Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Logo Battle - Stage 2 - Round 7

In the last round:

  • Sub Zero eliminates BAT (86%-14%)
  • Condors eliminates Horseshow (69%-31%)
In this round:

Group 1

Slow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Mauvaise Herbs

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Group 2
Bacon, Eggs, and Toast (BE


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Monday, January 29, 2007

UCPC - interesting

Hey Folks,

I arrived back in Toronto this morning from my trip out to the UCPC'07 (as I like to call it). In all, it was a good experience. This my perspective on the conference (others: Cooke's and parinella's blog: UCPC, Day 1)

With a 13 hour bus trip in each direction, I can't say I was in the best mind set for a conference. I arrived in Newton, MA around 8 on Friday. I met George Cooke for the first time in person, and the car was filled with Emily Baecher and Kitt Hodsden. We got to the hotel and I met some more people at a small get together, including the other organize Tiina Booth.

My roommate, Josh Seamon a Vermont high school coach, and I arrived at the high school the next day for the conference. I attended 5 sessions (and had my own talk):

  1. Session 1 was with Dr. Goldberg and was on "Ultimate Mental Toughness". This was a fascinating talk with many strong demonstrations of elements of the mental game. I had the opportunity to talk with Dr. Goldberg later and addressed some of my questions with respect to how a coach helps their players and how does positive visualization fit into the picture.
  2. Next, I saw a talk by Adam Sigelman and Carey Heckman about how they approached their University with respect to the status and support for club teams at Dartmouth. They had a very unique approach to addressing their administration and gave me some good ideas on how we might help our own (UofT) program in the future.
  3. I saw Kitt's talk; her talk covered a range of topics for the individual player both on offense and defense. Mainly, it dealt with tactics that a player can learn to give them an edge on the field. After the talk, the group had a good discussion that could have lasted well beyond the time limit of the session.
  4. After my talk, I went and saw Dan Cogan-Drew's talk on using video to teach ultimate. I've been fascinated with this topic for some time now, but haven't had any real knowledge to consider using this technique to coach. The talk, accompanied by film examples, was a good talk/discussion on tools in the field and possibilities of how video might progress in ultimate.
  5. Finally, the day finished off with a panel discussion. The two topics, future growth and where's spirit, were perfect for a panel discussion (lots of polarization). I'm sure the auditorium could have talked for hours on both topics. I was really impressed with Steve Mooney on the panel. He was very articulate, and I would have enjoyed to talk to him for a few hours on various topics.
That was what I saw, but I didn't really talk about the meat of each talk (leaving that for the presenters and the conference). Also, I went to talks that were not filmed. I'm gambling that I can watch the filmed talks (high demand) at a later time.

Unfortunately, there were many talks that I just couldn't get to due to conflicts. My talk conflicted with Charles Reznikoff's session on drug abuse in Ultimate, which was the talk I wanted to see most of all. I guess that's just tribute to the quality of topics at the conference.

Also, I felt that we needed more time to just talk. Even to the point where sessions were less about 45 minute long talks, and more panels on topics of interest to the community. This would sort of be like a brain picking session.

The audience consisted of a large group of high school and college players, a smaller contingency of high school and college coaches, and a few club players and captains. I felt, from discussions with a number of coaches, that there is definitely a demand for a conference track dedicated to new coaches in high school programs. Also, I detected that some of the talks were not properly targeted to high school athletes (they were drifting) and a dedicated track to their interests would be both well attended and useful for them.

Overall, I learned a tonne, met some great people (shocking in Ultimate), and had some new thoughts. My only complaint is I would have liked more time to talk with different people for longer.


Friday, January 26, 2007

Xbox flicks

Before new years, I received an e-mail from Daniel Crenna. He was asking if I knew about some places he could get submissions (art jerseys and logos) for a project he was undertaking - an Ultimate video game. Sounds like an off season project that many of you could help contribute to (art and programming). I told Daniel that I would advertise his project.

Well, here is the link to his web page. I'll make room on my Xbox hard drive for the game as soon as it is ready, and I'm prepared to act as a tester. I still hope that I'll be able to play as myself or load in local teams and set up a league.

Finally, hope to see some of you at UCPC this weekend. I'm on the bus and heading to Newton.


