Mental stamina is an important component of debating well throughout a tournament. This should not be surprising since debate is a mental activity. Thinking quickly, arguing effectively, and staying focused round after round can take a lot of energy. However, that is not the only component of mental stamina. Staying emotionally focused is also important.
Mental stamina, in the sense of staying intellectually focused, is connected heavily to physical stamina. This makes sense; after all, our brains are part of our bodies. We know that eating food, drinking a lot of water, and getting an adequate amount of sleep applies can help us debate better. However, this isn’t all there is to staying intellectually focused.
Debate More: Using our brains for a long period of time is a lot like using other parts of our bodies. Just like athletes build up stamina by warming-up, practicing, and getting used to physical exertion, debaters gradually build their mental stamina. Going to debate practice, going to more tournaments, and preparing adequately by thinking through the difficult challenges that may happen in a debate can all help a debater maintain their mental stamina during tournaments.
Manage Your Emotions: Emotionally, debaters commonly face obstacles during debate tournaments. Facing challenging opponents, being disappointed in a speech that their partner gave, being upset at their own performance during a debate, losing a debate that a debater thinks they should have won, and other things are common experiences for debaters. Being disappointed is part of being human, and any competition will produce both joy and disappointment.
Every individual experiences emotions differently and should ultimately learn how to best manage them in a way that works for them. With that said, it is generally a good idea for debaters to focus on staying positive and goal oriented during a debate tournament. Instead of focusing on being upset or unhappy, a debater should turn their attention to how they can address the problem. Almost always, the solution is to prepare better for their next debates. In this way, debaters can obstacles as fuel that can motivate them to do better in the future.
The importance of increasing your mental stamina can’t be overstated. The best debaters have the ability to push through hardship, take losses in stride, and perform well under stress.