New Coach Quick Start Guide

Welcome! You have joined the ranks of coaches at more than 3,000 schools in the most highly regarded speech and debate Honor Society. We are so excited that you are helping shape how students prepare for college, career, and life. As a member, you have access to an amazing community of support along with resources that will help you explore what this activity has to offer. 

The guides and resources on this page are designed to introduce you to competitive speech and debate, team management, and all you can do with a membership. If you have a question not answered here, please contact us. We’re here to help you!

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Take the Intro to NSDA Coaching Course

Learn the ins and outs of coaching in our free Intro to NSDA Coaching course! This course is hosted on our learning management system, NSDA Learn, where you can enroll in courses and complete them at your leisure. Intro to NSDA Coaching covers many of the basics of NSDA membership including:
  • What are NSDA merit points and why are they important?
  • What can I do to start the season well?
  • How do I learn more about NSDA points, events, and rules?
  • What is Nationals and how do students qualify?
  • What are other forms of recognition through the NSDA?
Coach with students

Favorite Resources

Access all the materials needed for a semester-long Speech 1 course.

Teacher in a Box – Intro to Public Speaking

All the resources needed to introduce Public Forum Debate to students.

Teacher in a Box – Public Forum Debate – Unit Overview

Gain insight by watching the best in the nation perform in National Tournament final round videos from the archives.

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Read helpful tips for fundraising for your speech and debate team!

Fundraising Guide for Speech and Debate Teams

Check out the latest practice questions for International and United States Extemp. We release a new set every month!

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Our Purpose

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We connect support, and inspire a diverse community committed to empowering students through competitive speech and debate. Learn more about our mission and vision.

Our History

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Read a brief history of how we’ve supported speech and debate since 1925.

Who We Are

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Our experienced staff is available to help answer all your speech and debate questions or connect you with local support.

Membership Overview

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Read an explanation of school, coach, and student memberships.

Competition Events Guide

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Read overview of each event and pick up competitive tips.

About the Honor Society

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Learn about earning distinction in the NSDA Honor Society.

Points Entry

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An explanation of merit points, how to enter them, and why they matter.

Local, District, and National Tournaments

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Learn the ropes with overviews of what to expect at local competition, district tournaments, and Nationals. 

Member Resources

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Learn about resources you can access as an NSDA member and where to find them.

Recognition Opportunities

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Explore how coaches, students, and schools can earn recognition in our Honor Society.

Rules Overview

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Read an overview of the Unified Manual, which outlines the Association’s governing rules.  

New Coach FAQ

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Your first stop for all membership questions!

Glossary

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As with any specialized activity, jargon and abbreviations pervade speech and debate activities. Download this guide to learn more.

How to Start a Team

Starting a Team - Group of students and their coach

Find the resources you need to advocate for a new program.

Team Recruitment Strategies

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Recruitment is necessary to build a successful program. Get the guide to building your program.

Attending Your First Tournament

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Tournaments are the best method for getting new students hooked on speech and debate. 

How to Host a Tournament

Students talking at a tournament

Find the tools you need to host your first tournament.

Roles and Permissions

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Brief description of the three main roles on an NSDA speech and debate team and what each group can see on their account dashboards.

Helpful Links

Join

To get started, sign up your school. If you already have an account, log in here.

Resources

Search helpful resources to learn about and teach the competition events.

Rules

Learn more about the NSDA rules including event descriptions and time limits.

Honor Society

Read up on the Honor Society, including student, coach, and school recognition.

Entering Points

Watch this helpful gif for a demonstration of entering points.. Already know the ropes? Log in to get started.

Judge Training

Find tips and resources for judges including training videos, sample ballots, and more.

Fundraising

Check out our fundraising guide for ideas to raise money for your team.

Professional Development

Explore professional development opportunities for coaches and educators.

Resource Spotlight

Learn what to expect competing in a variety of speech and debate events. Each one-page guide features unique student and alumni perspectives from across the country. Great tips for new coaches and students alike!

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