All team members, regardless of talent, have the potential to be successful in speech! Practice is the key to unlock this potential. To improve practices, students should consider changes in two dimensions:
- Quantity – simply increase the number of practices each week.
- Quality – make improvements in how you practice to make your practice time more efficient, such as practicing in tournament shoes; video taping and critiquing yourself; practicing in front of a friend or family member; practicing with a captain.
The following are the minimum expectations for team members:
- Attend All Team Meetings. New for 2020-21, we will shift these to Zoom on Monday evenings. Attendance is taken, and you earn points toward your letter by attending.
- One practice per week with a coach for a minimum of 30 minutes is required. Students who miss their weekly practice with their coach without being excused, will be penalized letter points. New for 2020-21, all practices will be held online.
- Captains will also provide opportunities for students to practice with each week. These are a good opportunity for students to increase both quality and quantity of their practices each week. Speakers must practice with a captain at least 3 times during the season to earn their Letter. New for 2020-21, all practices will be held online.
- All team members are expected to practice on their own daily outside of the weekly coaching session. As a general rule of thumb, for each minute of a speech, the student should practice at least 30 minutes each week. That means for a 10 minute speech, students should practice 5 hours each week; for a 7 minute speech, students should practice 3.5 hours each week.
New for 2020-21, we will not provide folders for students on the team, since we are mainly planning for online practices and tournaments. Team members should still consider keeping their materials organized. This includes electronic files as well as any physical materials. During practices, a student will be expected to have available (if applicable):
- An up-to-date copy of their script (even if the team member has the script memorized),
- Storytelling or Extemporaneous Reading selections list
- Topic outline for Discussion or Extemporaneous Speaking.
Additionally, the following should be brought to every practice for students in the pertinent categories:
- Chromebook or laptop for all categories
- Storytelling books/binders
- Extemporaneous Reading books/binders
- Research files (Discussion & Extemporaneous Speaking), if not electronic
- Notecards (Extemporaneous Speaking)
- Visual aids and easels (Informative)
If a team member is absent from school on the day of his or her practice, it is considered an excused absence, as long as every effort is made to reschedule the practice. The team member is expected to make contact with their coach, ideally via email, voicemail, or text message the day of the absence.
In general, coaches are required to be contacted by phone (voice or text), or in person at least 1 hour prior to missing a group, individual, or team practice. It is up to the student to try and reschedule with their coach.