Some Advice for Students Competing at NFL Nats
Tyler Fabbri was last year’s NFL national champion in United States Extemporaneous Speaking and was a finalist in 2009. He provides some tips in this piece for extempers who will be competing at the 2011 NFL National Tournament in less than two weeks in Dallas, Texas. The following excerpted article appears on DebateChamps' sister website Extemp Central. We think it's great advice for not only limited prepers at NFL Nats but all competitors as well.
by Tyler Fabbri.
With NFL Nationals creeping around the corner, I expect the anxiety is mounting a bit for everyone. Whether Dallas is your first or fourth NFL tournament, there are a few basic things to keep in mind to make this year’s trip the best it can be. This may be an incoherent rambling, but take from it what you can!
First of all, don’t waste all of your energy on pre-tournament preparation. Yes, making sure you are ready is good, but spending 8 hours a day on extemp is torture. Make sure you still have the enthusiasm you need come tournament time instead of burning out before you even get to Texas. So, look over the topic areas that the NFL releases, think those over (I think Extemp Central does a solid breakdown of these), and see what type of research you’ll need. Work until you’re comfortable with what you have done, and then try relaxing.
Second, and generally this is obvious, you need to make sure you pack what clothes you need. Obviously you need the clothing, but make sure you have the shoes, belts, and other necessities. Appearances are important, so look professional. Also meaning, make sure everything is appropriate. Mickey Mouse ties are cool for coaches, but stick with something more conservative. And bowties are for weddings and proms, so try to be taken seriously.
Anyway, now to the real stuff. You need to warm up before the first rounds of the day. Remember, this is probably the judge’s first round too, so if you can look sharp right out of the gate, the judge will appreciate it. Say some tongue twisters, do some vocal exercises, or anything to get you loose and ready to go. If your speech is your first time talking that day, I guarantee that it will show. Obviously, stay loose during the long breaks between rounds, too.