In short, debating is won by convincing a judge or judges of you and your team partners’ arguments. You will be facing an opposing team who will try to bring better arguments or attempt to undermine yours. Debates are centered around motions which can range from motions like “This House believes that the prison system should favor rehabilitation over punishment” to motions that are much less serious (and very unrealistic) like “This house would create a global market for the selling of babies.” (Final motion at Trinity College 2018)
At first you might struggle to make up for the time. However, in a very short time, you will see that this can be far too little for what you want to say. This is especially apparent if joining the open evenings and the debate academy.
Quite the contrary. At the end of a long day, members don’t come to the evenings to do more work but to unwind. Like many other sports, we meet up with friends, have a couple beers and compete with one another. We also have specialty evenings such as “Halloween” where we dress up, “Drunk Debate” where we play debating/drinking games and unique themed events where the motions can be just downright silly. We also have an activities committee that plan events such as “game night” or “paintball”.
Nope. All you will need is your general knowledge which you are welcome to grow. You naturally start picking up arguments from debates you participate in over time as well. Of course it does help if you stay up to date on current events.
Debating can be like learning to ride a bike. You might have difficulties in the beginning but once you know the basics it’s a skills that will stick with you for the rest of your life. To be the support in your life you always wanted, we offer debate academy, introduction week, workshops and personal feedback so you can finally ride that bike.
Then if anything debating will help you overcome your fears. You will be presenting in a safe environment with friends you know. I have not once encountered or heard, at UDS or tournaments, anybody being judged for having a hard time presenting, and if we ever did, we would quickly deal with any agitators. We debaters all had to start from the bottom, all had a blackout at one point and all understand that it takes time. I’ve even gone up against a debater with a stutter once, who may or may not have annihilated me.
If we still haven’t convinced you on that, you can still judge a couple of debates before trying it yourself. It’s without the debating but all the judging. Judges are just as important, even sometimes more so than debaters. Good judges are always in short supply and you can make a name for yourself in the debating community through judging.
It may not be as much of a cakewalk if you don’t join the open evenings or Speakers Academy, but it is by no means a necessity. Quite a few members join later in the year. We will partner you with an experienced member. You are always welcome to join us later in the year and you are always welcome to send us an email if you’re unsure about joining late.