Northwestern University Class of 2016
Cal Round Robin + Lexington Round Robin 2012 Co-Champion, VBT 2012 Finalist, Voices 2012 Champion, TOC 2012 Semifinalist + 5th speaker
There are hundreds of debate coaches throughout the circuit, but only one Paras Kumar. I worked with Paras extensively the summer before my senior year and leading up to the TOC, and based on that time I honestly believe Paras is the most unique and exceptional coach in the entire business. Most other coaches will offer card cutting, case writing, etc., but Paras is a coach in the truest sense of the word--he's not going to do the work for you, but he will teach you how to do your work in the simplest and most effective way possible. In my opinion, this is exactly the kind of person that debaters should look for in a teacher/coach/mentor.
For me in particular, I went to a small school with no existing debate program, and I started debate my junior year so just about everything in LD was new to me. I was so clueless when I first started out that I could have easily benefited from hiring someone to write me "TOC-caliber" cases and blocks and, in fact, that's essentially what I did my junior year. I actually started out fast--I broke at my very first varsity tournament and I never had a losing record--but my growth stagnated almost immediately. Just about every successful debater will tell you this, but it's true so it's always worth saying: the reality is that you will not improve with somebody else's backfiles. You might see short-term results with a litany of card-cutting resources, but if you really want to see personal long-term development, it takes an experienced, passionate teacher in the true sense of the word, like Paras, to get you there.
For these reasons, I have to attribute a large part of my own personal development in debate to Paras. At VBI, he spent hours each night simply talking with me about theory. Leading up to the TOC, he drilled with me every day, walking me through every tiny detail until I could finally give the speech perfectly. Every round I debated at the TOC I could feel myself utilizing tangible skills and tactics that Paras had taught me. Debate is an indescribably valuable activity if you take advantage of it the right way, so don't sell yourself short. If you are eager to learn and are willing to work hard, I really can't recommend the resources that Paras offers highly enough.