Own it, don’t copy it

Often as debaters we will run into opponents that do things very well, many times things we want to do better. It may be a style of presentation or rhetoric. It may be an argument or piece of evidence that you had not heard of and want to use the next debater. I have one rule regarding anything you want to pick up from another team:

Own it, don’t copy it.

It is easy to tell when a debater is copying someone because they don’t seem authentic. Always be on the lookout for good strategy or skill or research, but when you like something, take the time to make it your own.

If you like someone’s presentation style, then practice on your own and get some feedback before you try it out.

If you like someone’s argument, talk about it with your partner and read up on the background information.

If you like the evidence, read the ACTUAL evidence for yourself and cut the applicable card before you EVER use it in round. Throwing out a citation you heard without actually reading the evidence is recipe for losing all of your credibility if your opponent asks anything about it.

Whatever you do in round, be it delivery or argumentation, own it and make it your own.

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