DebateDrills Club Team

Why Join The Club Team?

Rex Evans (Finalist) and Eric Deng (Outrounds) hold their trophies from the TOC

*Click here to view our 2019-2020 Club Team Roster and conflict policy.* 

Students that lack access to elite debate coaching are at a significant competitive disadvantage compared to their peers. Elite coaches help students think through strategies, find high-quality evidence, write strategic cases, and think through strategies that can tip the scale to win big debates. DebateDrills was founded to help balance this disparity. Our Club Team consists of highly-motivated students across the country that produce high-quality files in a closed-loop network using a file sharing application called Dropbox. 

Based off overwhelmingly positive feedback and the debate achievements of the team, this service has expanded every year since 2014. To ensure high quality service, there is a cap on the number of students we accept every year. The 2019-2020 Club Team has 32 students and 11 coaches who will manage the direction and contents of the Club Team. 

This team attracts students from all over the US with all types of debate style preferences, ensuring that prep is holistic and diverse, with a combination of high quality cases in every major form of debate (e.g. util, theory, framework, and critiques). Each member of our coaching staff has a different area of expertise, ensuring that students have a subject matter expert to approach at all times. Members on the team have historically experienced significantly more competitive success due to the depth and intensity of preparation they receive. 

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Joining the DebateDrills Private Club Team will help you take your career to the next level. Here’s a brief snapshot of the major benefits—click on a tab to learn more:

Each coach will hand-write at least one major affirmative or negative position on every topic in their areas of expertise, giving each student on the Club Team exclusive access to five major positions on the topic that are written by coaches with proven track records of success, in addition to all the other prep produced by students. 

We aim to only accept debaters on to the Club Team who are serious about competitive success—as a result, every person on the team works hard and produces valuable prep. Instead of having 2-3 teammates that help you prep for a topic, you’ll now have 20+ teammates working in harmony and divvying up the most pressing assignments according to each person’s strengths as a researcher. “The best part about joining the Club Team was hands down the prep, specifically the diversity of it. The sheer number of good debaters on the team ensures that you have numerous positions from every side of the library (Util, Kritikal, Framework, Theory, etc).” –Parker Whitfill, 2017 TOC Champion, Phoenix Country Day HS ‘17

Last season our Club Team consisted of debaters from California, Arizona, Texas, New Jersey, Florida, North Carolina, Washington, and New York. Using a messaging application called Slack, the debaters and coaches on the team regularly communicated with each other about all things debate, allowing for robust organic conversation to develop where students asked questions and received real-time feedback and support throughout the season. Alumni have consistently told us this is one of the most underrated parts of being on the team. “I think the best thing about the Debatedrills Club Team was the community/family I was able to meet. The mix of debaters that included debaters who topped the bid list to debaters who were just trying to get their first bid really motivated me to never stop trying.”–Aisha Sheikh, 9th Place 2017 Harvard Invitational, George Ranch HS ’17

Having teammates across the country gives you the chance to have practice debates with teammates who don’t compete in the same region as you, giving you exposure to a wide variety of debate styles. This ensures that every student on our Club Team is more successful when they travel to tournaments outside their region. Coaches on the Club Team will sometimes judge these debates and will often provide written feedback, allowing for optimal improvement. “Having a lot of teammates to do practice rounds with was really helpful…It was great having constant check-ups on preparation and getting easy materials to do redos with – i.e. the rounds.” -Matthew Chen, Champion of 2018 Lexington Invitational + Strake Jesuit RR + Sunvitational RR + TFA State, Strake Jesuit HS ‘18

Each coach on the Club Team is a subject-matter expert in a different aspect of debate. Within a week of the topic being released, every coach will upload a 20-30-minute topic analysis where they discuss a) what they anticipate debates to look like, b) major positions and strategies they have brainstormed, and c) give a comprehensive historical analysis of the topic. Additionally, each coach will circulate a reading list of helpful articles to get started on topic research. The coaching staff will also put out a mid-topic check video where they update the team on the trends we’ve observed through judging and talking to our colleagues and discuss how we as a team should adjust our strategies versus popular arguments. “The topic analysis meeting every two months were very helpful and made for very unique cases.” – Victor Luo, Arcadia HS ‘18

Lasting about an hour, every student gets a personalized 1:1 session with a coach before every tournament they attend, ensuring that they feel ready to compete. In these sessions, we synthesize all the preparation the team has, discuss strategy vs. common positions, and answer any questions the student has. Additionally, we provide each student a customized judge ranking form based on their individual strengths and weaknesses. How a debater ranks their judges before a tournament significantly affects chances of success. Some judges are better for certain styles than others, and we’ve mastered the algorithm by which computer software’s assign judges. This allows us to strategically prefer judges we want our students to debate in front of and maximize the probability that we get judges that suit the students’ style in important debates.

