Dave Arnett is the Director of Debate at the University of Kentucky. Before arriving at Kentucky, Dave was the Director of Debate at UC Berkeley for twelve years. On 14 occasions, his teams have been ranked in the top 16 (US), including 10 top five teams, and 3 overall number one rankings. His teams have won almost every major college tournament in the US including Dartmouth, Harvard, Northwestern, and Wake Forest. He has coached a national championship team as well as two runner-ups. Dave was selected the National Coach of the Year on two separate occasions (2009, 2015). This year, Dave has had two separate teams ranked in the top 16 of the national debate coaches poll. He has over twenty years of experience teaching high school students.
“Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”
— Will Durant
The most important thing I can say about how to win a tournament can be summed up by the above quote. Winning isn’t about a single moment in time. It isn’t about the announcement of a decision by the judges. It isn’t about a trophy. Winning is a process. It is a series of “winning moves and behaviors”. The real value of debate is only realized by those that engage in this process. And for those that do choose to
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