Early in the year, you want to set up and hold a meeting with your team’s parents and students. This meeting is to help parents understand the world of debate a little better, and if new coaches would feel more comfortable having a veteran coach or two along to help answer technical questions and explain debate to these parents and students, that’s not a problem (just ask someone you trust and give enough advance notice). Debate in general would be discussed; some coaches include a tournament attire “fashion show” (more information on tournament attire below) as well. Usually, students should receive a packet of important paperwork the first week or two of classes; if it’s a live meeting, it’s good to have several notaries in attendance to take care of some of the official paperwork required for tournament participation.
Along with getting to know how the debate and forensic forum operates, this meeting has other advantages. It will be a great opportunity to meet other debate parents (varsity and novice alike), to form (if needed) future car pool contacts for local and regional tournaments (when in-person tournaments are allowed), to find out about the tournament dress code, and to learn some very key rules about debate tournaments and decorum. Because teams need volunteers for everything from judging debate events at tournaments and chaperones at overnight competitions to helping when hosting a tournament to donating food and drinks for debate events, this is an ideal time to find out more about how parents can help positively impact their child’s participation in the phenomenal world of debate and forensic arts.