Things to think about

We must not forget the debaters themselves! The first thing to note is that not all debaters can go to WSDC, not just because of the five-person team limit, but because of other logistical constraints. Some students won’t be willing to give up their daily piano lessons just to prepare and practice for debates, others will have a physics competition or their sister’s wedding the same week as WSDC and others will feel that they can’t afford it. The most important thing is to let debaters know what kind of commitment you’re asking of them before they try out for the team.

Are you going to meet with the team once a week for five months before WSDC? Are you going to meet three times a week for one month? Are you not going to meet at all until you fly into the host nation a week before the tournament begins so you can practice as a team there? All of these options exist and it is important that all the debaters who apply for team know what kind of commitment they will need to make. They should also know the maximum amount of money they will need to pay for the tournament and the dates they will be expected to be abroad.

Once the students are aware of the requirements, they can make an informed decision on whether or not they want to try out for the team. It can be unhelpful and disruptive to the team dynamic if a debater decides to withdraw after he or she has been selected and been through the full training process and yet it does happen so this should be factored into your selection criteria. You want to pick debaters who don’t just have an aptitude for debating but who are enthusiastic and totally committed to being part of a team and representing their nation at an international level.