After 4 years of internal and external testing in two states, we’re rolling out a test run of our Debate League curriculum to help individuals learn, and to help debate coaches teach, high quality debating skills to youth. We invite you to be a part of this rollout by purchasing either an individual or “coach-and-club” subscription, below. Be aware that we may make small changes here and there (that we will keep you aware of), and we are eager for your feedback when you try the materials. Our aim is to offer the best teaching or self-teaching debate curriculum for middle school through college kids.
Whether you are wanting to learn the activity, improve your debating skills, or start a debate club, our training videos and handbook are perfect for kids from middle school through college.
This video, useful in attracting members to a Debate League club, covers the main components of debate, and what the Debate League debating format is. See more of our videos on this page (scroll down below the FAQs if viewing on your phone).
Debate League training is done through videos and an optional handbook, progressing from the basic concepts in debate to the tested-and-successful methods for putting together your case, cross-examination, rebuttal, and summary.
Many of the basic-concepts videos are free, but a subscription is required to view our advanced-concepts videos.
An individual subscription involves a one-time registration fee of $15 plus monthly access fees of $5, for ongoing access to all of our videos for as long as you maintain your monthly dues. Subscribers are also given access to online judged-debate opportunities and potential regional tournaments (additional fees apply). If you end your subscription and wish to resubscribe, the registration fee would be required again. Handbooks are $15 each and cover the material in the videos. (You do not need to be a subscriber to order handbooks.)
UP TO 10 MEMBERS: This Coach-and-Club subscription involves a one-time registration fee of $29.95 plus monthly dues of $10 which gives the coach 10 sign-in credentials for his/her members. Debate League handbooks are sold separately for $15 each, or $10 when purchasing ten or more. (You do not need to be a subscriber to order handbooks.)
UP TO 20 MEMBERS: This Coach-and-Club subscription involves a one-time registration fee of $29.95 plus monthly dues of $20 which gives the coach 20 sign-in credentials for his/her members. Debate League handbooks are sold separately for $15 each, or $10 when purchasing ten or more. (You do not need to be a subscriber to order handbooks.)
No. We cap member credentials at twenty because we believe strongly that the coach-to-member ratio should be as low as possible.
It’s easy! Sign in using your Coach credentials, and click on the “Manage Members” link. There you can add and remove members.
Absolutely! Whether within the same family, or amongst homeschool friends, you can either set the kids loose on the videos and let them create their own debating society, or you can be their coach and help them develop their skills. Writing a “Constructive” is akin to writing a college essay!
Yes! They work great for debate camps and workshops. You can show the videos during the sessions and/or assign videos to view at home, with accompanying homework.
Begin by viewing all of our training videos, preferably in the order they are presented on our site. While this information is also in our handbooks, most subscribers have said they learn best through the videos. The videos that teach you about the major components of debate – forming your case (called your “Constructive”), conducting effective “Cross-Examination,” refuting your opponents’ case in your “Rebuttal,” and providing a “Summary” of the debate, clarifying how you won – are available with a subscription. The judge or judges for the debate can be your debate coach, teacher, a friend, or one of our online judges that you can email a video of your debate to, or schedule your debate live with one of our judges.
This video shows debaters (aged 10, 13, 15) with just 4 months of experience using our program.
We have been developing the program since 2015 and began the video trainings in 2019.
Debate League was founded by Julia Morgan (seen in the videos), a youth public speaking coach since 2008. Many of the families whose children attended her clubs and workshops expressed an interest in debate, so she began researching debate and testing it in her new Debate League clubs in California. Her 17 year old son, Price T. Morgan, a Speakers League club mentor and chairperson, himself, co-coached the clubs. After several years with only Debate League coaching experience, Price made his first foray into competing in debate, participating in his first ever tournament with the SMU debate team, having joined the team as a senior. As someone who had never debated competitively before, he was placed in novice and won his first Tournament in IPDA debate. Shortly after, he was moved to JV and went on to win the National Championship at that level. As a senior he won four tournaments including the national title and, in his final tournament, won in the Pro division, generally reserved for graduate students and coaches. His experience and consultation added greatly to the Debate League format and materials.
