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Strategy: Navigating the NCFL Grand National Tournament

by Monica Coscia

cflMonica Coscia competed in extemp for Montville Township High School in Montville, New Jersey. She was the 2014 NCFL National Champion in extemp, state runner-up in United States extemp, and the extemp CFL point leader for the Newark district. She also has broken at Yale, Princeton, and Harvard and has coached middle school forensics. Monica now studies political science and history in the honors program at Boston College and competes on the mock trial team.

The best part about winning the NCFL extemp championship wasn’t the trophy or the title. It wasn’t being the first national champion for my school and my amazing coach, although that was a close second. Rather, the legacy that I hope I left with my NCFL championship is the lesson that, even in the world of competitive speech and debate, the underdogs can win. CFL Nationals, unlike other prestigious tournaments like NSDA Nationals and the TOC, is anyone’s tournament to win. This is not to say that one can win the title without practice and effort, but you don’t necessarily need years of speech camp and tons of national tournament breaks to be successful here.  Sure, I had broken at a few national tournaments, finaled at states, and had been to NCFLs once before, but I had never broken past semis at a national tournament. It’s difficult to ignore the fact that people say I shouldn’t have won, but I would like to believe that this wasn’t a complete fluke. I knew who my audience was, and I catered to that audience. The key to this tournament is being cognizant of who you are speaking to, and gearing your already talented skill set to them. I hope that the following advice is even the least bit helpful to your participation in NCFLs, because anyone who truly dedicates his/herself to practicing for this tournament has the ability succeed here.
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Strategy: “Lone Wolf” Extemping

by Logan Scisco

strategyA large majority of extempers compete as part of a team.  They allocate cutting assignments for everyone on the squad, may critique each other’s speeches in practice, and provide moral support for each other tournaments.  However, there is another type of extemper:  the so-called “lone wolf.”  “Lone wolf” extempers compete on their own, not having a larger team to rely upon.  “Lone wolf” extempers are becoming increasingly common as more homeschool students have begun participating in extemporaneous speaking across the country.  This strategy piece will provide some tips on how “lone wolf” extempers can prosper.
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Strategy: Empathy and Extemp

Dylanby Dylan Adelman

Dylan Adelman competed for Lakeville South High School (MN) and was the 2014 NSDA Nationals runner-up and Final Round Champion in International Extemporaneous Speaking. He previously finished 7th and 11th place in the same category his junior and sophomore years, respectively. Dylan was also the 2014 Minnesota state champion in extemporaneous speaking, as well as the two-time state runner-up to former NSDA national champion Ashesh Rambachan (2012 and 2013). Dylan will be attending the University of Pennsylvania in the dual-degree Huntsman Program in International Studies & Business.
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Heading to NSDA Nationals? Read These NSDA (NFL) Nationals Preview Pieces from the Extemp Central Archives!

If you are an extemper headed to the National Speech and Debate Association (NSDA) National Tournament in a couple of weeks, you might find it helpful to read some past NFL Nationals strategy pieces by contributing authors to Extemp Central.  All of the contributing authors below were either NFL national champions or final round winners (Jared Odessky, Dylan Slinger, Tyler Fabbri, Stacey Chen, and Logan Scisco) or NFL national finalists (Omar Qureshi, Michael Garson, and Mark Royce).

2011 NFL National Champions Share Their Views on the Tournament by Jared Odessky & Dylan Slinger Part I
2011 NFL National Champions Share Their Views on the Tournament by Jared Odessky & Dylan Slinger Part II

NFL National Tournament Strategy Guide by Tyler Fabbri

NFL Nationals Strategy by Stacey Chen Part I
NFL Nationals Strategy by Stacey Chen Part II

Extemporaneous Speaking at NFL Nationals by Mark Royce

National Tournament Psychology by Omar Qureshi

NFL Roundtable by Logan Scisco, Michael Garson, and Mark Royce

Extemp Roundtable: 2011 NFL National Champions Share Their Views on the Tournament (Part 2)

Last year in Dallas, Texas, Dylan Slinger of Lakeville South High School in Minnesota and Jared Odessky of Nova High School in Florida were the National Forensic League National Champions in International and United States Extemporaneous Speaking. Both also won their respective final rounds at the tournament. Slinger also capped a unique season by winning the CFL and NFL national extemporaneous speaking titles, becoming just the third extemper to do so. In last season’s National Points Race, Slinger finished second and Odessky finished third. Both of them took the time to talk with Extemp Central about their high school careers and provide some advice for up and coming extempers and those attending this year’s NFL Nationals in Indianapolis, Indiana.

This is part two of a two part interview.
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Extemp Roundtable: 2011 NFL National Champions Share Their Views on the Tournament (Part 1)

Last year in Dallas, Texas, Dylan Slinger of Lakeville South High School in Minnesota and Jared Odessky of Nova High School in Florida were the National Forensic League National Champions in International and United States Extemporaneous Speaking. Both also won their respective final rounds at the tournament. Slinger also capped a unique season by winning the CFL and NFL national extemporaneous speaking titles, becoming just the third extemper to do so. In last season’s National Points Race, Slinger finished second and Odessky finished third. Both of them took the time to talk with Extemp Central about their high school careers and provide some advice for up and coming extempers and those attending this year’s NFL Nationals in Indianapolis, Indiana.

This is part one of a two part interview. The second part will be posted tomorrow.
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2011 Yale Invitational Preview

by Curan Mehra

Curan Mehra graduated from Scarsdale High School in Scardale, NY last spring and currently attends UC Berkeley. As an extemper he won the Yale Invitational, placed 6th at the MBA Round Robin, won the Columbia Invitational placed 2nd at the Harvard Invitational, and placed 4th in the International Extemp at NFLs. He’s incredibly grateful to his team, to his coach, and to the people who smiled at him in prep.

I sat down to type what I thought would be a succinct preview of the Yale Invitational. It turned into more of a morph between a preview and a general meditation on Extemp. I hope some of the tips are helpful, I think they apply to any level of extemper. Feel free to ignore much of the advice I’ve provided. Many of you are probably much smarter than I am or have tools that are wildly different and equally, if not, more effective. These are just some tricks of the trade I’ve picked up over four years of extemping. Apologies for any horrific grammatical mistakes.
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