As DEBATE grows More complex…
Fewer schools are able to provide adequate coaching and other resources for debaters to achieve their goals. It's nearly impossible to succeed at the highest echelons of debate without a knowledgeable coach, dedicated teammates, and deep backfiles. Even with those things, and even with summer institute experience, it can be isolating, discouraging, and difficult to compete alone, or with a team that is small or not primarily focused on your event.
Many families turn to private coaching arrangements to fill these gaps. But it's hard to navigate this landscape: there's little by way of quality control, compensation scales, background checks, supervision, or oversight. Companies that sell access to shared preparation groups may be filled with dozens of debaters, who may be expected to turn away from their fledgling debate teams and to pay extra for key growth opportunities.
That's why we started VBI Squads.
Each Squad is led by two expert, background-checked instructors trained at the Victory Briefs Institute, the nation's most successful summer debate workshop, and is capped at twelve debaters. Squads don't just share topic preparation; they function as teams, with regular coach-led practices, privatesessions, and practice rounds. Each Squad's preparation is siloed from the others, so you don't have to worry about twenty or thirty other students running your arguments against you, or running them before you even get a chance to break them.
Our aim is not to replace school-based debate teams, but to help make them stronger. Students with school-based coaches are required to get coach approval to participate, and they are encouraged to share materials they create (and only those materials) with other debaters at their school. At the end of each topic, each Squad will share their topic-specific preparation with the broader debate community. And, in accordance with VBI's commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion along all dimensions of debate, Squads will provide financial assistance for debaters who lack the financial resources to afford expensive private coaching.