Forensics Tournaments: Should I Double Enter?

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A forensics competitor’s biggest concern, after deciding to commit to a season of speech and debate, is to decide in what event they wish to compete. For some, this is a rather simple decision. They know exactly what they want, have no desire to alter from that plan, and are perfectly content and exhilarated to focus on that event. And this is a wonderful, acceptable way to approach an upcoming season.

However, there are some who do not yet know which is THEIR event. There are some who are a “Renaissance Man/Woman” and want to dabble in a little bit of everything. This is also a wonderful, acceptable way to compete as well, provided attention and energy is dully given to flourish in multiple events. The act of being double entered can be one of the best decisions a competitor makes in their speech and debate career. Here’s why.

Find YOUR Event
When entering into the realm of speech and debate, not everyone knows in what event they could show the most promise. Nor might they know what they would enjoy the most. The simplest way to try new events would be to select two of interest and double enter in them for a few tournaments at the beginning of the year. Granted, some events are easier to prepare for than others (being ready for Humorous Interpretation, for instance, takes more preparation than entering into Impromptu—though, Impromptu offers its own set of challenges and anxieties to be sure!). But that should not be a deterrent!

Choose one event to be the “constant” or “main” (an event presumably that will not change for the season due to personal interests) and select another to be the “experimental” or “secondary.” A secondary event could be in the same category as the main (speaking – speaking events), or a secondary event could be in a whole different category (speaking – acting / speaking – debate). Having a main event with an auxiliary, that may or may not alter during the season, makes it easier for a competitor to really develop themselves and possibly place in one event, while having an opportunity to discover what other event(s) are of interest. Besides, that secondary event could turn out to be another passion, and hey, now a competitor has two events to dominate within!

Better Your Chances to Place
Double entering can be a terrific strategic move for speech and debate competitors who already know what events they adore. Why? Double entering increases a person’s odds of placing at a tournament. Be forewarned! Double entering does mean double the work load. However, as long as an individual is willing to invest the proper time for both events, then they truly can become a notable forensicator on the circuit that is a “double threat.”

Double Your Networking
Obviously, being a double entered competitor means that the amount of speechies and debaters encountered in round has now increased. For people that love being social butterflies, or for those who merely love viewing performances/debate, double entering could be heaven. Part of tournament excitement is talking to others enthused with forensics and watching them perform. While people can be met in the hallways or at the commons, waiting for a round to begin, most people encounter and make friends while in round. Chit-chatting with “the competition” prior to and after a round can be tremendous fun. Many friends are made waiting for a judge to enter the room. Choosing to be double entered only doubles the chances of this happening!

Expand Your Abilities
Needless to say, if a competitor is double entered, then they will be forced to expand their skill-set for competition. Preparing for Declamation requires different performance/interpretative skills than what is required for a Duo piece or Public Forum or Extemporaneous Speaking. And so on. But this sort of variation could be an amazing way to challenge a person and develop them as a competitor and intellectual. Exploring new ways to think and tackle content forces an individual to develop themselves and see the world in a new manner. For those that like to feel challenged and pushed to their limits, being doubled entered could be an exhilarating experience.

Boost Your Confidence
Doing something that is “out-of-the-ordinary” and “out-of-the-comfort-zone” might be horrifying to some, but to others it is what motivates them. Speech and debate competitors who double enter can easily find themselves in situations they might have never experienced before—and they love it! One side-effect of overcoming anything is the confidence and empowerment that blossoms from defeating the unknown. It is glorious to discover new abilities within yourself you had never dreamed you possessed. This increased confidence and ease can lead to stronger performances and a higher potential of placing at rounds.

Help Your Team
Speech and debate competitors who double enter are also helping out their teammates; especially if they are members of a small team. Because double entering increases the possibility of a competitor placing, a team therefore increases their potential to win a team award. More points on the board are always a positive. Small teams can win team awards provided their team is composed of determined, strong-performing, double entered speechies and debaters. Imagine the positives that can come from a strong performance of a team! It boosts the team’s confidence. It boosts the presence of a team at competition. It boosts the presence of a speech/debate team at a school, which can lead to more students interested in joining! Overall, double entering can be a win-win for everybody.

Word of Advice…
Being double entered can be a large time commitment. It is not all puppy dogs and double rainbows. If you wish to succeed and make it worthwhile, be prepared to work extra hours, take on more running around to rounds at tourneys, and be prepared for the stress that is inherent with these extras. It will be hard. It will be tiresome. It will be demanding. But it can be a rewarding experience and totally worth everything and leave you wanting more.

Double entering might not be for every competitor, but for some it could be the best commitment they ever made—outside of joining their speech and debate team at the beginning of a season. While it has its pros and cons, if entered into willingly and approached with diligence, it can be the most exciting experience in speech and debate.

Good luck future double entered warriors!

I double entered when I competed, and I thought it was one of the best decisions I ever made. I loved the busy schedule and getting to have fun doing more than one event.

I love double entering! It's double the chance to break!

:) :)

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