Thursday, January 25, 2007

Logo Battle - Stage 2 - Round 6

In round 4:

  • Rival eliminates Lily (53% - 47%)
  • Johny Bravo eliminates the wild card (83% - 17%)
On to round 6

Group 1

Violet Femmes

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Group 2



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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Ultimate Diabetics - Playing and Training

Hey Folks,

I'll stick to some more training thoughts, but with a slight twist. As of late October I was diagnosed with type I diabetes. In retrospect, this was probably why I was drinking a tonne of caffeine to keep energy levels up while playing (see my coke advertisement post) and my diabetes was a factor in my cramping. I somehow survived with extremely high blood sugar throughout the Canadian University series, because I was pretty sure I had diabetes and didn't want to miss our championship run by being told to go to the hospital. Nothing like risking your life for Ultimate.

Anyway, I'm now back to normal controlling my blood sugar with diet, exercise, and the greatest Canadian invention - insulin. I've played in two low-level fun tournaments since the diagnosis, and I've been training regularly.

Pictured above: Weeeeeeeeeeee (courtesy of James at Massive).

So, with that introduction, the subject of my post is playing Ultimate as a diabetic. Maybe a more broader umbrella would encompass Ultimate players with diseases they need to control while they play Ultimate, and even broader how this applies to everyone. Well, here's some of what I've learned so far.

At 6:30 AM my blood sugar is about 4 (normal range 4-7 for all you normal pancreas folks). I'll have a 1 cup of1% milk before heading into the gym to meet the gang for our workout. This usually involves a mixture of 3o minutes of aerobic exercise + 1 hour or less of anaerobic exercise (currently weights 3 out of 7 days). After the workout and before breakfast my blood will spike up to about 6. This, I suspect, is an energy release by my liver to get fuel out into the system, because that milk is not going to support me.

The general lesson for all, as you've probably heard lots of times, is your body needs to recoup that released energy soon after a workout. The classic time quoted is about 30 minutes after your workout. Anecdotal support for this conclusion is after a workout I inject almost half the insulin I would on a morning without exercise. Otherwise, I go into a state called hypoglycemia because my body absorbs too much sugar in the blood, and my blood sugar drops below 4 and the brain starts getting stupider cause no sugar to run ;)

When I play an hour long game of hockey I take a similar approach with one carb unit (15g carbohydrate) before the game, and reduced insulin and increased carb intake afterwards. The basic premise for all bodies is that you need fuel before and after to keep the body working at efficient levels.

Now in a day long tournament I have had no success managing my blood sugar levels. Both tournaments I've been attended post diagnosis I've been both high and low throughout the day. The lows are on account of not enough fuel and too much activity, and the highs are due to eating too many high glycemic index carbs (mainly apples, bagels, and bananas - banana being the worse culprit).

I also read a blog by another diabetic who talks about his basketball games and how highs and lows affect his body and mind with respect to performance. I, personally, haven't felt this, but it makes some sense when you talk about low blood sugar and glucose as the fuel for the brain. I don't see the connection between highs other than you can get tired faster (but I'm never really high).

These challenges are reflected in everyone who plays a tournament even with proper self regulating energy system. Each player will experience focus and endurance challenges during a tournament day. What we all should be striving for is these challenges not to be related to poor diet decisions.

What we need is a tournament diet that keeps the energy in the system (and sodium + nutrients) for a full day of intense activity. I've got some more material to read through on the subject of elite performance for the diabetic, but I would be interested to hear from others with similar managing challenges (privately or publicly through comments) and how they manage Ultimate.

I still hope that one day a trained dietitian will join the ultimate ranks (hopefully to the level of contributor) and provide us with lots of summarized information on how to manage food and a tournament. I've approached both a local nutritionist and fitness trainer to join the ranks of my blog, but no success yet. If anyone out there (virtual world) fits the bill, it would be great to host an Ultimate focused question and answer type discussion.


Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Logo Battle - Stage 2 - Round 5

In the round 3:

  • Metal eliminates Truck Stop (57% - 43%)
  • Wiconsin Ladies eliminates Queens (61% - 39%)
On to round 5:

Group 1:
Big Ass Truck

Sub Zero

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Group 2:


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Monday, January 22, 2007

Get in Phase for the Season

I guess it's time to shift a little bit of the focus to off season training. I'm no expert in this field (nor am I in Ultimate), but over the past six years my training partners and I have learned a few things. Today I'll briefly cover the concept of training in phases (Fits in well with Luke's recent post).

