Lectures and drills only go so far; the best way to learn is by doing. Students participate in at least ten (LD) or twenty (PF) practice rounds throughout camp.
Practice rounds are a great place to try out new concepts learned at camp, and get concrete feedback from qualified critics. Students will be paired against others at a similar skill level to ensure that each student gets the most out of each round.
During the season, debaters are often frustrated by incomplete judge feedback that leaves them guessing what they did wrong and how best to improve. At VBI students receive in-depth post round comments after every debate. Every judge is focused on helping each debate understand the concrete steps they need to take to reach the next level. Also, after each debate a student's lab leaders and mentor will receive written feedback from the judge, so that they can tailor their lessons to each students unique needs.
In addition to their own rounds, throughout camp students observe debates between some of the best debaters in the country. Some demo debates are between staff and are moderated by senior instructors; others are between high-level students and are optional to observe. For some students watching another debater properly apply a concepts or strategy in real debate is all they need for it to "click."
Demo debates are often used as "props," or examples for lab or mentor assignments. Attentive observation of demo debates involves careful flowing, thinking about both sides' arguments and strategic choices, and simulating the round afterwards via drills in lab.