I used to be a member of the debate club in university. The biggest event in my first semester was a debating contest. I do not remember the topics now, but I still remember some details in preparations.
We usually had four or five players in a team, including one or two substitutes. Half of players prepared the arguments. The others prepared the counterarguments. Before the formal contest, we had two or three warm-ups. At the beginning, I didn't understand why I had to rack my brain for the negative side if I belonged to the affirmative side. However, the counterarguments we prepared turned out very useful, even much useful the our arguments in the real debating. Sometimes what the other side said was exactly what I had imaged. So my responses seemed prompt and easily hit the point.
The book The Craft of Research tells us that academic writings are conversations with readers. Well,the word "conversation" is elegant.In my opinion,it is more of a debate than a concersation. Readers are not merely your friends but also your friendenemies(friend+enemy).