Jackson Lallas

Stanford University, Class of 2019

Glenbrooks 2014 Finalist, Loyola Invitational 2014 Finalist, 3x TOC Participant, TOC 2015 Quarterfinalist + 4th speaker

I started working with Paras 3 months before the last and biggest tournament of my career, the 2015 TOC. I had already had a very successful debate season, but was astounded by how much he taught me in 3 short months. I wish I had started working with him earlier.  

The best part of his coaching was drilling. He had a ton of helpful drills to do – especially with theory and util debating – and provided feedback at every step along the way. I was not very confident at cost-benefit analysis debate (popularly referred to as util) when we started working together, but after 10 focused hours of drilling the link and impact level of util debates with Paras, I felt confident walking in to TOC that I could beat anyone on util. What was most impressive about drilling with Paras was how he would keep track of time spent on each area of the flow and break down my argument choices and time allocation after every speech. This was both incredibly helpful in improving technical debate skills and understanding strategy.

This strategic thinking is a core part of Paras’ coaching philosophy: debate is a game of time tradeoffs and argument allocation, and his goal is to help you find the optimal way to go about it in each speech. A main component of this is his work on crystallization and weighing for the judge, which was especially helpful in highly technical util and theory debates.

Lastly, he helped me think through every aspect of my expertise, theory debate. From how to win the line by line on theory shells to substantively weighing impacts to resolving paradigmatic issues quickly in round, Paras was the most knowledgable theory coach I ever worked with. There was a big focus on efficiency – for instance he made me write out arguments that I would normally make extemporaneous. This saved me in round prep time and allowed me to respond to theory spikes much faster than I had been, allowing me to focus on other aspects of the debate. Because I didn't feel confident executing high level framework debates, Paras taught me all the nuances and tricks behind the Affirmative Framework Choice theory debate at a depth and clarity that is still unbelievable, giving me a strategy I felt confident leveraging in the biggest rounds of the year at TOC. 

Anyone serious about debate (at any level) should get in touch with him and start working immediately.