The Summer Bootcamp

Our foundational, all-purpose debate trainer. Builds core skills to understand and systematically attack opposing arguments. An emphasis on application, with examples drawn from policy arguments, current events, and philosophy.

This is our flagship program (also run under the title "Refutation Bootcamp"), which focuses on the key argumentative concepts and skills for success at high-level Lincoln-Douglas debate.

Topics Covered:

  • Mastering argument structure 
  • Attacking the link and the impact
  • Effectively comparing evidence
  • Understanding and controlling uniqueness
  • Efficient and strategic weighing
  • Mastering persuasion and style

PROGRAM DETAILS

Dates: July 31-August 4
Meets daily 7:30-9:30pm EST (4:30-6:30pm PST).

Tuition: $395, includes class webinars, materials and assignments, written assignments feedback, and significant program and file discount opportunities. Or $545 with additional 3 x 40-minute one-on-one drill sessions (flexibly scheduled). Seats limited.


Bootcamp Lead Instructor

 

Bennett Eckert


As a student at Greenhill, Bennett was a 3-time Texas Forensic Association State Tournament champion and the 2016 National Speech and Debate Association's national champion. He also won the Glenbrooks, Apple Valley, St. Mark’s, Meadows, the Greenhill Round Robin, and the Apple Valley Round Robin. Bennett will be a sophomore at Northwestern University in the Fall.

 

Bootcamp Registration

A reminder to please email us if you are interested in our small schools discounts! We also offer:

1. Master Toolbox Discount: When you sign up for any program, grab our popular Theory and Philosophy Master Toolbox files with up to 40% off! Just add it to your registration and files will be delivered shortly.

2. Referral Discount: If you think our Academy is a great way to learn about debate, refer your friends and teammates! For each sign up you refer, we’ll take another 10% off one of your bootcamps, up to 100%. Discounts applied after checkout.

Questions about our programs? Please don't hesitate to get in touch with us! Please also review our cancellation policy. Date/time availability dependent on demand; will reach out in advance if needed.

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Bootcamp Overview

Mastering argument structure and comparing advocacies

What is an argument and how can you break it down into its key components? What are link chains and basic argument analyses? Learn how to understand an argument’s logical steps to identify the argument’s weaknesses. Master a framework for understanding in-round arguments – how do policy arguments fit in to Lincoln Douglas debate topics, which are often much broader than a specific policy? What does it mean to “compare advocacies”? 

Attacking the link and the impact

How do you refute arguments? How do “turns” work -- both against the link and the impact? Learn how to generate and apply the key tools in the refutation toolbox. The tools will help you in any debate and will be particularly helpful in answering policy-style “disads.” 

Effectively comparing evidence

What makes a piece of evidence good? How can you spot weaknesses in your opponent’s evidence? When you and your opponent make contradictory claims, learn how to convince the judge that your evidence is correct. Strong evidence comparison skills will improve your research process and help you win the debate.

Understanding and controlling uniqueness

What is “uniqueness,” why is it so crucial, and how do you generate and control it? Even advanced debaters struggle with this, but we’ll teach you how to use uniqueness to beat arguments without even having to challenge links or impacts. Understanding uniqueness will also help you strengthen the assumptions behind your own arguments. 

Efficient and strategic weighing

What are the different forms of “weighing” and argument comparison, and when you should you employ them? How can you use weighing to win even if you don’t have good answers to your opponent’s claims? Answer the debate’s central question: why your side is better, not just good.

Mastering persuasion and style

Strong delivery can often be as important as argument quality in determining the debate’s outcome. How will you persuade judges to vote for you? Learn how to polish your performance (and increase your speaker points) by making your refutation maximally convincing. 

Need these skills? Reserve your spot today!

About Our Programs

Our programs are intensive, focused courses designed to help you master a specific and essential debate skill. We're a group of experienced instructors who believe that by carefully designing classes and making them available online, we can guarantee better instruction at a lower cost. To ensure this, all our programs feature interactive webinars with premier instructors, specially designed course materials and metrics, individualized and in-depth feedback, and one-on-one personal coaching.

How exactly does it work?

You'll begin with one of your regular classes with a premier instructor, who will answer your and your peers' questions about an essential topic and tell you what you need to know, all from the comfort of your own home. These'll be group classes so that we can guarantee you will learn from the very best instructor to be teaching the topic. Each class is then followed with homework assignments, designed especially for your course to guide you through the material. You'll receive individualized feedback on each piece of your work. Instructors will be reachable before, during, and after class should you have a question about the material or about your feedback. Finally, if you opt for a drill package, you'll schedule one-on-one sessions throughout the program to practice your new skills with targeted drills. The class is fast-paced but tells you exactly what you need to know – in just a short amount of time, you'll have mastered a new debate skill!

Have to miss a class? Not to worry! All our classes are also recorded should you need it. Seats are always limited to ensure highest-quality instruction. Get the training you need – sign up now!

VC Academy Scholarship

Consistent with our mission, we want to make our programs accessible to all students, regardless of background. Both need-based and merit-based scholarships are available, especially for small schools. Please don't hesitate to get in touch if you are interested in our scholarship program!