Whether its on the joyoftournaments.com website or on tabroom.com, every tournament has a schedule. There are a couple of notable things on each schedule. Let’s look at this schedule for example.
First, the non-debate events are usually split into multiple groups called Patterns. For every event in each pattern, they will have rounds occur at the same time as each of the other events. So if you had an event in Pattern A and an Debate event, you’d be busy on Friday at 4:30. 6:00 and 7:30.
Second, for every event, you will have multiple rounds. For every event, based on the tournament, will have a set number preliminary rounds (or prelims), followed by outrounds, in which the best teams/speakers from the preliminary rounds compete. The number of outrounds varies based on the size of the tournament. Some of the biggest tournaments have even seen teams competing in Triple Octofinals (Top 32)! Thus, if you were a really good debater, you’d be focused on the times of Round 1 and 2 on Friday on the sample tournament above, as well as Round 3, Round 4, and the outrounds on Saturday. Look at the page of any specific tournament to see how their tournament is structured. Third, when a student competes in multiple events in the same Pattern, they are considered cross-entered. Every tournament has rules against cross-entry as they usually slow down the tournament. Some even ban competing in two different events from two different Patterns. You should always try to compete in as much as possible, but be cognizant of specific rules against cross-entry.
In order to make a tournament run, schools depend on the goodwill of judges, whether its community members, parents, or lifelong speech and debaters. Make sure you understand how judging works at your tournament.
Usually, for every set number of entries, you will gain an obligation to send a judge to that tournament. This means that the more people you enter into a tournament, the more people you will have to find to come judge at the tournament. A lot of times, if you can’t find a judge, you or the tournament will have to hire a judge. This could mean paying a hefty judging fee to help the tournament find a paid judge. The cheapest method is always to get your team’s parents or college friends to volunteer.
Be sure to remember that there is a judge deadline. If you can’t find and register a judge by this deadline, a number of entries will be dropped or removed from the tournament.
Paperwork and Logistics
There’s a lot of paperwork you should have ready. This is a shortlist of what is always necessary but be sure to check with your school to see if there’s any specific policies within your school.
Have an attendance sheet of students and their events. Take attendance at the beginning and end of each day.
Make sure any medical forms and essential paperwork is ready. Ask your administration for their policy.
If students are missing class make sure you share the attendance list with the office. Many schools also have policies on school affiliated events and attendance.
Be super clear on your school’s liability policies. Many things could go wrong on a trip, and schools will shut your club down if it isn’t protected from risks.
Make sure you have transportation forms as well. Once again check your schools policy.
Attending tournaments will cost you money, especially because these tournaments are often fundraisers for other debate teams. Here’s what to expect.
Entry fee: Tournaments will charge you per entry into their tournament. They will provide fee information for how much each entry for each event will cost.
Uncovered Judge fee: If you can’t find a judge, the tournament will hire one for you. This will cost you money School Entry fee: This is the general fee for entering the tournament
Late Drop fee: If you enter a student, who then cannot go to the tournament, you can drop(remove) his entry before a certain deadline listed on the tournament’s website, but if done after that deadline, you will have to pay a fee. To avoid this, do not sign up people without their permission and if something urgent suddenly comes up, have a replacement who can fill in their spot.
Fees are an important part of tournament registration. Make sure you plan your tournaments in a way that won’t strain your club’s finances and do your best to limit fees.
Independent Entry Some tournaments allow for independent entry. Using this option is useful in terms of going to places in which your school doesn’t endorse you to go to or you don’t have a sponsor to take you. If you are careful enough to avoid making your administration mad, you can act as an independent entry to many tournaments. You would go through the same registration process but without affiliating it to your school and independently find transportation and lodging. Oftentimes, you need signed paperwork from your school to go to some tournaments as an independent. Make sure you check the tournament website to see their specific policy about independent entry.