Experienced coaches will appreciate the capability of these videos to quickly get new members on board, and to develop novices, saving time and club resources. The videos also allow students to regularly review what they need to improve on.
Yes! You will learn with the videos, too! All of the training videos you need to get started are here, and we will continue to add more to the library based on our research and customer requests.
Also, we have downloadable debate-judging forms to make judging easier.
No! Whatever style you participate in can be helped by our training material. However, you may need to make small adaptations to the specifics of your style.
In our team’s experience judging middle school through college debate, any debater who adopts our methods will be ahead of most debaters in any of these programs.
We plan to have a page to connect interested debaters who can then debate through video streaming. Any third party can act as judge.
If you don’t have someone to judge your debate, we can schedule one of our judges to judge your debate live, or you can submit a video to us to have judged. Debaters will receive an RFD (reason for decision) and feedback form. There is an additional charge for judging services.
No. If you use the Debate League format, we don’t involve ourselves in your topic choices. However, subscribers do have access to our large list of debate and sparring topics.
Depending on your group and time available, you can consider doing any combination of debate games and exercises (available with a quick Google search), debate sparring (short debates that require little to no prep-time), and/or full scheduled debates. We do not specify a club format. Our materials can also work well for debate societies that simply come together to do debates.
We don’t get involved with how you use our curriculum or debate format, so you are welcome to run clubs or tournaments.
No. The curriculum and format we offer is called Debate League, but you do not need to call your club a Debate League club, unless you want to.
That’s up to you. We don’t determine how you use the materials or what you charge others, if you plan to coach or tutor, or whatever.
If you purchase an individual or coach-and-club subscription, you can use your log-in credentials to sign into your account. There you can click the button that says “Cancel My Account” and you will receive a confirmation that your billing will stop, effective immediately. Subscription fees paid prior to canceling your account are non-refundable.
When you number your arguments clearly, for the judge, you are taking an important step toward winning your debates. But, it’s more than that. Watch to find out why.
This video introduces you to the basics of note-taking in debate, called “flowing.”
The first step in preparing for a debate is to examine the resolution and figure out what is actually being debated. You’ll break down the wording of the resolution and determine definitions and meanings of the words and phrasing of the topic.
Once you have a good understanding of the meaning of the resolution, it’s time to start reading and learning about the topic. This video gives you suggested tools and techniques to effectively learn about your topic from high-quality sources.
In this video we go over how to structure the reasons that you will give for why your side should win the debate. These are the heart of your Constructive/case.
Framework is the method you want the judge to use to decide the debate. In this video we talk about different frameworks and the importance of tying the Framework to the resolution.
Judges are often predisposed to think a utilitarian outlook leads you to justify any means necessary to achieve your goals. The trolley problem illustrates some of the ethical concerns about utilitarianism.
Now you are ready to put the full Constructive together, including introductory remarks, definitions, observations, framework, contentions, recap, and closing remarks.
Your judge and your opponent will see you as more knowledgable and confident when you use the techniques in this video.
Half of debate is persuasion, the other half is presentation. In this video we cover presentation techniques that will improve your success in debate.
Cross-Examination, also known as Cross-Ex, CX, and Crossfire, is the question-and-answer portion of the debate. Here you’ll learn what to question, how to question, and how to effectively respond to questions.
In this video you will learn about blocks (pre-written responses), plus the five steps to an effective rebuttal, including eight effective attacks that can make your line-by-line rebuttal hard to beat.
The Summary speech is where you give the judge an overview of the debate and show them why you won. We show you the five steps, particularly emphasizing how to weigh impacts and provide Voters, that is, a list of reasons why you won, to the judge.
In this video we talk about the effectiveness of adopting the “Educator” or “Curious Analyst” persona during a debate.
When should you take prep-time?
In this video, we discuss how to choose in the coin toss (used to decide which side of the debate you will be debating, and whether your team will speak first or second).