I, personally, was introduced to this concept while researching an off season training plan, and I was reading a book called: “Secrets of Soviet sports fitness and training” by Michael Yessis. This is an old book from 1987, but it had some good information (plus the UofToronto Library isn't packed with the latest fitness training books and this seemed like a good option).

Pictured Above: Thong vs Buzz Bullets - some great body positions. Picture, once again, courtesy of James.

In the book, training in phases concept (also called periodization) was introduced. The main idea is that you train throughout a year for your specific sport, but you change the intensity levels and exercises that you focus on.

The Russian's separated a year of training into four phases:
  • General Preparation – 20% Sport, 80% Training. General body strength for about 3 months
  • Specialized – Focus on sport specific training movements. 50% Sport, 50% Training. 1-4 months
  • Competitive – Two components. Stage 1 is early competition where team is coming together and working on sport specific endurance and strength. Stage 2 is competition practice and training to peak.
  • Post Competition – Approximately 30 days where play other sports, relax and casual workouts.
This year our workouts have just moved into Phase 1. We finished Phase 4 through November and December which was a very light period of morning workouts with cardio and nautilus machines.


Friday, January 19, 2007

Superstitious? No; then same.

Hey Folks,

Last time I talked about what to do during the pre-game meeting. One finer detail with the flip is what to pick when the discs are actually in the air. With two discs it’s a probability thing, and I’m no probability guy.

For those of you unfamiliar how we flip to make decisions, two discs are flipped in the air, and one person calls same or different. Same means both discs land the same way (both up or both down). Different means the discs land opposite to each other (one up, one down).

Pictured Above: More WUCC. This time the women's final with what looks like 4 of 6 wearing tights. Courtesy of James.

This is what I know, but I can’t remember who taught me the lesson. It was back in my Pong captaining days.

If a flipped disc doesn’t favour landing up or down when flipped in the air, then it wouldn’t matter if you call same or different. If the disc, however, does favour either up or down, then it means that both discs favour up or down (in the same fashion), and the odds favour “same”. Either way, you might as well call “same”, and get an advantage if there is one.

This does bring up an issue. There is no scientific proof that a disc favours one side or the other on a flip, but again, it is possible that the disc favours a side. Since there might be an advantage, ultimate should adopt a fair flip so there is no advantage to the caller, and I think that means bringing the coin as the flipping device of choice (though it too might favor heads or tails).

That, or let me have the choice when we meet next pre-game.


Thursday, January 18, 2007

Logo Battle - Stage 2 - Round 4

In Round 3:

  • Furious eliminates Clapham (73% - 27%)
  • Wicked eliminates LCN Soldiers (66% - 34%)
Round 5:

Group 1

Lily - Women

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Group 2

Johny Bravo - Open

Virginia Commonwealth - College Open

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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Logo Battle - Stage 2 - Round 3

Results from round 1:

  • Boneyard eliminates Texas (58% - 42%)
  • Georgia eliminates Fury (60% - 40%)
Round 3:

Group 1:

Wisconsin - College Women

Queens - College Open

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Group 2:

Metal - Open
Truck Stop - Open

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Monday, January 15, 2007

You pull. No, you pull.

So, you’ve become the leader of the team, and you’ve trained the team for their first tournament. Everybody crawls in and hopefully arrives with enough time to get in a good warm up. Then, all of a sudden, an opposing team member walks over to your team and asks for the captain. What next?

Here's what I like to do...

First, I introduce myself. It’s nice to meet other Ultimate players, and it makes the game a little better if you can talk with the other captain on a first name basis. We’re not boxers, and we don’t need to stare down each other.

Pcitured Above: Release or Catch? Looks like a player from Chad Larson and this is from WUCC 2006. Image courtesy of James McKenzie.

Next, comes the quick discussion of the rules. It’s just a chance to mention that you like 20 yard bricks and figure out any other details like time caps, game to, etc.

After agreeing on the setting you might need to deal with team colours. Ask if it’s okay to go with your current jersey preference. If you can’t come to an agreement, then you flip for choice.

Now you have to flip for the game start. The flip (in present day) involves each captain flipping a disc and one person calling same or different.

After the flip, if you win what do you call?

