Join us in Tampa for a long weekend of policy debate training! The “Springboard” is designed to provide a jump start to new debaters, aspiring coaches, and young Kritik debaters. Short but intense, the format of the workshop is both virtual and in-person. The welcome meeting, hors d'Oeuvres, and “Topic Talk” on Friday and all the sessions on Saturday and Sunday will be in-person on the magnificent Berkeley Preparatory School Hollingsworth campus. The two afternoon debates on Monday will be held over zoom. Throughout the day on Saturday, the aspiring coaches and the novices will learn together as we move through the basics of policy debate and the NDCA evidence packet. The young kritikers will jump in on Saturday with a series of discussions and strategy sessions based on their topic choices, a routine that will continue through Sunday as students prepare blocks for Monday’s debates. Meanwhile, aspiring coaches and novices will split up on Sunday and pursue sessions directed toward preparing for the beginning of the season. All participants must bring their own laptops, wireless access will be provided.
The Program: Three Tracks
1. NOVICE SPRINGBOARD
This innovative session is for new debaters to learn the structure of policy debate and become intimately familiar with the NDCA (National Debate Coaches’ Association) evidence packet that is used for novice debate throughout the first semester and into the second semester. Absent an NDCA packet, we will develop our own! In addition to reworking the packet as a group, all the novices will receive a separate affirmative case and negative against that case to use for non-packet tournaments. Students will have the opportunity to select an affirmative, fine-tune that case, and have a series of mini-debates and speech drills to prepare for the season. On the negative, students will learn specific strategies against the NDCA novice affirmatives, including rebuttal selection and how to maximize the negative block. Students will arrive on Friday evening and will work furiously for over two days to improve as quickly as possible and to prepare for Monday’s debates. From Friday to Monday, we promise that students will improve (in some cases, dramatically) and will be ready to hit the ground running for the regular season.
2. ASPIRING COACHES
We are very excited to offer a set of training sessions for aspiring coaches. Those coaches bringing three or more students are welcome to attend the Aspiring Coaches track cost-free. This tract will teach potential coaches the skills of policy debate alongside the novices on Saturday, including round tables at lunch and dinner for coaches to ask more specific questions and get feedback on their own situations. On Sunday, the aspiring coaches will work through a number of topics, including how to register, what technology to use, how to recruit and sustain a policy team, and what the responsibilities are at a tournament. From there, we will set these coaches up for success by laying out schedules and goals that make sense for each team.
3. KRITIK SPRINGBOARD
Focusing on specific Kritik arguments is the key to success in the philosophical realm of debate. Toward that end, the Berkeley Prep Kritik Springboard will offer lectures, evidence discussion, practice speeches, and strategy for a student’s favorite Kritik or one of the files the BPS coaches prepare for the week (Racial Capitalism, Afropessimism, and Disability Studies will all be covered, among others). The expert Kritik coaches at the Springboard will tailor lectures, drills, and practice debates to the particular arguments and students involved. The ability to personalize the argument and practice the technique of extending a Kritik will be prioritized, including an invaluable session on judge preferences and judge adaptation. Students will arrive on campus on Friday evening and work furiously for a few days to manicure their arguments and prepare for Monday’s debates. Once the on-campus sessions are completed, students will return home (or to their respective hotels) on Sunday night and prepare for the practice rounds and rebuttal redos (conducted virtually) that will take place on Monday. From Friday to Monday, we promise that students will improve (in some cases, dramatically) and will be ready to hit the ground running for the regular season.
On-Campus: July 28 - July 30 2023
Virtual: July 31, 2023Ages
Rising 6th - 10th Grade Students
$600 includes dinner Friday and Saturday, lunch Saturday and Sunday, pre-workshop materials for coaches and students, and continued updating throughout the first semester.
Coaches bringing three or more students are welcome to attend free of charge.
Experienced policy coaches (Having coached policy debate for more than 5 years), should contact us about offering a session to the aspiring coaches.About the Coaches
Dr. Kevin Douglas Kuswa is the co-author of Argumentation and Critical Thought: An Introduction to Advocacy, Reasoning, and Rhetorical Analysis
, a textbook used in debate classes at the collegiate level. Dr. Kuswa’s students have been successful at every stage, winning virtually every debate tournament in the country on the high school and collegiate levels. He has been teaching and coaching debate for 25 years at institutions such as the University of Richmond, California State University, the University of South Carolina, and Dartmouth College (where his team won the National Debate Championship). Dr. Kuswa himself won the National Championship debating for Georgetown University where he received a degree from the School of Foreign Service. Earning his PhD in Communication Studies with a specialty in Rhetoric from the University of Texas at Austin, Dr. Kuswa has presented his scholarship at numerous conferences and published pieces in the top journals in the field such as the Quarterly Journal of Speech, Rhetoric and Public Affairs, and Argumentation and Advocacy. Teaching has long been Dr. Kuswa’s passion and he is ecstatic to be serving as the Head Debate Coach and Upper Division History and Religious Studies faculty member at Berkeley Preparatory School.
Jack Lassiter is one of the most successful and innovative debate minds in the country. He will be working with the “Young Kritikers” and plans a multitude of insightful kritik arguments specific to the “fiscal redistribution” topic. Jack Lassiter competed at the ToC in High School (Damien HS, CA) and qualified for the NDT at Whitman College (WA) where he graduated with a degree in Philosophy and Rhetoric. His debaters have not only won most of the major tournaments in the country, they have even presented conference papers at the National Communication Association annual conference. Coach Lassiter also brought a rigorous form of kritik debate into NPDA and NIET formats on the college level and then earned his Master’s degree at Baylor University where he coached multiple first round teams. He has since reached “ABD” status at the University of Minnesota under well-known debate theorist, Dr. Ronald Walter Greene. In addition, Mr. Lassiter’s research protocol and dissertation focus is on indebtedness, racial capitalism, and the rhetoric of obligation–perfect sub-fields for this year’s resolution. He has been monumental for the Berkeley Preparatory School Debate Team over the last 5 years, coaching students to multiple tournament wins and well over 30 bids to the Tournament of Champions, and we could not be more excited to have Coach Lassiter on board for the Springboard!