Debate Clubs

Joining a Ready Set Debate club is a great opportunity to build your debate skills and learn about current issues, all while making new friends! Our clubs operate just like a high school or college debate team, with regular practice meetings and opportunities to compete in tournaments. More experienced club members serve as peer mentors for less experienced club members, often teaming up with them for practice debates and other activities.

What happens at a typical club meeting?

At a typical meeting, members compete in prepared practice debates and receive personalized feedback from their coach. Meetings also frequently include speech and debate drills, quick-prep debates called “spar debates,” analyses of previous debates, short lectures, and other activities focused on learning the concepts and strategy needed for success in any format of competitive debate. Observing debaters serve as additional judges for practice debates.

 We have online and in-person club options, with different meeting lengths, frequencies, and age groups to suit your needs. However, all clubs have these qualities in common:

  • No experience necessary. 
  • Limited in size to 8 students per coach.
  • New members accepted year-round.
  • Members have the opportunity to suggest and vote on Ready Set Debate tournament topics.  

Comparing online and in-person debate clubs

When the debate world moved online during the COVID-19 pandemic, we collectively realized that debate activities translate exceptionally well to video calls. Because of this, many debate activities – including at the most prestigious levels – have remained online. We use the same material and procedures for our online and in-person activities, and in our experience, the student learning outcomes are about the same. Here are some unique benefits of each format:

Benefits of online clubs

More time-efficient

+ More eco-friendly (no commute, no printed copies of materials)

More opportunities to make friends in different parts of the country and world

Benefits of in-person clubs

+ More opportunities to hang out and connect with other students on breaks

+ More experience modeling specific details of in-person debate tournaments

+ More opportunities to make local friends

Clubs as charter school classes

Because of their rigor and breadth, our debate clubs have often been selected as charter school classes for students in the middle school and high school grades. Students who apply to use their club membership as a charter school class receive a grading spreadsheet that is periodically updated by their coach. Click here for more information.

How to register for a club

1. Review our current club calendar and select the club you want to join.

Please refer to our calendar to help you decide which club is the best fit for you. If you are interested in joining one of our in-person or online clubs hosted weekly by STEAM Learning Club in McKinney, TX, click here to learn more and register. The remaining steps on this page only apply to our in-house online clubs, which meet twice per month.

Can’t find a club that fits your schedule? Contact us for more options.

2. Review the terms of club membership and select a membership dues plan.

Our in-house online debate clubs meet for two hours, twice per month, between September and May. They are recommended for ages 10-17, with younger students considered on a case-by-case basis (please contact us for more information). Current dues-paying members receive complimentary registration for our virtual debate tournaments in June and August, as well as significant discounts on camp registration. All members receive a Ready Set Debate Member Handbook when they register, unless they have already been provided one in a previous activity.

Registration fee

There is a non-refundable registration fee of $50 per student when you join our clubs. If you choose to drop and re-enroll later, be aware that this fee will apply when re-enrolling. 

Membership dues

We offer monthly and annual dues plans starting at $50 per student per month, with discounts if you register multiple students and/or register for an annual dues plan. Members pay dues regardless of whether they’ll be at a given meeting. Dues are billed year round and renew automatically until the student withdraws from the club.

Monthly Dues

One student – $50.00 USD

Two students – $90.00 USD (save $10/month)

Three students – $135.00 USD (save $15/month)

Four students – $180.00 USD (save $20/month)

Annual Dues

One student – $550.00 USD

Two students – $990.00 USD (save $110/year)

Three students – $1,485.00 USD (save $165/year)

Four students – $1,980.00 USD (save $220/year)

3. Contact us to confirm there is space in the club you want to join.

Email us at or call/text (310) 662-3255.

4. Complete your registration.

Our registration form is here. If you want to register using a different payment method, such as a charter school PO, please use this form instead.

Club FAQs

Our clubs are designed to accommodate new members joining anytime throughout the year. There is no difference in experience joining in September or any other month, and we routinely have new members join year-round.

Yes. Please contact us to arrange this, as our registration form is designed for students who are joining a single club. A student who simultaneously joins multiple clubs receives the same discounts as if that student were multiple siblings simultaneously joining a single club.

