Things to do before a tourney even begins.

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When you first arrive to a tournament there are a number of things that should be on your to-do list. Assuming your team arrives at the tourney with a reasonable amount of “down” time, these simple acts should be accomplished with little to no stress spent fretting over time. Of course, in order to do most of these things you need to wait until you have your tournament information (times and locations of rounds), but once that knowledge is given you are golden.

1. Fill-out all critique sheets with as much information as you can as soon as you are given your code and other stats of the day. Having the sheets filled out prior to the start of the tourney frees up time for you and leaves you one less thing to worry about. Also, if your round gets out late you do not have to waste the time of the round you are heading into by having everything filled-out. It’s just a time saver for all involved.

2. Make a mental map of the school and where you need to be. Pregame your path to every room you need to get to so you do not get lost. This can take some time walking around the school before the tourney even begins, but this initial walk saves time later in the day. Imagine having an extra five minutes prior to a round to warm-up?! This basic time-saver could be the key to getting you in the mood to compete and to win rounds. This also elevates the stress associated with being lost going to the next round. And who needs more stress when your act is going to be critiqued?

3. Scope out the rooms you are competing in. This is especially important if you do an event that involves movement. What kind of space is available for performance? Does anything need to be moved around so you and the audience are comfortable? Is your room missing two chairs and a table (Duet people)? Does the room make any weird noises or do you need to amp your volume to be heard over loud appliances? Know your space so your performance does not suffer!

4. While you’re looking at the room, you should also be writing your information up on the board for the judge. Walking into a round at the start of a round and writing the vital stats your judge needs looks unprofessional and wastes time. Besides, you are already scoping the room; just get this out of the way and look like Varsity.

5. Warm-up. You should always warm-up before each round anyway (stretch the face, warm the vocal chords, re-acquaint yourself with blocking/facials/vocals, etc), but you never know if you will have time before a round to do this so before the tournament even starts take some time to do a thorough warm-up and get your blood pumping. The first round can often be the toughest because it is early and most high school students typically do not get up at 5 or 6 AM on a Saturday.

6. Check your essentials of the day. Does your water bottle need refilled? Do you have a pen, is your cell phone turned off, do you have your critique sheets on you, etc.? Anything you need for the day, make sure it is all there, where you need it, and in proper order. It is a terrible feeling to be sitting in a round wishing you had something.

7. Eat breakfast. It’s the most important meal of the day for a reason. How do you expect to expend energy when your body has none in it? Fuel yourself and you’ll be alert, energized, and with a non-grumbly tummy all day. Note, do not over eat or you might want to go back to bed!

These steps comprise a basic check-list of essentials every speechie should be doing before the tourney even begins. There might be other things important to you. Maybe you pray? Maybe your team has a motivational meeting? Perhaps you need to jam to a special song? Whatever it is you need to do, DO IT! Being prepared and on-top of your game will keep your tournament day running smoothly and lead to maximum enjoyment.

I couldnt agree more; especially with number 3 and 7. You have to be comfortable with your speaking environment and food is fuel!

The people that check to see if rooms are set up properly or to see if they are adequate might be in a hurry or not know what to look for in regards to that event's needs. It is YOUR responsibility to make the room as near perfect as it can and to compensate for any difficult situations (noises). You cannot blame the room for how you scored.

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