Here are my beliefs for given situations:

  • In nice conditions with lots of time, then pick what your team needs to get going. This tends to mean your team should start on defense. Defense gets a team excited and running. Also, you potentially can get the jump on a team that isn’t ready for the game. A quick D close to their end-zone will start you off on a roll.
  • When you don’t think the game will make it to half due to time or extreme weather, I think you should start on offense. The game could come down to who started with the disc first.
  • The exception to the above is in windy conditions when your team is not strong enough to break the conditions (or similarly your opponent). In this case, I like to take downwind. If they put you on O then you can huck and pin (or play an aggressive offense), and if they put you on D then you get a free pull and pin.
After making your pick, make sure you remember it along with the captain’s name. There’s nothing wrong with writing this stuff down. As you leave the meeting make sure you agree on how long until game start, and I like to wish the other team good luck or good game.

As captain or coach, make sure you have a plan about game start. It sounds and is simple, but you need to know what you're doing.


Friday, January 12, 2007

Team Foundation - The Business Perspective

When I speak of foundation, I'm talking about what sets your team for the season. I've, recently, been reading Start Your Own Business.

How is this relevant to Ultimate? Well, in the book one of the major themes (there are others that apply) is about the business plan. Those of you in the know, are already aware that a business plan is key to determine what your business is about and what directions it will take over the next five years. This is a living document that is meant to be updated every year.

In Ultimate, the equivalent in my mind is the playbook. Playbook might be too general a term if the document is support to describe all the things like goals, mission statement, etc.

I've talked about the playbook before, but quiet simply it's important. So, what has this book added to what we, as coaches, should include in the playbook? Here are a few ideas:
  • Executive Summary
  • Team Description - Describes the history and includes any rituals as well as yearly events (parties, meetings, etc.)
  • Philosophy for coach, team, offense, and defense
  • Basic Skills Description
  • Competition analysis
  • Strategy
    • Offensive plays
    • Defensive sets including zones
  • Development Plan
    • Goals short and long term
    • Drills
That's my latest version of what I think should be included in the playbook. Maybe we need to call this book the teamplan, and it's possible that not all of these described sections need to be given to the players, but the coach/captain and leadership need to go through the process of writing these things down.


Thursday, January 11, 2007

Logo Battle - Stage 2 - Round 2

Reminder vote once in each grouping. Pick your favourite logo.

The next in the round are:

Group 1

Furious George - Open

Clapham - Open

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Group 2

LCN Soldiers

Wicked - Women

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Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Logo Battle - Stage 2 - Round 1

Hey Folks,

So the end of stage 1 has the following winners:

  • Boneyard with 51% of the vote
  • Umass Zoodisc with 40% of the vote
  • Mauvaises Herbs with disqualifications to the two other logos in a clear case of multiple revotes on the scale of 100-150 votes
The seedings were randomly decided for the next round, and I'll release the spread sheet after this stage is complete just to keep some anticipation.

As described earlier, these are head-to-head battles. Vote only once for your favourite logo in each grouping.

Group 1
Boneyard - Masters

Texas - College Open

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Group 2

Georgia - College Open

Fury - Womens

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Monday, January 08, 2007

The Digital Era of the Captain's Meeting

Hey Folks,

As a coach or a captain let's talk about the captain's meeting. I'll admit to you guys, I don't think I've been to more than one captain's meeting in all of 2006. The topic of this blog is, I don't want to go to another captain's meeting.

Here's what happens at most of these meetings.

Pictured Above: WUCC pool play. Sub Zero player makes a throw on what appear to be beautiful sidelines. Courtesy of James McKenzie.

"Is everyone here? Is everyone here?"
Then we go through roll call. "Anyone here from Quadriceps," and so on.
There's always a few captains who aren't there (the smart ones).
Next, the TD tells the captains what's up.
"So, 10th edition rules, foot blocks are in, bricks are marked on the field, ..." and some other details about the tournament. Then the TD tells you to pick up your goodies bag, and that's it.

Then steps in the internet in 1990. E-mail has been around since 1965. Why can't all captain's meetings be dismissed and tournament directions run through electronic channels. All you need is a spot to pick up a schedule and your bag of goodies.

My only other request is to have details about the next day of a tourney posted electronically sooner than later (or at the field as soon as possible). The Saturday night captains meeting, with details about the next day, would actually be useful. Good time to collect scores and figure out details for the next day.

I understand organizing these events is difficult, but there are lots of tools to help TDs these days, and I know we have the people to implement anything that is needed. Many tournaments are organized spectacularly. I'm just trying push the envelope and get more sleep.