Upon joining, new members receive a short series of emails that will help them prepare for their first meeting. A member handbook will be provided by mail or at their first meeting, and the new member will be added to the club schedule.

New members, regardless of their level of debate experience, are given a set of training materials (including videos, quizzes, and other items) that will catch them up on the basics of our debate format and club structure prior to their first meeting. At their first meeting, they observe debates between experienced members, listen to coach feedback for the debates, and judge the debates. (As is the case in many high school and college debate leagues, no prior experience is required for judging.) For the following 1-2 meetings, new members are assigned to work with experienced members to prepare for and compete in one or more debates as a team. At this point, the coach begins to give feedback to the new member to address specific areas for improvement, which vary widely between new members. After this onboarding period, the new member is considered an ongoing member, and they cycle through roles as a judge and debater, typically doing both in different hours of the same meeting. Our coaches adapt to each member’s skill level when creating matchups and providing feedback. 


Yes, you are welcome to visit the group as a trial. Guests are often given the option to participate in some of the meeting’s activities, which we will generally advise you of prior to the meeting. To arrange for a visit, contact us.

Yes. Our clubs focus on practice and detailed coach feedback, and many of our club members use their Ready Set Debate club to get extra practice outside of their debate team practices. Our coaches typically try to maximize the value of this practice by having the club use whichever topic(s) that members who are also on outside debate teams are currently preparing for.

Our members run the gamut from recreational debaters whose goal is to improve their public speaking and critical thinking skills, to competitive debaters who devote much of their free time to their work on nationally prominent high school debate teams. Here are some characteristics that most of our members have in common:

  • Ability to pay attention, process verbal information quickly, and to pick up the meaning of words from context.
  • Strong handwriting skills (or use of a device with strong keyboarding skills).
  • An expressed interest in debate, preferably with an interest in, or curiosity about, world and political affairs.
  • Responsible, self-starter mentality.
  • Good public speaking skills, or the willingness to put in the work to learn them.
  • Has a competitive streak.
  • Works well with others.
  • Capability and access to do independent research.

For the average student, club membership involves a total monthly time commitment of well under ten hours (including meetings) for clubs that meet twice per month, and well under twenty hours for clubs that meet weekly. However, some students choose to invest more or less time in preparing for debates. 

No. However, we request that you notify your coach ahead of time if you will be missing a meeting. For more information, please see our member expectations and Code of Conduct.

Yes. Please arrange with the coach of your student’s club if you would like to observe a meeting. 

Club members prepare to compete in Ready Set Debate tournaments and outside tournaments. For more information, please see our tournament calendar.

Clubs primarily debate in our own format, which is closest to IPDA and Lincoln-Douglas. However, we often conduct practice debates in other popular formats to broaden members’ knowledge of debate. 

Partial scholarships may be available when a financial hardship exists. Click here for more information.

Once paid, club registration fees are non-refundable. We will provide a full refund for club membership dues, less any portion of the dues covering services already provided at the time of the refund request, if the refund request is received within 30 days after the payment was made. In cases when we administratively expel a student – a very rare event – a refund will be automatically provided for any portion of the payment made for services not yet provided, excluding any portion of a club meeting missed due to the coach and/or administrator’s decision to eject the student during the meeting.

These fees cover the costs of running a debate activity, such as coaches’ wages, software subscriptions, website management, space rentals or mortgage payments, payment processor fees, physical awards, insurance, and printed supplies.

You may withdraw at any time by contacting us and requesting to withdraw. Any payments scheduled after your request is received will be halted (or reversed if they are debited after the request is received but before we have the opportunity to halt payments). You may request a refund for payments made prior to us receiving your request, if those payments fall under the refund policy outlined earlier in this section. For students paying with charter school funds, if we receive your withdrawal request fewer than 10 days before the next meeting, charter schools will be billed through the next meeting. 

Yes. If you wish to transfer from one of our online clubs to another, there is a $25 fee to cover administrative costs. Please contact us to arrange the transfer. If you wish to transfer between clubs hosted by one of our partners, or between one of our clubs and one of our partners’ clubs, please contact us.

We accept Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover, and PayPal for our monthly payment option. If you are paying annually, you may use these same methods, as well as cash or checks.