Early Training = Later Success

I’m feeling awesome. The results of the last two tournaments of the year showed Training Minds Alumni securing the topmost awards. It gives way to an idea that I want you and your family to consider.

My kids won 1st place duo interpretation, a presentation of The Princess Bride, in San Diego over the weekend.

My kids won 1st place duo interpretation, a presentation of The Princess Bride, in San Diego over the weekend.

I’m proud to say that I’m an “evangelist” when it comes to speech and debate. Of course I am: I wrote the book and I’m the president of Training Minds, the organization that cleaned house last weekendI believe speech and debate is one of the best kept secrets out there. But you know what else? The camp I run is the best kept secret in the best kept secret! Allow me to explain.

Three Secrets That Should Not be Secrets

Hang around me long enough and you’ll catch the enthusiasm I have for speech and debate. Those of you who are involved are wrapping up your year, either moving onto nationals or casting your vision for the next year. But there is something that has been bothering me lately: three secrets to this community of speech and debate.

A best-kept secret: the speech and debate community.

A best-kept secret: the speech and debate community.

One of the most common things I hear this time of the year from parents I meet at competitions: I had no idea this existed. They either got involved late in their children’s education or they are just now learning about the organization I run to help train them in speech and debate. I often reply, “Speech and debate is one of the best kept secrets available to a young person’s education.”

But it shouldn’t be a secret! There is no reason to keep this from anyone. I have three thoughts that should encourage you to lift the aura of secrecy and bring people (perhaps you!) into this awesome community.

How to Get Coaching Support

These are my youngest competitors, Tabitha and Noah. It is their first year debating together, and they are a hair shy from making it to their national tournament. They’re last stab at qualifying is this weekend.

Tabitha and Noah

It’s actually rare when a young team (they started the year off as 12- and 13-year-olds) end up so close to nationals. Most kids have a year or two of competition in their belts. This leads to a question I have for you and your kids:

What does it take to bring your kids to nationals?

Finishing is the critical part of any project. If we can’t finish, all our work is for nothing.

—Steven Pressfield

Do the Work (Do You Zoom Inc), 87

More Exciting Than Sports

The 4th of five books will be given away on Monday. I’m allowing through this weekend for the last subscriber to get their name into the pot (click here to subscribe). But can I be honest? I’ve got big reasons—much bigger than a giveaway—for why I want you to follow me.

This kids are gonna change the world.

These kids are going to change the world.

See, I’ve been building a platform for the past 15 years in a small community of speakers and debaters. On its face it appears very academic, sort of geeky, a boring, educational activity. Even when I try to make it seem like a sport, folks think I’m just trying to pull one on them. Gee, exciting: dress up and give speeches. Yay.

Can I be honest? Compared to speech and debate, sports are boring.

To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket – safe, dark, motionless, airless – it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.

The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.

~ C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

The Four Loves (Mariner Books, 1971), 156

Love and Win a Book

I gave the first books away yesterday to Cathy O. from New York, and I sent off the second email to a lucky winner this morning asking for a mailing address. Why am I giving away $100 worth of books? I have three good reasons.

This is my club. I show you how to pull together your own in my book.

This is my speech and debate club. I show you how to join a club—or pull together your own—in my new book.