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Weekly Coach Newsletter - February 16, 2021
Weekly Coach Newsletter - February 16, 2021

Check out what's new, Coach!

2021 National Tournament Details

We are excited to share key details about the National Tournament! The Tournament Procedures are now available. This document outlines key tournament details, including deadlines, how events will work, our hosting platform, judging obligations, and more. Please remember that any school that attends their district tournament receives two qualifiers in supplemental events, regardless of whether their students qualify to the National Tournament in main events. We strongly recommend attending students and coaches read the procedures in full. Additionally, the Unified Manual is updated with tournament rules. Changes are noted in yellow. 
We know that adapting to online school and virtual competition has been difficult for so many students and teachers. This past year has been challenging. Yet, we have heard from you all about the important role the National Speech & Debate Tournament plays for your students. A hallmark of the National Tournament is the rigor of competition and the sense of community built by all of us coming together. In order to capture this magic at the online Nationals, we will be working especially hard this year to reduce some stress and anxiety about obstacles.
Live Speech Events » After careful consideration and feedback from our community, we have made the decision to hold live (synchronous) speech competition in all main events at the 2021 National Tournament. Live synchronous competition for main events and fully asynchronous competition for supplemental speech events will provide students the opportunity for an experience most like attending our in-person National Tournament. In addition to the fully asynchronous supplemental speech events, all main event students will be encouraged to submit a recording of their performance that can be used as a backup in case of unresolvable technical difficulties.
Duo Interpretation » In order to promote safer competition for all, the 2021 National Tournament will feature two divisions of Duo Interpretation, one where students will perform together in the same room (with a backup recording in case of technical difficulties, as in other speech events), and one with a split screen format like the 2020 National Tournament. Duo competitors may compete in both divisions, but will have to choose a preferred division if breaking to semifinals. Teams cannot break to semifinals in both divisions.  
In-Person Safety » Students who will compete in the same room (in Duo or in debate events) must submit a consent form from their administrators with approval and acknowledgement that students will follow their school’s safety guidelines. 
$100,000 in Support Grants » We know this year has created unprecedented challenges for students and coaches. This year, we’re offering $100,000 in William Woods Tate, Jr., Fund participation support grants to teams who need funds to purchase technology, pay for internet access, rent appropriate space to compete, or acquire other resources that will allow them a more equitable experience. Stay tuned for details.
New Supplemental Events » We will offer two new supplemental events that will allow students to explore more avenues for personal expression and approach topics in new and exciting ways. All supplemental speech events will be recorded asynchronously, and students may enter in as many events as they wish. Extemp Debate will again be held live.
  • Original Spoken Word Poetry: Competitors will write and perform original poetry in order to express ideas, experience, or emotion through the creative arrangement of words according to their sound, their rhythm, their meaning. The maximum time limit is 5 minutes with a 30-second grace period. The delivery must be memorized, and no book or script may be used. As opposed to traditional Poetry, Spoken Word Poetry is created to be performed aloud and may feature rhythmic flow, vivid imagery, word play, gestures, lyrical elements, and repetition. A similar original poetry contest was offered at prior National Tournaments. We invite you to watch original performances by the finalists to get a feel for the event.

  • Pro Con Challenge: Students will select the National Tournament topic for Policy, Lincoln-Douglas, or Public Forum Debate, or choose a piece of legislation from the Congressional Debate Docket and write a 3-5 minute affirmative speech and a 3-5 minute negative speech on that topic. They will read both of those speeches within a time limit of 10 minutes and 30 seconds. Visit our topics page to find the resolution for Policy Debate and potential topics for LD and PF. We encourage you to watch an exemplary video from the 2020 Middle School Speech Challenge to get a feel for the event. 
Read the full procedures

New Code of Honor

The Code of Honor is the bedrock of our Honor Society. We are proud to announce an update to the Code that better represents our community behavioral standards for students and coaches and our commitment to humility, equity, integrity, respect, leadership, and service on every team at every school.

Middle School Speech Challenge Registration Opens March 1

We are pleased to once again host a Middle School Speech Challenge as part of our online National Tournament. The event offers paid member students in the fifth, sixth, seventh, or eighth grade during the current school year from NSDA schools a low-stress, enjoyable competition opportunity that can be done from their homes. All middle school events will be held with asynchronous recordings and asynchronous judging. The top students in each middle school event will once again be named as National Middle School Showcase finalists, and their recorded performances will be made available on the NSDA website as a resource and celebration.
Read further details about event procedures or type Showcase into the filter box on our resource table to view showcase performances from last year! The Middle School Speech Challenge is presented by Summit Debate.

New Courses: DI, HI, and Duo 

Performance Breakdown: Crafting a Duo Interp » Coaches and students can take a look behind the curtain at the process of putting together a Duo from start to finish in this new NSDA Learn course. Through script notation, video, and narration, 2019 Duo finalists Ethan Gambriel and Tyler Simpson share the story behind the cutting, blocking, practicing, and performing of their piece, A Tiny Miracle With a Fiberoptic Unicorn
Intro to Coaching: Dramatic and Humorous Interp » Take a deep dive into coaching DI and HI in this new NSDA Learn course and find considerations for selecting literature, sample cuttings, activities for characterization, and more. This course is authored by Hall of Fame members Meg Howell-Haymaker and Deborah SimonIf you have follow up questions about the course content or have a specific question about Interp or a performance issue your student is struggling with, ask the experts! Head to our forum, NSDA Connect, to pose questions to Meg and Deborah and they'll get back to you with their advice. This is a chance to connect with some of the best of the best in the Interp world!
2021 Coolidge Cup. Over $15,000 in Prizes. July 2-4 in Plymouth, Vermont.
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Register Now: Winter Caucus Meetings Continue This Week

Caucus meetings continue this week! Register below for the remaining gatherings or learn more about the caucuses and our caucus leaders! Please remember that participants should abide by the NSDA harassment and discrimination policy at all times.
  • Register for the LGBTQ+ Coaches' Caucus today, February 16 at 7:00 p.m. CT, or join their Facebook group
  • Register for the Womxn Coaches' Caucus on Sunday, February 21 at 5:00 p.m. CT.
  • Register for the Persons with Disabilities Coaches' Caucus on Tuesday, February 23 at 7:00 p.m. CT. 

Resource Roundup

Elimination Round Videos » If you love our final round archive, don't miss videos of 2021 late elimination rounds for Public Forum, Lincoln-Douglas, and Policy Debate, exclusively available to Resource Package subscribers
Congress Docket » The February Congress docket is now online for members! 
Character Checklist » Use this checklist to track student progress in bringing characters to life.
Attend the NSDA National Conference: a free conference advocating for more equitable and inclusive speech and debate communities. August 3-5
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