Hello Competitors, Coaches, and Tournament Directors,
I hold a Master's in Communication from Wichita State University. I have been coaching speech and debate since 2002 at the high school and college levels. I am presently coaching for Trinity High School in Euless, Texas.
LD- I appreciate the connection that LD makes between current issues and the values that drive them. It is very important to me that competitors really understand their own cases well. As this is LD and not CX, make sure all of your arguments link clearly to your value. Progressive, policy-driven arguments are welcome, provided the links to the value and framework are very clear in the case presentation.
I can tell pretty quickly, especially during CX and rebuttal rounds, if you really understand what you putting forward. I much prefer fewer cards that are understood well to a large quantity of evidence that you barely understand or that is taken out of context. Some cases are won and lost in the CX potion of the round because one opponent is able to demonstrate that the other either doesn't understand their evidence or that they are using cards out of context.
I enjoy both traditional and progressive cases. Ks and CPs are welcome. Make your links obvious. I prefer impacts that are realistic over ones that exaggerate and/or over -catastrophize. Time-frame usually factors into this directly. (I. E., climate change-based extinction impacts are not going to occur in the next five years so they would not outweigh an urgent matter that has a smaller impact but in a more immediate time frame).
I am well versed in a variety of philosophies including post-structuralism. I expect your case to line up with your theoretical framework. The clash of values is what makes LD unique. Progressive cases are fine but make the links clear to your value and framework.
I prefer cases to take a little and plant it well. I will tolerate spreading if you really feel you must do so. However, you should know that but I do not prefer it. My personal opinion is that the main reason that competitors spread is out of a lack of the ability/self-discipline to consolidate their cases into the time frame given or in an attempt to simply overwhelm their opponent. My opinion is that self-disciplined, well-researched competitors should win on the value of their arguments and not on these tactics.
If I can't understand you due to your rate of speed, I will dismiss the point you are making and deduct speaker points. You will know when you have lost me because I will stop writing and stare directly at you or the camera. If you see me doing this, slow down. If you must resort to spreading, have a reason (i.e. your opponent did it first and now you must do it in order to answer everything on your flow). If you must do it, do it very well (speak clearly, use signposts, etc). I recommend sharing your case with your opponent and judge if you plan to speak at an abnormally fast rate.
I give higher speaker points to debaters who make an effort to use solid elocution skills (varied tone, enunciation, volume, eye contact, etc.) Your arguments do not matter if you can not make them in a manner that they can be heard and understood by an audience.
Framework > Evidence > Impact
Congress: The beauty of congressional debate in my mind is that it puts you into a situation that models the kinds of skills you may likely use in business meetings and negotiations in the future. Diplomacy is a big part of what I think makes congress important. I rank speeches that offer practical arguments and that show that you have thought through the topic on a logical level. Diplomacy matters a lot to me in congress and I rank students highly who show respect to the other legislators even when disagreeing with their arguments. Creative solutions are welcome suggestions to many bills but they should also be rooted in realism.
Oratory: This is probably my favorite event. I am looking for speeches that bring forward your unique voice and ideas. Your story, your ideas, and your thoughts will connect to those who have inspired you but what I am looking for most is for you to inspire me. My paradigm here is less specific because this event allows you to be yourself more than any other event. That is what I am looking for. I want to see you. I want to see your thoughts, hear about your hopes, and get a glimpse of the world as you see it and/or as you would like for it to be. You do You!!! I want to see you shine!
Extemp: Be aware of current events and know the research that you chose to quote well. I stay informed on most of these events as a coach. I am going to rate someone higher if they use a few select pieces of research well and combine them into a very thoughtful and articulate presentation. I don't need to see a ridiculous number of sources, I need to see you thinking about your topic and delivering your speech with confidence. Do not make up research. I will usually figure that out fast. I coach this.
Poetry/Prose, HI/DI, Duet/Duo, Program of Interp: My heart beats for these events. I love the impact that we can make with narrative presentations and I enjoy these rounds tremendously. I am not someone who thinks that you should be limited by your age, gender, or race in what selections you chose. I think Interp gives us the freedom to play with some of these ideas in ways that we might not be able to on film or in theatre. I love blended/woven pieces because I like to see what you put together. Your cuttings should tell a clear story with a beginning and middle and end. Your characters should be believable. If you are working with gender, age or race find a way to do create those characters with authenticity and respect. Act but do not overact. Make your characterizations and voicing seem real. Don't be afraid to use silence. Don't scream/shout unless there is a really good motivation to do so for your character. And, most of all, please pick me for these rounds :)
PF/World Schools: These events have emerged in my circuit during the time I spent out of high school coaching and in the higher education world. At the time of this writing, they are very new events for me. I am intrigued by them but I am very much still learning. I am interested in judging some of these rounds because I want to learn more about them. However, you should know that I am new so place me accordingly.