Resources for Coaches

Coaches, here are your high school level resources. Whether you’re looking for copies of MDL Core Files, lesson plans and instructional guides, administrative documents (like the MDL Permission Form), or recruitment materials, this is your one-stop shop.

Instructional Resources

The Basics

Blank Sample Flow

NAUDL Activities Manual

High School Speech Guide
A short reference handout that describes each speech, including how long it is and what it aims to accomplish. Might serve as a helpful cheat sheet for novices learning speeches.

Research Guides

How to Research and Write an Affirmative Case
An outline for researching and writing an affirmative case, produced by the National Association for Urban Debate Leagues. Miscellaneous, but useful tips are also featured.

How to Write Quality Arguments
An excellent hand-out produced by NAUDL that outlines: 1. The qualities of good evidence, 2. How to research evidence, 3. How to properly cite evidence, and 4. How to write argument briefs

Debate Handbooks

Debate Handbook
A guide for learning the rules and language of debate, produced by the National Association for Urban Debate Leagues.

Emory University Policy Debate Manual
A classic handbook outlining (almost) everything you need to know about policy debate. A top-rate instructional resource.

Handouts (HS)

Novice Quick Reference Guide
A short info sheet that contains a quick reference for a lot of the terminology novice debaters will encounter. Can’t remember what inherency is? Just check the quick reference guide. Don’t remember what the resolution is? Same thing. You get the idea. It also includes things like speech times, and a quick guide to interacting with judges.

Intro to Disadvantages
A two-page primer on the structure of a disadvantage and a synopsis of common affirmative answers. Courtesy of the St. Louis Urban Debate League.

Intro to Disadvantages 2
This piece goes more in depth.

Disadvantage Graphic Organizer Worksheet
A worksheet for students that graphically illustrates the connection between different parts of a disadvantage.

Timeline for Debate

Intro to Policy Debate
From Rufus King H.S.

Intro to Topicality
A four-page primer outlining the structure of a topicality violation and common affirmative answers. Courtesy of the St. Louis Urban Debate League.

Answering Topicality Handout
A handout outlining common affirmative answers to topicality.

Note: Additional information on DAs, CPs, and Topicality can also be found in the handbooks.

Argument Files, 2017-2018 – Coming soon

High School Core Files

Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially increase its funding and/or regulation of elementary and/or secondary education in the United States.

Files coming soon

Argument Files, Prior Year

High School Core Files, 2016-17

Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially increase its economic and/or diplomatic engagement with the People’s Republic of China.

Program Forms

Permission Form

To ensure the safety of each student, debaters must have a permission form on file with MDL to participate. Debaters can select the permission form link in the “For Debaters” section of the web site, or you can give them one at practice.


Character Contract

At MDL we want all of our participants to have a fun and enjoyable experience. To ensure everyone knows the rules, students are required to sign a Character Contract.

MDL Character contract

Video Resources

Demo Debate Video

Produced by the Emory National Debate Institute 2013, this demonstration debate on the South America topic is a great example of what a novice policy debate round looks like.

Demo Debate Video

Also produced by Emory debaters, this short 20 minute video shows a novice level debate round on last year’s ocean topic.

Instructional Video


Produced by the Logos Forensics Association, this is an excellent introduction to the flowing.  While they structure their cases differently (we generally do not include definitions and mandates in ours) their introduction to the mechanics of flowing is excellent.