You’ve probably gotten a ton of different ideas and techniques for how to improve your debating skills, but implementing those needs to be deliberate or else you’ll drown.
I’m an avid golfer, and anyone who has golfed knows that the sport is frustratingly precise. The distance between success and failure in any given shot is measured in millimeters. It’s a dexterity-based sport where precision is absolutely key. Perhaps more than many other sports, golf is mental. Understanding every factor involved in the swing and the lie, one can analyze a situation to death. We know from psychology that people do not perform well when they have many competing thoughts in their mind. For golf you want to have at most 2 swing thoughts when you approach the ball. Ideally your mind will be completely clear.
The same principle holds up for debate. You’ve probably gotten a ton of different ideas and techniques for how to improve your debating skills, but implementing those needs to be deliberate or else you’ll drown. One thing I always advocate, especially earlier in the season, is to pick one or two skills to focus on at each tournament. Write them down, put them in an obvious place (so you don’t forget), and use that tournament to get real, pressure-filled practice.
You might lose a bit in the short term, but the gain over the long term will be greater. For instance, one tournament I decided that I wanted to improve my cross-examinations. I sacrificed my flow somewhat in order to spend more time crafting questions, but I was able to find new angles of attack in cross-x (and phrase my questions more carefully), which helped me in the long run.
One benefit of the regionals system is that more tournaments can become (relatively) inconsequential once you qualify for regionals. At that point you should shift your focus to building up your skills and practice for the regional tournament, and hopefully nationals. Taking a “win now” approach at all tournaments will leave you weaker when it really counts. Use practice tournaments and any time when a nationals spot isn’t immediately up for grabs as an opportunity to get in the best practice possible. Focus, and be deliberate.