Q: What will I be competing in at a tournament?

Through the hyperlinks below, you can find descriptions of the events and videos of example performances.

Congressional Debate

Interpretation: Duet Acting, Duo Interpretation, Dramatic Interpretation, Humorous Interpretation, Poetry, Program Oral Interpretation, Prose

Limited Preparatory Speaking: (Domestic, Foreign, and Novice) Extemporaneous Speaking, Impromptu Speaking

Platform Speaking: Informative Speaking, Original Oratory


Q: How much will I pay for tournaments?

For the day of the tournament, you will need money for food. The team will cover tournament entry fees, travel, hotel, flight, and judging costs. The team will also cover ancillary event costs (visual aids for Informative; black binders and slicks for Prose, Poetry, & POI; subscriptions for Extemp.).

If you sign up to go to a tournament and are registered, the school will pay the entry fee. YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR ALL DROP FEES (and possibly late fees). Drop fees are usually twice the original entry fee for each event. They can be more.

You will need to purchase your clothing, and that expense can be prohibitive. If you need help with a suit or professional attire, please ask Mr. Rivera. There are a ton of often unknown options.


Q: What is appropriate dress?

Look at the following guides:


Q: Can I go home early if I’m eliminated?

If you’re observing rounds, go home whenever you want. If you’re at you’re first tournament, yes, but I’d recommend against it.

Any other tournament — unless you have specifically cleared leaving early or there is some major issue (illness, family emergency, etc.) — no. This is the speech TEAM, and I expect you to support your teammates in their rounds of competition. Remember, a good audience member can make the difference in a performance. Be that good audience member.


Q: Do tournaments really last that long?

If by that long, you mean “all day Saturday,” then yes, they do.

Austin tournaments (usually) start with us meeting at CSA at 6:30 A.M. for 8:00 A.M. rounds. Why that early? Well, we need to drive there, we have to do vocal warm-ups, and our extempers need to be in draw 30 minutes before the round goes off.

Awards start at around 9:00 P.M., meaning we won’t get out until around 10:00.

This is the loose schedule for Austin tournaments. San Antonio tournaments usually start earlier and end later. And that’s nothing to say for the big, multi-day tournaments. TFA State is three days long. NSDA Nationals is five days long.

If you’re going to do the activity, understand that speech is a time commitment.


Q: Where can my parents find out results?

Twitter for day of tournament results. — @CSASpeech

Facebook for post-tournament recaps.


Q: How do I sign up for coaching sessions?

There are a number of different types of sessions. Every week, Mr. F. Rivera will post a session sign-up every week. Sign up there. Returning members — especially team officers and event heads — will post weekly sign-ups. Guest coaches might also occasionally offer sessions. Check the Speech Team’s Google Classroom page for those sessions.

For Mr. F. Rivera’s sessions …

  • You may only pre-schedule one 1-hour session or two 30-minute sessions every week. This is to try and get as many team members into sessions as possible.
  • The “6:ooPM Rule”: if not all of tomorrow’s sessions are taken, you may sign up for as many as you want after 6:00PM. This may put you over your “one 1-hour or two 30-minute limit.” That’s perfectly fine.
  • The “10:00PM Rule”: no new sessions should be added to the following day’s schedule after 10:00PM.

Mr. M. Rivera, Mr. Barnett, and Ms. Greenwell might also be available for coaching sessions. They’re phenomenal resources. Use them if they have the time!