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.



tiinabooth said...

Thanks for all your contributions, Peter! I certainly agree that we needed more time to talk. I tried my best to chat with lots of folks, but there simply wasn't enough time. We have already had people suggest we need a two-day conference, so that is probably on the horizon.
And, as for high school students drifting, I'm afraid, after over 20 years of teaching, that that's just what they do . . .

honeyhands said...

Here's the link for some of the talk powerpoints and summaries:

Some really interesting stuff here...