Training Material

We've collected a number of things over the years, and it's not particularly well organized. But here it is, with brief commentary. You may view or download the material as you choose. It may be copied and used freely for educational purposes.

Official Documents

The CDA Handbook introduces the CDA, describes the format of our tournaments, explains extemporaneous debate and the basics of judging, and sets various CDA policies for eligibility and conduct.

The handbook appendices include the Ballot, a Flowchart Template for taking notes during the debate, and the Judges Handout for the judges workshop.

Introductory Material for Debaters

We have two basic pieces for new debaters. The first discusses things a student can do to Prepare for Debate with attention to background knowledge, speaking and listening. The second explains What Happens During a Debate. It provides an overview, describes each speech, and discusses cross-ex, prep time and teamwork between partners.

There are two templates which beginning debaters may find useful to help manage their time and organize their cases during the prepartion period. The first template has a suggested "schedule" for using the hour of preparation time and room for definitions for the resolution. (Definitions Template.) The second template has a structure contentions and arguments. (Contention Template.) See the Coach's Notes for November 2008 and December 2009 below for more information on how to use these templates.

And don't forget about debate during your vacation! What I Would Do on My Summer Vacation offers some suggestions.

Introductory Material for Coaches

We have two items for coaches. The first is for New Coaches and gives them some idea what to expect. The second provides some suggestions for prepping new debaters and for ongoing team meetings: Training Tips.

Judges' Workshop

Prior to each tournament during the debaters' prep time, we hold a workshop for new and less experienced judges. In addition to the Judges Handout, we also have an edited Workshop Transcript of one of those workshops. This can be given to new judges to help orient them prior to the tournament. Debaters may also want to read this to gain insight into how judges are taught to review debates.

Past Resolutions, Packets, Flows and Notes

We have a file of the Past CDA Resolutions that you may find useful for setting practice debates. This file goes back to 1995, though it is incomplete in the earliest years. For the past several years, we also have the full packet given to debaters prior to each tournament in computer-readable form. For some of these we have a flow of the final round and an edition of A Coach's Notes commentary. You can browse past years' material by selecting from the list below.

Parliamentary Debate

Parliamentary debate is popular at the college level in the US, and the primary form of debate outside of the US. The sequence and timing of the speeches differs from CDA debate, but these are relatively minor. Like CDA debate it is extemporaneous in that debaters have limited time and materials to prepare their arguments. CDA debaters have done well at Parliamentary format tournaments held by Yale University.

Below are some files explaining Parliamentary format and how it might be conducted in CDA.