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PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2011 3:19 am 
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I am wondering about speaker positions for this year. Like, which person should go in which position? And, what are good ways to decide this? Does the better speaker always go second? Or can this fluctuate? Do you have to be the same speaker on both aff AND neg? I understand that this is kinda a generally vague question.... :? but I hope that at least someone understands what I am trying to ask... :? Any help or thoughts on this would be greatly appreciated! :)

Thanks!

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2011 3:29 am 
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One does NOT have to be both 1A and 1N or 2A and 2N.

As for which position you want to take, it depends on the team. If you are a slow thinker like me, you may want to opt for the 2nd positions. If you can deliver persuasive speeches with nice endings, the 2's might be for you. The 1N requires a lot of quick thinking/argument formulation. The 1A's first speech is fairly easy, but the 1AR is killer because you have to effectively cover 13 minutes of neg speaking time.

I know that probably didn't help, but hopefully these little factoids will give you more information. Information is power.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2011 3:49 am 
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I've had three different debate partners. All three of them are extremely smart guys, and all three of them are slow thinkers. :P Because of this, I was pretty much always 1N. I echo what Mr Glasses said about the fast thinker being on this- 1Ns need to be able to come up with arguments fast if they hit a case they didn't know about beforehand. I would also say that whoever likes/can explain theory better should be a good candidate for being 1N. If you're going to run topicality, a kritik, or a counterplan, those things need to go in the 1NC.

I've been both 1A and 2A, depending on the partner. My first year I was 2A, because I was petrified of 1ARs and because my partner liked having me give a strong dramatic finish in the 2AR. For the last two years, I've been 1A. My second partner was great at summing things up, so he was better suited to being 2A. My current partner (Mr Glasses) is very memorable. When we debate, he's very analytical. He also comes up with great analogies that make you think about things a different way. You want to leave a strong closing in the judge's mind, so we've found that it's better for him to be 2A.

If it's possible, try to experiment with different speaker positions. I think that's the best way to figure out what works for you and your partner. :)

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2011 4:16 am 
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Scalability of coherence, one of the most important skills in debate, is most important for the 1NC and 1AR. The more scalable your coherence, the easier you are to comprehend at any given rate faster than your conversational speed. Scalability of enunciation, a subset of coherence, is most important for the 1AR.

Another important skill, relating arguments to the big picture (integrating overviews with line-by-line) is most important for the 2NR and 2AR.

I was most useful as the 1N and as the 2A. My "style" is slow, logically rigorous, and extremely non-oratorical. I was the 1N primarily because I'm a theory wonk, 1NC theory shells are more creatively dynamic than non-procedural shells (DAs, solvency takeouts, etc.), and theory is more effectively extended in the 1NR than in the 2NC. I was the 2A because my partner allocated time better than I did (crucial for the 1AR) and because my 2AR was a more effective use of my time than my 1AR. For my 2AR, I restructured the entire flow into distinct reasons we were winning and divided each "reason" into overviews of important lines of argumentation grouped according to the conceptual relationships between points on the flow. This method treats the debate as a system and makes the 2AR the most intellectually demanding speech of the round, making me more useful for it than I was for the 1AR because I'm not nearly as good at maintaining coherence at a high rate than I am at analyzing a system.

I recommend a 1A/2N partner and 2A/1N partner because of skill overlap between the 1A and 2N, and between the 2A and 1N:

The 1NC primarily introduces new arguments instead of responding to the 1AC (the 2NC's role) and the 2AC primarily refutes the 1NC instead of introducing new arguments. Therefore, being the 2A helps the 1NC preempt 2AC responses and being the 1N makes the 2AC more familiar with the types of arguments being refuted.

The 1AR refutes 2NC arguments for the first time, whereas 1NR arguments are just extensions of what the 2AC addresses. Therefore, the 1AR and 2NC benefit from the preemption/refutation relationship more than do the 1AR and 1NR.

The lines of argumentation look like this:

1AC → 2NC → 1AR
1NC → 2AC → block (minus part of the 2NC) → 1AR
entire round → 2NR
entire round → 2AR

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2011 4:51 am 
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This is somewhat controversial, but the strategy that I've seen work best is to make your first priority to have a competent debater as the second speaker. This means you don't always "play to the strengths/personalities" of each individual.