A very underrated part of joining the Club Team is getting help with your MJPs. The coaches help you do prefs strategically which both quickens the process and increases your chance of getting the judges you want in the back of the room.” – Parker Whitfill, 2017 TOC Champion, Phoenix Country Day HS ‘17

Winning major tournaments and qualifying to the TOC requires understanding the topic at a very in-depth level and from multiple perspectives. Often doing this work alone is daunting. We assign students tasks to complete based on their strengths as a researcher. This allows us to divvy up the seemingly never-ending amount of work that needs to be done into more bite-sized pieces that allow students to simultaneously thrive in other extra-curricular activities and school while also being competitive in National Circuit LD.

We have lined down, ready to use backfiles on every generic topic that can come up in a debate round that you can think of. From impact turns to answering every theory argument to answering every common normative philosophy to dealing with all type’s of Ks to topicality, our files are superior in quality and regularly updated. These files were hand-written by the coaches and their students over the years and have won countless important rounds.

We will assign optional drills students can complete and receive written feedback on. These drills will be similar to drills we run in private one on one tutoring sessions, allowing each student to get extra practice executing and implementing the preparation on the Club Team.

Once a month, we will assign optional readings on an important debate topic (such as Kantian philosophy or Deluze or International Relations) and hold an hour-long conference call to discuss the readings and synthesize the information, allowing students to work on conceptual gaps in their understanding.
Navigating high school national circuit debate can be daunting, especially if you are unfamiliar with the procedures used in the community for tournament registration. We will help you through this process and show you how to register for tournaments, in addition to helping you find judges and communicating with the tournament director as necessary.
TOC 2019: Club Team Members Ishan Bhatt, Rex Evans, and Tej Gedela with coaches Paras Kumar, Raffi Piliero, and Whit Jackson


Lucas, Paras, and Whit

Our coaching staff is like no other in the country. The 2019-2020 Club Team has close to a 3 student to 1 coach ratio, ensuring each student gets consistent access to personalized attention. Most coaches on the Club Team debated in elimination debates at the TOC, all of them have taught at major debate camps, and several of them have led the top labs at these camps. Several of us are competing extensively in college policy debate, ensuring our collective debate minds stay sharp and we continue to stay ahead of the game. We have strategically hired subject matter experts in every core content area and skill in contemporary debate. Raffi Piliero is a subject matter expert in util, theory, and critical debates. Whit Jackson is a subject matter expert in util, critical, and theory debates. Connor Engel is a subject matter expert in util and critical debates, in addition to studying philosophy in college. David Asafu-Adjaye is a subject matter expert in critical and util debates. Lindsey Dahms-Nolan is a subject matter expert in util debates. Rishabh Shah is a subject matter expert in theory and util debates. Daniel Luo is a subject matter expert in util debates. Emma Blum is a subject matter expert in lay debates and transitioning to circuit debate. Paras Kumar and Elyssa Alfieri will manage the logistics and administrative needs of the team, and will be assisted by a Harvard Law School graduate (Nicolette Roger). Ultimately, no matter your style of debate, someone on staff will be able to help you extensively. 

We will help you prepare for the resolution, lead the direction of content creation within the team, understand what the most popular positions will be and teach you how to respond to them. We are available constantly available via Slack to answer questions you have about all things debate, from substantive questions about debate strategy to logistic and administrative questions like how to sign up for tournaments.

Our track records of success as both competitors and coaches speaks for itself. The best debaters in the country consistently approach us year in year out to help them think through their strategies in our respective areas of expertise. We look forward to potentially working with you!


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What students are saying...

"Before joining the DebateDrills Club Team, I was a lone wolf debater so I produced all my own prep. After joining the team, the amount of prep I had increased at least 3-4 fold. That opened up a lot of variability for each round based on the opponent and the judge. Before joining I was usually pinned into a sub-optimal strategy because I just didn’t have the prep to compete, which was no longer an issue once I joined the team."

Parker Whitfill
1st place + 3rd speaker, 2017 Tournament of Champions

"There is nothing comparable to the DebateDrills Club Team anywhere else in the country. I honestly can’t imagine how my last year in debate would have gone without it. I can guarantee that if you join, it will be the single best decision you make in your debate career."

