Why We Opt for Coached Rounds Rather Than a Tournament

Speech and debate camp is totally awesome. Those who take advantage of the summer months to fit a camp into their schedule don’t ever go away dissatisfied. If you have the opportunity, take it.

Coached Round

We do things differently at camp, making first debate rounds an educational experience rather than a competitive one.

Some coaches and I started the Training Minds Camps in 2001. We’ve grown quite the program with dozens of the best coaches in the world involved. We used to be the only outfit out there, but today, there are quite a few debate camps available to students.

Most camps do a small tournament at the end of their training. It has some value, particularly apply what you learned. On its surface, that’s a good idea, but my coaches and I have decided not to do this. I believe for good reason.

Keys to Lincoln-Douglas Debate

Travis Herche and I worked on putting the long-awaited Keys to Lincoln-Douglas Debate to press, sent off today. We’ve been working on this for at least a year, he as the writer and me as the publisher. Its release is July 31 (see http://www.monumentpublishing.com/keys-to-ld). I have a special deal to share with you, but first let me say a few things about Coach Travis and his new book.


I’ve been serving the debate community since 1995, and very few coaches rise to the quality, enthusiasm and success of Travis. He left his own competitive stint in 2006 after he took top awards in speech and debate. He didn’t just dabble in forensics. He was all over it. He participated in countless speech events, but made sure he mastered both formats of debate, Team-Policy and Lincoln-Douglas. Back in the day, Travis was something else.

Youth Injured in Rollover

This is a good story that I’ll share with you someday. I nearly died, but it was a dramatic experience that made me sit up straight in life.

You Want to Be There This Summer

Debate camps are awesome. I’m telling ya, if you have a chance to go (or bring your kids), you won’t regret it. My program has been training young people for competition since 2001. However, there is a deeper purpose to the training that I don’t want you to miss.

2008 Virginia

They learn the technique at camp, but there is a greater purpose to it all.

NOTE: Limited space is available. See here to register.

The first Training Minds Speech & Debate Camp for Summer 2013 will be at Regent University in Virginia Beach, VA. We’re opening this up students studying the NCFCA team-policy and Lincoln-Douglas topics. If you’re into speech and debate competition, be sure to make it. Special keynote speaker: Andrew Pudewa.

Date: July 23, 2013
Time: 5 days
Event: Training Minds EAST (Regent University)
Topic: TP, LD, Extemp, Apologetics, Interp, Platform Competitive Speaking
Sponsor: Training Minds
Venue: Regent University
Location: Virginia Beach, VA
Public: Public
Registration: Click here to register.

This is one of several events I'm running in 2013. Be sure to check out all Training Minds events here.

My Paperless Plan

That’s it. My home office is going paperless. I bought a Fujitsu ScanSnap and have already scanned in my business cards and debate flows, and I’m on my way to a clutter free desk.

Paper Mess

I’m a publisher. Paper has been very good to me. I own an extremely nice and expensive printer. You’d think I would be a stubborn goat and resist the coming paperless trend. But not this publisher. I’m all in.

A few people have come into my life who have persuaded me that paperless is the way to go:

The Positives Outweigh the Defeats

I’m at the National Invitational Tournament of Champions in Siloam Springs, Ark. 600-or-so students and their families are winding down an entire week of competition (ends tomorrow).

600+ students waiting for the first breaks to be announced.

Students and friends waiting for the first breaks to be announced.

If you follow my blog, you know that I’m really, really into this community of speakers and debaters. You also may know that I run a preparation camp the weekend before to help prepare students for their big week of competition. And if you’re a Twitter or Facebook friend of mine, you know that our successes have been outstanding.

But as with all competition—especially the final championship of the year—there are many more losers than there are winners. Most of the teams are out of the race. Yesterday two-thirds of the speakers were dropped from the first outrounds of speech. More eliminations will occur today, and the final rounds—only the cream of the crop—will compete tomorrow.

That’s a lot of failure.
That’s a lot of disappointment.
That’s a lot of work poured into a slight chance of making it to the top.

But you know what? It is all worth it. I’m telling you, there is no place I’d rather be than right here in the heat of the most exciting community of speakers and debaters here at NITOC. Even in the face of defeat and loss, positives buoy this ship to the top…

#2 vs #238. Possible?

I’m at the National Invitational Tournament of Champions (NITOC) right now,* and I just have to share with you a story. It’s about as exciting a story as a story can get.

Speech and Debate Decal

I must preface this story with a disclaimer: I have a tremendous amount of respect and admiration for the #1 and #2 team in the nation. They are top notch and deserve to be at the top. They’re seeded at the top of NITOC (meaning they go against the bottom teams), which is a position rightly won and earned throughout the competitive year.

But top seed (#1 and #2) didn’t come to NITC.**
Bottom seed (#238) did.
Bring it on.