Friday, January 05, 2007

Back to Plato

One of the most fascinating questions with an ultimate team is how should it be run, and by run I mean what is the team structure. One aspect of the team structure is what type of governing system will your team employ to run things.

It's not a trivial choice on how you run a team, and before I go into looking at some of the pros and cons of each system, I'll tell you how I like to run a team. One person in charge, hopefully me, and a group of two or more advisers. I, personally, don't like sharing decisions with other people, and in a small unit like an ultimate team, I think one is enough. I, however, like to keep doors open to advisers, and in turn, they keep doors open to team members. I, also, like to delegate tasks where a delegated task is up to the people, but I will keep tabs on progress.

Pictured Above: My roommate, Peyton Leung, at WUCC. Picture courtesy of James McKenzie.

Let's look at some different governing choices with respect to an ultimate team:
  • Shared power between two
    • Advantages
      • Share responsibility
      • Always have someone to share the brunt for losses
    • Disadvantages
      • Need to always run decisions between someone
      • Disagreements are hard to come to conclusion
  • Shared power between multiples
    • Advantages
      • Share responsibility
      • No clear blame point
      • More ideas
    • Disadvantages
      • Hard to come to conclusion
      • Hard to organize time to discuss things
      • Long discussions so everyone can have there say
      • Too many voices in situations like huddle
  • Team democracy
    • Advantages
      • People tend to feel involved with direction of team
      • Shared responsibility
    • Disadvantages
      • Take long time to make decisions
      • Too many voices
  • One leader
    • Advantages
      • Clear voice
      • Decisions made fast
    • Disadvantages
      • Blame point
      • Lots of work by one person
      • Can be hard to accept decisions
The final deciding factor, as important as each system is, is who the people are (my title reference to philosopher kings). If you don't have good people in any of these positions, then it really doesn't matter how you organize your leadership.

With the introduction of coaches things get a little trickier. In most sports, the coach and manager are the top dogs, but many ultimate teams still haven't fully converted to the coach. In most cases, we still have captain/coaches. It's another wrinkle to think about.


Thursday, January 04, 2007

Logo Battle - Setup for Stage 2

Hey Folks,

Stage 1 of the logo battle is about to finish, and it's been great so far with discussion and lots of voting.

In round 9:

  • Wisconsin Open wins with 67%
  • Wicked wins with 49%
  • Wisconsin Women wins with 49%
Round 10 will finish on Tuesday next week.

So, for the next stage of the contest I've decided on the format after a few discussions with some people.

The 30 logos moving into stage 2 (3 to add on Tuesday) are:
  1. Sub Zero
  2. BAT
  3. BEAT
  4. Chad Larson Experience
  5. Clapham
  6. Condors
  7. Double Wide
  8. Furious George
  9. Fury
  10. Georgia
  11. Goat
  12. Johny Bravo
  13. LCN Soldiers
  14. Lily
  15. Metal
  16. Monster
  17. Violet Femmes
  18. Queens
  19. Rhino
  20. Riot
  21. Rival
  22. Slow White and the Seven Dwarfs
  23. Texas
  24. Truck Stop
  25. Wisconsin Open
  26. Wisconsin Women
  27. Wicked
  28. Round 10 - Group 1 winner
  29. Round 10 - Group 2 winner
  30. Round 10 - Group 3 winner
We will add 2 wild cards to the mix to make a total of 32 teams. Each poll will be head-to-head competition over 5 stages (32-16-8-4-2). Each Tuesday and Thursday I'll have 2 polls per day.
To pick the pairings I'll use a random number generator (C program running on Linux) seeded with the time of day. The pairings will be done in front of witnesses tomorrow during the Canada vs. Russia Junior Hockey Gold Medal game.

From discussions, I've been convinced that voting for your own team is not that big of a deal. So the rules for the next stage are don't vote more than once in a poll.

Finally, the 2 wild cards will be chosen randomly from the second place finishers.


Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Logo Battle - Round 10 cont.

Forgot the last three:

Group 3

Spirit on Lemon - Poland

University of Pittsburgh - College - Open

Mauvaises Herbes - Artist: Jean-François Mauger - Québec City - Mixed

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Hopefully, I haven't missed any submitted logos, but I got quite a few, and during my travels may have lost them.