Coaching a speech and debate team is very rewarding. WACFL is fortunate to have experienced coaches that can help you start a team, develop student leaders and answer any questions you may have. In most cases, school administration is happy to support this valuable activity, both as a course and extra-curricular activity.

Here's a few things for new coaches to know:

  • When starting a new program, schools often have a single coach for both the Speech and Debate teams. Over time, as your team grows, you may want to have separate coaches for Speech and Debate.
  • At tournaments, WACFL requires that teams have a school-authorized adult on-site at all times. Usually this is the team coach, but schools can authorize additional people to be the on-site representative. These designated adults are there to address any emergencies that may arise with your team, such as an illness or accident. Designated adults should have appropriate emergency contact information for their students and school administration. Full contact information for these people is provided when you submit your application for membership.
  • Upon membership, WACFL will invite you to join our Slack channel, which is how we will notify coaches of important information.
  • Teams are required to supply trained judges proportional to the number of students entered at each tournament Often, judges are parents of student competitors. Some of the best judges are people that participated in speech or debate in high school or college. As you think about growing your team, also think about recruiting adults willing to judge. Current high school students are not allowed to judge at WACFL tournaments.

Occasionally, schools will need to hire a judge to meet their obligations. WACFL maintains relationships with local collegiate speech and debate teams, so we may be able to help you find a judge for hire. Here are some other places you may be able to find a judge.