Jong Hak Won
2nd place 2017 Stanford Invitational, 3rd place 2017 Berkeley Invitational, 17th place 2017 TOC

"Without the DebateDrills Club Team, I don’t think I would’ve ever dreamed of late elims at any bid tournaments. The support you get from not only the coaches but your team is unreal. As a lone wolf debater that didn’t really have a team, a dozen coaches, and an enormous amount of prep to count on, the DebateDrills Club Team really helped me feel like I finally was a part of the debate community."

Aisha Sheikh
9th place 2017 Harvard Invitational

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Yes. In order to create a high-quality resource for the Club Team, it must be a closed loop and everyone must contribute their share. The three most important rules are a) you must agree to be 100% transparent, i.e. everything you produce must go on the dropbox, b) you must agree to not share any content on the dropbox with anyone in the debate community who is not part of the Club Team, with the sole exception of prep you produce and share with your school teammates, and c) you must agree to carry your own weight prep-wise. We assign case positions, blocks, and research to each student depending on their strengths and thus the Club Team becomes holistic, with a combination of high quality util, critical, and framework oriented cases.

We do not view our services as a replacement for school teams. You have to get permission from your school coach to join - this has historically not been an issue, as we've had students from established programs such as Strake Jesuit Preperatory School join our team. We are happy to sit and talk with your school administrators about their concerns about joining our Club Team.

Definitely! We anticipate posting screenshots and links to files you can download after the 2019 TOC is finished. In the meantime, we encourage you to check out the wiki's of some of our top debaters this year, including Ishan Bhatt (St. Andrews), Rex Evans (Santa Monica), Tej Gedela (Enloe), Kristen Arnold (Pinnacle), Carolyn Zou (Pennsbury), Asher Towner (Stanford Online), and Jason Chan (Arcadia). 

Every year, we purposefully accept 3-4 novices. We want to create a team atmosphere where more experienced debaters have the opportunity to also work with less experienced debaters since teaching is the best form of learning. We are confident you will be pleasantly surprised by how approachable all of the “good” debaters on the Club Team are, and how much you learn through the year. We strongly encourage you to apply even if you think you are not good enough—the whole point of the Club Team is we will help you get better!

The only discount we offer is to returning students. We recognize debate can be expensive and we encourage you to utilize our free resources if this service is outside your budget.  

We will make exceptions on a case-by-case basis, but in general, we will strongly prioritize accepting students who do not hire other coaches and instead are 100% committed to the Club Team. We have a strong desire to create a sense of community within members on the team, and that’s best done when everyone is fully committed to working together.

Membership on the Club Team does not include private tutoring sessions or on-site coaching. We believe that having top-notch preparation is vital to success, but we also know that preparation is less helpful if students don’t feel comfortable executing in high-pressure situations. Over the years, we have noticed that students who maintain a consistent practice schedule experience the most success, and accordingly, we will strongly prioritize applications from students who indicate they are willing to supplement their work on the Club Team with private tutoring.

Above all, we want students who love debate as much as we do and are hungry to improve. Having a proven track record of enthusiasm is the most important factor we look at. We also strongly prefer students who want to be coached and are open to receiving and implementing constructive criticism. Succeeding in circuit debate is difficult, so students who are 100% committed to this activity are prioritized.

We accept applications on a rolling basis and accept the strongest applicants first. We will try to turn around information to you within 2 weeks of applying, but please send a follow up email to if you have not heard from us after 2-3 weeks after applying. 

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DebateDrills at the 2019 TOC

Cost is $3695, all inclusive for the year, broken down as follows: $1100 for the September/October topic, $1100 for the November/December topic, and $1495 for the January/February topic (since it's the TOC topic and lasts longer/has more bid tournaments). 

This cost is equivalent to the cost of major 2 - 3 week summer camps, and we strongly believe that our services (which last for 8 months) will be much more helpful to your competitive success during the 2018-2019 season. Last year we ran out of space and had to turn students away. Spots are reserved on a first come, first serve basis so we encourage you to apply sooner rather than later. 



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Over the last 3 years, the DebateDrills Club Team has won the 2017 + 2019 TOC and finished 2nd at the 2018 TOC, won almost every prestigious round robin in the country, received over 80 bids to the TOC, had eight top 10 ranked students in the country, and had the majority of students advance to elimination debates at a bid tournament. You can see more information about our tournament win history in the Results section. Want this to be you?


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