How To Support Your Student In Speech & Debate

As parents, we all want the best opportunities for our children. Whether it’s a math class or a sport, we want to help our child succeed. For students who have developed a passion for Speech and Debate, it can be hard to know how to help your child succeed. If you are interested in learning more about how you can support your child in Speech and Debate, take a look at our top 3 tips written by national coaches!

1.) Get Involved!

This one seems simple at first glance, but a lot of parents don’t know where to start. Speech and Debate isn’t like a lot of extracurricular activities. With other activities, like sports for instance, parents know they can go to games or practices. What can you do to be involved in Speech and Debate as a parent?

For starters, you can attend tournaments – and you totally should! A lot of local tournaments rely on parents volunteering on the weekend to help set up operations, manage food sales, and even judge. This is a great way to get involved, and really only requires one or two days on the weekend out of the entire year. 

Other ways to become involved include attending team nights or parent meetings. Most Speech and Debate teams will host events like informational parent nights where parents are invited to learn more about the team and how it functions, or team nights where parents can get a glimpse of how their students perform. Another great way to be involved is to assist your student’s team in fundraising. For example, if the team is hosting a bake sale, you can offer to bake a batch of brownies to help contribute. Finally, you could become a board member or volunteer for the team’s boosters club. This can be a really helpful way for you to be an involved parent, while also meeting and networking with other Speech and Debate parents. All of these are great options. We recommend asking your student and/or their Speech and Debate team coach what the best ways to get involved are.

2.) Make Time & Financial Commitments!

Students who compete in Speech and Debate are going to require a lot of support both in the form of time and resources. For starters, students will have to attend practice after school, typically multiple times a week, as well as attending a tournament for competition multiple times a month. In addition to all of that, there are team nights, parent nights, team dinners, and more. They may need rides to/from these events or financial support to pay for food or entry fees. Your students’ involvement in Speech and Debate may require you to think and plan logistically to account for all of the events and activities that your child may be attending.

In addition to time commitments, your child is likely going to need certain materials. For example, students in Speech and Debate will typically need professional-wear clothing (such as a suit). Another major financial commitment to be aware of is the fees for attending tournaments. Typically, teams will require students to pay “dues” each year to cover the cost of their competition. A good way to know what your financial commitments are as a parent is to attend parent nights or reach out to the head coach to confirm these details. Knowing this information is important, as it allows you to plan ahead for any time and financial commitments you and your child may have in Speech and Debate.

3.) Take The Time To Learn!

Our last tip is to take some time to learn about Speech and Debate, and your child’s involvement in the activity. Learning about your students competition can give you a better understanding of what they do and how you can be supportive. For example, there are over a dozen different events they can compete in ranging from public speaking, to acting to debate.

You can also take the time to learn about what tournaments your student will be attending each season, where they typically compete (whether that is locally, across the state or even across the country), how often they compete, what their practice schedule looks like and more. In addition to this information, we recommend keeping in contact with your child’s coaches and the team’s social media. Great ways to do this include acquiring contact information for coaches on the team as well as following and liking the team’s social media, such as their Facebook or Instagram Page. Be sure to check for any updates on these platforms, as well as team information sent out via email campaigns, newsletters, the team websites, and more. 

No matter which of these recommendations you follow, taking the time to learn more about Speech and Debate is a great way to further support your child. If you have questions about anything we have discussed in this post, feel free to reach out to us here

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