Here's my advice for countering The Spread, as an expansion of a previous comment.
Before the Tournament
Learn to talk and listen faster.
- Practice reading your case as fast as you can, while still enunciating. Have someone else listen to you so you're sure you're making sense.
- Use the "pen trick." Hold a pen between your teeth, as far back as it'll go, flat on the top of your tongue so both ends of the pen stick out the sides of your cheeks. Then read your case, quickly.
- Watch Policy Debate rounds on YouTube. Even if you don't understand the argument, practice flowing it. If you can keep up with Policy, you can probably keep up with an LD spread.
Learn to write faster.
- Develop abbreviations.
- Learn a form of shorthand.
- Have blocks, ideally 2-3 responses, prepared for all common framework choices, so you don't have to waste time thinking of refutations.
- Keep your responses to bullet points--as clear and concise as you can manage.
- Cards as blocks are okay, but they may take too much time.
- Predict the weaseliest Resolutional Analysis and definitions you can imagine, and prepare blocks for them.
- Focus on taglines; if nothing else, you'll at least be able to respond to the logic of their case.
- Use arrows and symbols.
- Use the abbreviations you've developed.
- Get clarity. It's not the best thing to do with your CX time, but it's better than going into your rebuttal without a clue.
- As your opponent to provide the overarching thesis of their case. If they can't, you can go after them on grounds of consistency and coherence.
In your prep time...
- Breathe. You're going to be fine.
- Ask to see your opponent's case. If they're not just spreading because they're a jerk, they'll probably let you examine it.
- Use most, if not all, of your time preparing for your first rebuttal.
- Look for the overarching theme or thesis of your opponent's case. If you can, attack your opponent's case at the root: show how its framework is so flawed that the rest of the advocacy is immaterial, or how it's all predicated on a baseless assumption about human nature, the law, morality, etc. Note: if you're going to take this tack, you probably should just go with it and not do a "line by line" to hedge your bets. Otherwise, it'll seem that you lack confidence in your strategy.
- Especially watch out for a priori arguments and burdens. Your opponent will argue that a drop in these circumstances is an automatic ballot for them.
In your rebuttal...
- Go fast. Do not repeat yourself--there's no time.
- Focus your efforts. Remember that a spreading debater is going to have to drop some points, too, so make sure any drops on your part are minor.
- Group contentions like mad. Take out whole contentions (or more) at the same time.
- If going for a wholesale attack on the case, or undercutting a key assumption, use the metaphor of sawing down a tree at the trunk to ensure that your judge "gets" your strategy.
Note that much of my advice is judge-dependent. If your judge says "Speed kills" and glares at your opponent during their constructive, feel free to employ arguments about fairness, education, and human decency.
Suggest tips or ask questions in the comments. What are your preferred strategies for countering The Spread?