One Clap Speech and Debate Podcast

Long Winter's Clap 10: Policy Debate Event Overview (Feat. CX Tips from Jeremiah Etcheverry)

February 27, 2021 Lyle Wiley / Jeremiah Etcheverry Season 2 Episode 44
One Clap Speech and Debate Podcast
Long Winter's Clap 10: Policy Debate Event Overview (Feat. CX Tips from Jeremiah Etcheverry)
Show Notes Transcript

Welcome to A Long Winter's Clap: 12 Days of Speech and Debate Event Overviews and Resources.  Today's event is the classic long-form team debate - Policy Debate, and we've been gifted some excellent tips and ideas from Rock Springs Policy Debate Coach  Jeremiah Etcheverry - a tortured debate genius with some great thoughts to share!  Be sure to check out Jeremiah's tips and other resources for Policy Debaters on our website.

If you have any ideas or requests for topics to explore on the One Clap Podcast, shoot Lyle an email at [email protected] or check out our blog and social media here:
One Clap Website:
Facebook: @oneclappodcast
Instagram: @one_clap_podcast

Be sure to subscribe, rate, and review the One Clap Podcast.  Watch for new episodes of One Clap, Rock On! Debate, Coach Connection, and Speech Love!

Support the show (

Greetings, friends!

Lyle here - your procrastinating, animal crossing lovin’, donut devourin’ host of the One Clap Speech and Debate Podcast.  I come once again bearing Winter gifts!

Welcome to A Long Winter’s Clap - 12 Days Speech and Debate Event Overviews.  Now, some of you may quickly point out that the Holiday season is over, and I would generally agree.  However, Winter is officially here until mid-March.  So, let’s keep these episodes rolling!

For these eps, One Clap is serving up event overviews and resources that I hope will be helpful for novice judges, coaches, or competitors.  

What is going down with these Winter episodes?  Well, for each ep I will provide a quick overview of the chosen event, a couple of spicy and sweet tips for each event from expert coaches or competitors, and links to helpful resources to help you rock your performance on our website.  These overviews are not meant to be comprehensive, but should hopefully give you some information on each event and then provide resources for an independent deep dive for listeners.

Settle in for a helpful event-overview gift for your speech-loving ears from One Clap Speech and Debate!

Policy Debate
Aka Cross Examination Debate
Aka CX Debate
Aka Policy
Aka CX
Policy Debate is a two-on-two long-form debate that is common to both high school and college debaters.  While it has a bit of a reputation for being complicated or intense and it does include a fair amount of jargon and nuance, the basics of policy debate are relatively simple.  

Here is a description straight from the NSDA:
“Policy debate is a two-on-two debate where an affirmative team proposes a plan and the negative team argues why that plan should not be adopted. The topic for policy debate changes annually, so debaters throughout the course of the year will debate the same topic..”

For example, the topic for this year is: 
Resolved: The United States federal government should enact substantial criminal justice reform in the United States in one or more of the following: forensic science, policing, sentencing.
The topic for the upcoming 2021-2022 season is:
Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially increase its protection of water resources in the United States.

I’m certainly not going to attempt to explain the ins and outs of Policy Debate in a quick topic overview… but I will say that a really great Policy round is thrilling: full of dynamic debate, evidence presentation, long-form speeches, and numerous opportunities for cross-examination clash.  At its core, Policy is not super complicated: The affirmative’s job is to identify the problem, propose a solution to that problem, explain the benefits of that solution, and then ultimately explain why their proposed solution actually will do something to resolve that problem.  The negative’s job is to do the opposite - explain why there isn't the problem, why the problem isn't that bad, or why the proposed solution won't work.  This is a debate that is a magical fit for many competitors who find a great mix of competition, argumentation, deep dive into a specific topic with rigorous research, community building, and endless argumentation variation.

Here are some quick and helpful tips for Policy Debaters from supergenius and debate enthusiast -- Jeremiah Etcheverry, Rock Springs HS Policy Debate Coach:

Try on lots of different hats…

As a debater, engage in all the different types of policy debate. Run the ‘K’, read the politics DA and counterplans that shield the link, go for topicality and just try everything before you determine what type of debater you are…what your identity as a debater is going to be. Not only will you better understand all different types of debates, but you will also find what your truly passionate about in this activity. 

Always ask yourself this: What questions are my opponents trying to answer with their argument and evidence…

In debate, it is essential that we are thesis finders and hypothesis testers. Look to a macro-understanding of what each argument is and why it is being presented in the particular speech. What is your opponent getting or attempting to get from the argument; each debater must be able to ask and answer this question. Moreover, debate is not about proving that you are right or your opponent is wrong, but testing the notions of knowledge and truth being presented by the opposing team. Doing this will open up the participants understanding of the arguments being made and how to question that rhetoric. 

Argue the internals of the evidence, not the taglines to your evidence…

Learn this skill early that we are not debating taglines in policy debate but we participating in a comparative analysis of evidence to determine appropriate policy actions. Evidence is used in this activity to support claims that are being made, this is the key underpinning of this debate in and of itself. Being able to extend argumentation via the internals and analyzing the internals meticulously will not only increase your creditability in round, but will also win you more debates, all the while making you a better researcher as well. 

Cut more cards…

Research, research and more research. This is so important, constant research will exponentially increase your ability to compete at high levels in this activity. Knowledge building surrounding the topic will give you the advantage in the praxis of debate, but will also mean that you will generate quantitatively more evidence and evidence that is nuanced. 

Do not be afraid to lose; only be afraid of self-defeat…

Losing is not negative in this event. Losing in the mechanism by which participants should self-evaluate, reflect on the comments of the judges and reflect on their decisions made during the debate. Policy debate is not something that is learned quickly or can ever fully be known. In a long history in this event, it is safe to say, that at each tournament, I, as a coach, judge and former competitor, learn and grow in some facet. As a competitor, one must be able to also know that the round ‘they should have won’ may also be a round that has made them better for their next round, or has motivated them for that inevitable next round. 

Hey!  I bet you loved Germ’s tips for CXers…. And I bet you want more from Jeremiah.  I’ll link to his awesome One Clap interview with Hanna Crockett and myself last year.  I’ll also be linking to all sorts of good stuff from Cheyenne East Policy Coach Jeff Pope who put together a nine episode introduction to Policy Debate on One Clap.  Additionally, I’ll link to more Policy Debate resources on!   If you have or know of more resources for students, coaches, or judges - reach out and let me know.  I’ll link to these resources on the website as well! 

If you have an idea or a request for One Clap Speech and Debate, shoot me an email at [email protected] or reach out on the One Clap Speech and Debate Podcast website or social media - linked in the show notes.

This Year, maybe consider supporting One Clap Speech and Debate by checking out our patreon page linked in the show notes.  You can partner with me on this journey for as little as 1 dollar a month and stop patronage at any time!

Be sure to subscribe, rate, and review the One Clap Podcast wherever you listen!  Watch for new episodes of One Clap, Rock On! Debate, Coach Connection, Speech Love, and the last two episodes of Long Winter’s Clap!

Thank you for listening, best of luck to everyone out there competing at tournaments from One Clap!