What Sets Us Apart

Why DebateDrills? Because we are obsessed with the art of debate. We’ve spent tens of thousands of hours thinking about how to teach the core skills required to be an excellent debater: public speaking, critical thinking, position writing, and strategic decision making.  Since founding, our students and staff have dominated the competitive results. Our students regularly champion the most competitive debate tournaments and round robins in the United States and they all have their unique styles. We have a proven track record of helping you excel in the types of debates that you want to pursue.

The results speak for themselves. Every year, the best students - of all ages and backgrounds - come to us from across the United States to help them hone their debating skillsets. We are subject matter experts in all-things competitive debate, and we are excited to continue pushing the boundaries of innovation and argumentation in academic debate.

Mission

Our mission is to provide world-class resources to accelerate the growth of learners interested in argumentation, logic, public speaking, and interscholastic speech and debate. We have personally experienced and benefited the life-changing benefits in improving key skills such as public speaking, writing, deep research, critical thinking, and effective collaboration.

Using innovative and personalized methods to help each learner reach their potential, DebateDrills offers comprehensive, world-class instruction in the form of both our award-winning private coaching services and our thoughtfully designed and easily accessible free resources for learners of all ages, skill levels, and goals.

DebateDrills students pose for a picture at a tournament

Background

Hi!

Thank you for visiting our website and taking time to peruse our offerings. My name is Paras Kumar. I started DebateDrills to provide the type of resources I wish I had access to when I was a high schooler interested in Academic Debate at Rancho Bernardo High School in San Diego, California from 2007-2011.
 
Effective debate coaching helps learners quickly diagnose and fix "unknown unknowns". We help our students work smarter and cut the amount of time they need to invest to achieve success. Every staff member has a proven track record of excellence and will coach you the way I wish I was coached when I was a student.


Warmly,
Paras Kumar | Founder

A close up picture of DebateDrills' founder, Paras Kumar

Values

Throughout everything we do, DebateDrills students, coaches, and staff are guided by a core set of values. Click on a value below to learn more about us.

Individual Attention

Modern, academic debate is difficult and has a significant barrier to entry. We have found that students learn optimally when they receive individual attention from subject matter experts. We are committed to teaching debate and argumentation in individualized settings. We know from first hand experience as competitors and elite coaches that nothing beats personalized learning plans tailored to your unique needs, and we pride ourselves on having individualized education be front and center in all of our offerings.

Form Over Content

Our goal is to teach students how to think, not what to think. We equip our students to tackle a wide range of complex issues through a rigorous teaching methodology. Our staff comes from a wide range of ideological preferences and is committed to teaching our students how to willingly and meaningfully discuss, engage and appreciate all “types” and “styles” of argumentation. This prepares our students to take different stances in competitive debate and to develop their own goals and opinions to become more effective civic citizens and community leaders.

Process Over Results

We are process oriented, not results oriented. We think about and approach teaching argumentation, logic, and debate as a journey, not as a destination. Our individual and collective experience has repeatedly proven to us that the byproduct of excellence is success, and we are fixated on teaching our students how to become excellent at the process of debate. We believe the results follow naturally.

Respect and Integrity

We care deeply about teaching and competing with respect and integrity. Though competitions can get heated, we believe that our ethical obligation as educators and coaches require us to be role-models for our students no matter the situation. Accordingly, we carry ourselves with grace in both victory and defeat and refuse to partake in practices that are common amongst our colleagues at debate competitions. That’s why you won’t hear us yelling or hassling judges at competitions.

Transparency

We believe debate as an activity is best when coaches and students are willing to compete with transparency. Our students regularly lead the push for promoting transparent debate practices, such as uniformly open-source disclosing positions we read at debate tournaments and posting round reports.

Mental Health and Headspace

Our approach to learning and competition is holistic. Wins and losses are temporary, but lessons learned from competitive debate last a lifetime. We regularly discuss and teach our students how to handle and deal with the natural anxiety and fear of failure that accompanies high-stress competition. From breathing exercises to meditation to positive affirmations, as a collective, we recognize and regularly focus on the value of mental health and healthy habits for competition.

Fun :)

Last, but certainly not least, we are dedicated to learning, practicing, and teaching academic debate because we love the activity and think it’s fun. This reflects in our teaching practices, be it through tutoring sessions that run longer than intended because we’ve lost track of time or our preparation services where we are constantly discussing and thinking about innovative strategies and arguments. At our core, everyone who works for DebateDrills fell in love with the game of debate and we never lose sight of the fact that we are so lucky to be able to fly all over the country and compete.

Notable Students

The best debaters in the country consistently seek DebateDrills' expertise. Regardless of what “style” or debate event you want to excel in, we will help you rapidly improve. We will challenge you to improve technically, think more critically, and help fill in holes in your research and strategies. The results speak for themselves - we have extensively coached students who have achieved success at the highest levels of Varsity competition in the United States:

•Aisha Sheikh (2017 Harvard Varsity LD Invitational | 9th Place)
•Ari Azbel (2017 New York City Varsity LD Invitational | 1st Place)
•Asher Towner (2019 Long Beach Varsity LD Invitational | 1st Place)
• Brennan Caruthers (2013 California Varsity LD Round Robin | 1st Place)
• Carolyn Zou (2017 Walt Whitman Varsity LD Invitational | 1st Place)
• Eric Deng (2017 TOC Varsity LD | 9th Place)
• Ishan Bhatt (2019 TOC Varsity LD | 1st Place)
• Jackson Lallas (2015 TOC Varsity LD | 5th Place)
• Jacob Pritt (2012 TOC Varsity LD | 1st Speaker)
• Jonathan Jeong (2020 Voices Round Robin Varsity LD | 2nd Place)
• Jong Hak Won (2017 Stanford Varsity LD | 2nd Place)
• Katherine Fennell (2016 Glenbrooks Varsity LD Invitational | 3rd Place)
• Kristen Arnold (2018 Alta Varsity LD Invitational | 1st Place)
• Matthew Chen (2018 Lexington Varsity LD Invitational | 1st Place)
• Meera Sehgal (2020 Voices Round Robin Varsity LD | 1st Place)
• Muhammed Khattak (2017 Valley Varsity LD Invitational | 1st Place)
• Parker Whitfill (2017 TOC Varsity LD | 1st Place)
• Regan Grishaber (2012 TOC Varsity LD | 3rd Place)
• Rex Evans (2018 TOC Varsity LD | 2nd Place)
• Sekou Cisse (2017 UC Berkeley Varsity LD Invitational | 2nd Place)
• Tej Gedela (2020 Stanford Varsity LD Invitational | 1st Place)

National Champion Ishan Bhatt (right) and Rex Evans (Octofinalist) at the 2019 TOC