Debate tournaments require a lot of planning from hosts, parents, coaches, and debaters alike, which can lead to stress during the tournament. These pointers can go a long way to improving everyone’s experience at the tournament.
Before the Tournament
Tournaments have a maximum capacity of people who can attend. Bigger tournaments often end up having waiting lists. The best way to prevent this is to sign up early. If you do end up on the waiting list, try to be patient. The hosts are doing their best to accommodate everyone and they will let you know if you can attend as soon as possible.
Try your best to accommodate the host. Running a tournament requires organization and good communication throughout the community. The best thing you can do to help is to complete your required tasks. Register your teams and required judges on time! If you can bring along extra judges, get them in contact with the hosts. If you feel like you can do more, contact the hosts and offer assistance.
Give the earliest possible notice that someone is canceling. Last minute changes equal lots of work and potential tournament delay. If you are running late for a tournament or are unavoidably delayed, please contact the SEDA cell phone (306- 780-9243) and let us know.
At the Tournament
Debaters (and coaches) have certain responsibilities:
- To inform SEDA before a round begins about any conflicts with a judge in their room - tell us ASAP if there is a problem so we can swap judges
- To help a moderator/timekeeper or judge if there is confusion about how to run the round
- To inform SEDA of any irregularities in a round
Debaters (coaches, parents, and observers) must take care NOT to:
- Watch rounds of their upcoming opponents. Observing your opponent gives you unfair, advance knowledge of their cases. This rule also applies to parents, coaches, teammates, judges, or anyone else who is tempted to watch a debate and then spread that information around. Teams with byes are encouraged to watch and learn from other teams, but if you are going to observe a debate, make sure it is in another division.
- Distract the debaters. Coaches, parents, timekeepers, moderators, and all other observers must be very careful that they do not show any non-verbal cues to the debaters that could be considered a tactic to throw off the other team (eye-rolling, mouthing comments, shaking or nodding their head, etc.). Audience members are not allowed to make comments during the debate. Of course, judges may show reactions (smiling or nodding encouragement, frowns, etc.). Everyone is to wait quietly while the judges make their decisions.
- Complain unproductively. Negative comments about the judging, the food, and other debaters spread like wildfire. Everyone tries their best, but sometimes problems occur. Please do not make people feel worse than they already do. We advise: "go with the flow". Bring problems or concerns to the hosts' or SEDA's attention immediately so we can deal with the problems as they occur.
After the Round, and After the Tournament
Respect the judges even if you really, really disagree with their decision. These people are volunteers who give up free time for the good of debate. Many are rookies just trying to do their best.
Remember to thank the judges, moderators, and timekeepers and shake their hands. Debaters, coaches and parents can ask politely for more comments after the round, but they must not give judges a hard time, pressure them about their decisions, question them, or argue with them. Keep a lid on the "rink rage". Register judging complaints with SEDA as soon as they occur.
Say "thank you" to the organizers. While we all know that participants appreciate the work the host does, it's still nice to hear it once in a while. So before your head for home, take a minute say thanks. For most hosts, the reason they work so hard is because they care about students. It is very gratifying to have some of these students come up to you and shake your hand.
Remember, at SEDA we don't just play to win. We play to learn and we play to have fun!