If you have two debaters and one is a novice who has trouble in BOTH positions and the other is someone who has enough competency in both, have the better one be the second speaker both ways. Why? You win rounds in the rebuttals -- if your 1NC flops, you can pick up in the 2NC. If your 1AR flops, you can at least do some crazy weighing to cover the drops in the 2AR. The judge often remembers the 2AR better than the 1AR. It doesn't matter if the novice is more big picture and the competent debater is more line-by-line oriented -- plug the 2_R hole first. Time and again, teams put the competent debater in the 1A slot because of the 1AR. They win the 1AR, then lose the round because of the 2AR. On the other hand, teams that put the competent debater in the 2AR are often able to say "look, we dropped a ton of points in the 1AR, but they don't matter and here's why." Same with neg: the 1NC is the scariest speech of the round, but if the 1NC has two weak points, the 2NC can either extend them and make them strong or bring up new points (because it's still a constructive), watch a weak 1NR follow, and then win in the 2NR.
(side note: I'm not saying the 1_Rs aren't important; our team definitely won rounds in the 1AR and 1NR before and I consider the 1NC and the 1AR to be the hardest speeches of the round. Winning in the 1_R, though, is often the exception not the rule, at least in my experience)

(tl;dr: my personal experience is that if one debater is bad and the other is not, one should put the bad one as the first speaker)

If you have two fairly competent debaters, both of which can handle either position, THEN you figure out individual strengths. Generally, you put whoever is bigger picture in the second position and whoever is more detailed (and often on neg, faster on their feet) in the first position. Again, this is because you want the 2_Rs to be big picture and weigh the impacts of the arguments. Also, the 1AR and 1NC are often very line-by-line (the 1AR especially), which means you put the more detailed person in those positions. The 1A also should ideally be able to talk fast and have good word economy, because of the 1AR. Also, if one person knows theory and the other doesn't, the theory person should be the 1N, because pre-fiat arguments are usually 1N arguments.

At the end of the day, though, no theory fits your situation perfectly. You should definitely experiment and figure out what works best for you :).

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2011 3:56 pm 
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If one partner is much better than the other, the better partner should do both twos. If the partners are of comparable ability, the one who does better taking on a limited set of ideas and learning it inside and out should do the 2A, while the one who's better at improvising in the face of the unexpected should do the 2N.

One more guideline: in a debate with four technically proficient debaters and no major errors, the 2NR is the hardest speech to give well. When in doubt, have the stronger debater give the 2NR.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2011 4:57 pm 
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I agree with Dr. Srader.

I'd add that negative rounds are won in the 2NR and can't be won in the 1NR alone. 2NR's args can be generated in the 2NC.

Thus, in an unbalanced partnership (I have been in several) it is useful to have the weaker partner be 1N and coach them to say really vague things. 1NC ends up not mattering and all really good arguments come out of 2NC. 1NR just reads evidence to support 2NC arguments and doesn't have to answer CX. Then 2NR saves the day with voters.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2011 8:55 pm 
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Isaiah wrote:
I agree with Dr. Srader.

I'd add that negative rounds are won in the 2NR and can't be won in the 1NR alone. 2NR's args can be generated in the 2NC.

Thus, in an unbalanced partnership (I have been in several) it is useful to have the weaker partner be 1N and coach them to say really vague things. 1NC ends up not mattering and all really good arguments come out of 2NC. 1NR just reads evidence to support 2NC arguments and doesn't have to answer CX. Then 2NR saves the day with voters.


Exactly. I've seen quite a few teams do fairly well even though the 1N does almost literally nothing.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2011 6:47 pm 
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Thank you all so much! I will take every bit of advice into consideration! My little brother and I are both at different stage in debate, (new partner for myself, and my little brother is just starting at debate) so we were both needing a little direction on what to do for speaker positions. Thanks again everyone and I will let you know if I have anymore questions on this subject.

God Bless!

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 01, 2011 4:56 am 
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Isaiah wrote:
I agree with Dr. Srader.

I'd add that negative rounds are won in the 2NR and can't be won in the 1NR alone. 2NR's args can be generated in the 2NC.

