I should not judge Brookfield East.

I have coached LD for about 30 years at West Bend East and, most recently, Brookfield East. I have had numerous national qualifiers, some who have broken to elimination rounds. This includes one national runner-up. I think I know what I'm doing.

Now for the stuff you really care about. Persuasive communication is key. I am not an information processor -- that's what the debaters are suppose to do. While I don't make my decisions based solely on speaking style, this is an important component of LD. You can't persuade me if you're busy gasping for air. You should also consider that it takes time to process arguments. If you go so fast as to make that difficult, it won't bode well for you.

Each debater has the responsibility to persuade me that the resolution is either true or false. I prefer this happen with a few well developed arguments rather than many underdeveloped ones. I do not vote based on quantity. Quality is much more important. While I think I keep a pretty good flow, line-by-line is not key for me. I prefer to think of LD as dueling oratories. Give me the details on two or three stellar points and leave the trivial for another debate. At the end of the negative rebuttal and the second affirmative rebuttal I expect to be given voters. Why should I prefer you to your opponent?

LD is values debate. Therefore, the value and value criterion are important. Debaters should show me how their value will be obtained through their criterion and then relate their case to that criterion. If a debater can show me that their opponent's criterion won't achieve the value or that their case better achieves the opponent's value, then the decision is easy. In rounds where there is no values debate, I have to look to the specific cases and which does a better job of defending their position on the resolution. While philosophy plays an important role in developing arguments, there must also be a practical side to the debate especially with the current resolution.

While evidence isn't the be all and end all of LD, your arguments should be accompanied by warrants. Then give me an impact. Please weigh your arguments. Why is what you're telling me important to the round? If you don't, I have to do it for you and you might not like the results. Besides, I'm really lazy and don't want to have to work hard at doing what you should have done.

If you have more specific questions, don't be afraid to ask.