New Coach FAQ
I’m a new coach. Whom can I contact about starting a team?
Experienced coaches are eager to talk to new coaches. Your district chair may be able to help you find a mentor coach. You may also use our online coaching resources for useful documentation on how to start your team successfully.
How can I find schools in my area that compete in speech and debate?
Contact your district chair for more information. To view contact information for your local leadership, visit staging.speechanddebate.org/district-leadership-directory.
I used to compete in the Association years ago. How can I find my record?
We’re so glad you’ve continued your journey with speech and debate! An instructor who obtained membership as a student maintains all of their student points toward their coaching record. An advisor or coach with permissions (See Roles) at your linked school can connect your coach and student records.
- On the Coaches tab of the School Roster page, click “Add Coach”
- Either enter the student information (first name, last name, state) or the student ID number and search.
- The student record will come up with the school listed and the points listed and then click the “Transfer” box and then “Confirm”.
- This transfers the student to the school roster but as a coach with all of their points from their HS record.
If you graduated prior to 1996, you will not be in our system but will be in our paper files. Please send an email to email@example.com with your name, the school and state you coach at, as well as your name when you graduated from high school, the school and state you graduated from, and the grad year. Once we have this information, we can manually add your high school points to your new coaching record.
My school is burdened financially. Are there grants available?
Thanks to a generous three-year grant from the John Templeton Foundation, the NSDA can provide financial support to programs wishing to hold a Big Questions event or tournament. We also offer first-year discounts to programs which inquire, and discounts for Title I programs are available. Our Schools Supporting Schools program allows coaches to make specific requests that other schools may be able to meet. Applications for NSDA membership assistance or other funding requests are available here.
Leadership roles in the NSDA
At the local level, the NSDA is represented by District Committees, of which there are 111. The five committee members, led by a district chair, are elected by the advisors of active NSDA schools every two years to serve in this role. Each district holds its own district tournament, the qualifying tournament for Nationals for high school students, and finds ways to support the growth and development of local programs. High schools are assigned a district after joining the organization.
District leadership elections are held every two years, in odd-numbered years. In the election, each chapter advisor may cast a ballot online for members of the District Committee from a list of coaches who are active (affiliated with a school) in the district. Each school has one vote.
Other, less formal options for leadership exist at the National Tournament and through resource creation or member feedback groups throughout the year. Volunteers are essential to maximizing our output as a nonprofit organization! Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to be considered for this type of contribution.
What are the first things I should do after joining?
- Take our Intro to NSDA Coaching course! The free course walks through the basics of NSDA membership. To enroll, visit staging.speechanddebate.org/learn.
- Connect with your district chair to learn about local customs, find a mentor, or chat about upcoming tournaments.
- Explore competition events at staging.speechanddebate.org/competition-events to see descriptions of events, sample videos, and explanations from students.
- Prepare to recruit members for your team or attend your first tournament with guides available at staging.speechanddebate.org/new-coach-quick-start-guide.
- Purchase your school and student memberships and enter points for your students as they earn them!
What are the eligibility requirements for entering the NSDA district tournament?
Only member students from NSDA schools are eligible to compete. Students must be NSDA members with a Degree of Merit (at least 25 points in the honor society). Complete details for School Eligibility and Entry Limits begin on page 65 of the Unified Manual. Complete Student Eligibility and Requirements begin on page 66.
I’m unsure about a rule. How do I get a clarification?
There are some casebook scenarios that are part of the Unified Manual which may shed light on how rules are interpreted. However, you can always email email@example.com to get a clarification after reading the manual.
Read answers to more of our Frequently Asked Questions at staging.speechanddebate.org/faq/#signup-renew