Mastering the Rebuttals

What are rebuttals? These are the speeches that answer the arguments of the opponent, building upon the materials from constructives.

First, remember the benefits of diversification. It’s less compelling to focus all of your arguments on one part of your opponent’s position or to make only one type of argument. This makes it more likely that your opponent can group your responses, taking them out with one fell swoop. It’s better to make a diverse set of arguments (answers to the link, answers to uniqueness, answers to the impact, etc.) to pressure your opponent in different places.

Second, always prioritize your own offense. You read a case for a reason! It’s unstrategic to spend so much of your time rebutting your opponent’s points that you neglect your own. Often, strong rebuttals are highly positional, bringing the debate back to the debater’s own case. This will involve efficiently neutralizing the other side’s arguments while resoundingly winning one’s own while doing weighing or impact calculus to prioritize one’s own arguments.

Third, for the 1AR, try to set up multiple outs for the 2AR. The scary thing about the 2NR is that it reacts to 1AR missteps and has 6 minutes to win offense and close the door on the best 2AR. Leaving yourself multiple options can “split the 2NR” and allow you to be the first one to resoundingly collapse in the 2AR.