Thus, in an unbalanced partnership (I have been in several) it is useful to have the weaker partner be 1N and coach them to say really vague things. 1NC ends up not mattering and all really good arguments come out of 2NC. 1NR just reads evidence to support 2NC arguments and doesn't have to answer CX. Then 2NR saves the day with voters.
Although I agree that the 2N typically does the more important work, I don't think it's totally fair to say that the 1N does nothing. The 1NC is essentially the first impression that the neg team gives, and I still think it's really important that the 1N is confident, runs at least one legit position, and makes the neg team look like they know exactly what they're doing. I'm also personally a fan of putting the DAs in the 1NC, but I know lots of people disagree with that. The 2NC is almost always my easiest speech [aside from the 1AC, obviously]. The 2NR is tough, though. It's important, but it can be really easy to mess up. The 2NC must have persuasion and refutation nailed.

As for the 1A, I think it depends. The 1AR is hard, but incredibly fun if you're good at being concise and allocating your time well. You also have to really, really know your case because you'll be cross-exed about it by the 2N. The 2AC is generally pretty easy because you should have a response to nearly every argument you'll hear. The 2AR is often pretty easy, too, by the second or third tournament you run your case at. You just have to master the skill of breaking away from line-by-line and focusing on the core of the round.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2011 6:42 pm 
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Quote:
I don't think it's totally fair to say that the 1N does nothing


Agree 100%. For the best teams, 1NC can be a clincher speech where neg philosophy is laid out and the AFF has trouble ever recovering. 1NR can add depth to all arguments with additional warrants.

The question was dealing with weaker partners.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2011 9:14 pm 
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For Affirmative: the more consice speaker should be the 1A. For Negative: the more rhetoric-based should be the 2A.

The 1A obviously doesn't have to be the 1N, but it just happens that the 1A and 1N speeches are alike, and the 2A and 2N speeches are alike, so usually one speaker is the 1's and one speaker is the 2's simply because of their debating/speaking style.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2011 3:25 am 
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Everyone's advice is really helpful! Thanks!

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Last edited by King Downing on Fri Apr 06, 2012 10:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2012 8:28 pm 
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On AFF, I'd suggest the weaker partner as the 1A.

1) He has only one speech to really prepare for (1AR)
2) His speech can be compensated for
3) He's only speaking for 5 minutes of speech time unscripted. This lessens potential for mistakes.
4) The round is in the hands of the more capable partner.

Another rule of thumb is that the faster speaker should be the 1A.

On NEG, I'd suggest that the person who's quicker on their feet should be the 1N.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2012 8:43 pm 
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Amodeum wrote:
On AFF, I'd suggest the weaker partner as the 1A.

1) He has only one speech to really prepare for (1AR)
2) His speech can be compensated for
3) He's only speaking for 5 minutes of speech time unscripted. This lessens potential for mistakes.
4) The round is in the hands of the more capable partner.

Another rule of thumb is that the faster speaker should be the 1A.

On NEG, I'd suggest that the person who's quicker on their feet should be the 1N.


A couple of other thoughts -

1. It is very important who you choose to be the 1A. Although they only have one unwritten speech to give, they have one of the hardest speeches to give - the 1AR. The 1AR often times determines which team has the most ground going into the last two speeches of the round. If the speaker is not able to adequately address the negative block, it is hard for the affirmative team to rebound from that in the 2AR.
2. The 1A should have a solid foundation of the case. They are the first speaker in the round to be cxed and they should have an ample amount of knowledge on the case. It does not bode well with the judges in the 1A cannot answer questions about the 1AC he or she just read.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2012 1:03 am 
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Sure...my point is just that it's much easier to prep a person for a scripted 8-minute speech than it is for 13 minutes unscripted which are absolutely critical.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2012 6:05 pm 
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A big thank you to everyone that gave me help and advice! I took what everone had to say into account, and speaks/debating for my partner and I have been beast. We have gotten high speaks placings, and the strategies of why we chose what speaking position we are has been rediculously perfect. Me = 1st aff = being convincing, smooth, (or at least that's what I'd like to think) and able to answer all the questions without losing the round. Haha. My parter is an amazing closer and I am able to respond to the block nicely (again without completely botching the round) I am also the 2nd neg = my partner going up and breaking down the case (he doesn't use ev, he just murks it with logic) while I am back at the table tabbing piles of evidence. (He hates ev, so he falls back on my ev in the block, and the aff is then swamped, haha) I really credit the success that we have had with our speaking position to the wise bits and pieces that I have gleaned from what you all have said. So thank you all so much! God Bless! And I hope to meet you all at nationals if I get the chance!

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