The Drury University Debate Team has continued their winning season from last year into this current one. To accomplish these goals the team dedicates a lot of time to working on a variety of different areas of perfecting their craft.
Practice makes perfect
“Debate practice never stops,” sophomore Lindsay Duede said. Duede is ranked second in the nation as the varsity season long speaker.
Duede said that the style of debate that she and the Drury team participates in, which is a part of the International Public Debate Association (IPDA), centers around developing effective communication skills.
“Every time you are explaining concepts to your peers you are literally practicing for debate,” Duede said.
This casual, everyday practice is beneficial, but for more in depth practice the team has mock debates during the week. Mock debates help the team members to prepare for different elements of the competition.
“We want to make sure we have as much time to critically engage with ideas as possible,” she said.
They do speaking exercises as practice, too.
“My favorite is one where I take my notes from a round I lost and go back over it to create a second chance rebuttal speech,” Duede said.
She said that getting the time to reflect on her past rounds allows her to grow.
“Everyone on this squad debates so differently stylistically that getting to watch their rounds also helps you grow a lot. So much of debate is mental but the rest is pure orientation,” Duede said.
For Duede especially practice has helped her develop her debating style because she has been debating for over six years.
Living the Debate life
“I have grown drastically; none so much as this year. Over the past year I have learned how to slow things down and really read a room,” she said.
She continued by saying that there are so many things happening during a round of debate and that one’s instinct is to try to respond to it all.
“At the end of the day, though, not a whole lot matters. It takes skill to be able to step back and see what actually matters in the round,” Duede said.
Duede said that determining what matters is something she has gotten a lot better at but is something she thinks she can still improve in. This feeds into her desire to continue to be involved in the debate “world.”
“I am just excited to keep debating, I love everything about it,” she said. “The entire environment charges me. The entire debate circuit is filled with some of the best people and friends I have ever known.”
This has driven Duede to go above and beyond the regular season of tournaments and compete in even more.
“I am actually going to a few additional tournaments that I am paying for on my own,” she said. “I will be at Oklahoma University and Bossier Parish Community College over the next couple of weekends.”
The positive atmosphere at debate tournaments creates a positive community that has helped push the team’s success.
“All of the Drury University debate team is going to tournaments at Arkansas Tech University and University of Central Arkansas. [We are also going to] Nationals in Washington as well,” Duede said.
ATU and UCA will provide tough competition, according to Duede.
“It is going to be a busy semester. ATU and UCA are two of the most difficult tournaments of the entire season. Competitors from all over the country come so it makes for really good practice before Nationals,” she said.
Last year the Drury debate team saw a very successful season, but Duede said that they have improved further.
“We were brand new and came on to the debate scene and just tried our best. Over the past year, we have all worked relentlessly to improve our craft,” she said.
Duede said that the team feels much more competent when going to debate tournaments now. Having the previous year’s experiences has helped the team feel more prepared for what to expect.
“Even if we don’t always pick up every ballot the level of improvements in our performance is so evident,” Duede said.
This confidence has transformed how they perform, according to Duede.
“I can’t remember the last time someone from Drury walked out of a round feeling completely blown away,” she said.
She does acknowledge, though, that the team still has room for improvement despite all of their successes.
“We all have room to grown, but ultimately we have just gained so much depth. Not to mention we work so much more cohesively now than we used to,” she said.
Last year, according to Duede, the team was trying to find their own individual rhythms. This year they feel like they have established those.
“We are able to concentrate on helping the entire squad function well and that is just awesome,” Duede said.
The squad is able to cohesively function as a whole: Drury’s team is ranked ninth as a varsity squad. The junior varsity team is also ranked ninth. As a team squad they are ranked first.
Varsity Season Long Speakers:
Second place – Lindsay Duede
Seventh place – Mallory Pinson
Varsity Season Long Debaters:
19th place – Lindsay Duede
36th place – Mallory Pinson
53rd place – Kris Rose
54th place – Jerrica Shine
JV Season Long Speakers:
Sixth place – Madi York
JV Season Long Debaters:
33rd place – Madi York
40th place – Ronnie Warren
Team Debate Season Long Speakers:
11th place – Kris Rose
Team Debate Season Long Debaters:
Second place – Mallory Pinson and Jerrica Shine
Sixth place – Ameran Link and Kris Rose
10th place – Beau Berry and Madi York
11th place – Lindsay Duede and Yarra Ragab
Article written by Taylor Perkins