent two newsletters. Each newsletter will contain:

  • What each branch went over during the meeting
  • Upcoming events such as tournaments
  • Tournament results
  • Anything else noteworthy

The next upcoming tournament will always show up on the right side of the page, with a countdown. As you see, the next one is currently the Stephen Stewart Invitational.

Page navigation is in the upper right hand corner. Here’s a list of each page and its content:


  • All tournaments the club will be going to for the season
  • Separated into:
    • All event tournaments
    • LD & PF only tournaments
    • Parli only tournaments
  • At the very bottom is a Google Calendar, which shows all of the events, tournaments, meetings, etc. the club will have.


  • Will contain a brief summary of how the team did at each recent tournament
  • Might contain vlogs, pictures, etc. of the team


  • All archived / past newsletters can be found here.