Thursday, January 31, 2008

Poll Thursday - College Rankings

The last poll was two weeks ago, and there the feeling is that RSD is dying (probably because of the spam). I still find this the best place to hear about early tournament results and incidents.

This week uses a post that is found on RSD - NUMP college ranking. As I've mentioned in the past, I find the college Ultimate season is much more lively and exciting, and the rankings seem to add to the enjoyment. So the poll this week is to predict the top 4 open college teams now based on early season ranking. I'll revisit this poll after college championships (poll right).


Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Eastbay savings and more...

People who run websites can get affiliate status by advertising for products on their website. For example, my blog has google adsense, which has generated $12.55 for my blogs lifetime (of course you only get paid if you hit an increment of $100). For other sites that have traffic and related advertising they can make a hefty second income stream.

So, why is this exciting for the Ultimate community? Well, my lab mate, Ian, and I once came up with a scheme whereby we would become affiliates to many different companies, and then allow people to sign up and buy things through those affiliate links. The catch is, we would share the profit between the buyer and ourselves passing on savings to you the buyer, and making profit for ourselves.

Well, it turns out that someone also had our idea, but they actually acted upon the it. Check out:

I haven't made an account yet, but some of the highlights for ultimate players are:
  • 2.2% back for priceline airline bookings
  • 1%-3% back on hotel bookings
  • 3% back on Eastbay purchases
  • These rebates can be combined with other coupons (and the site includes some of these too)
The other news is that both Canadians and U.S residents can sign up. Now if only VC, Gaia, or UltiVillage would run an affiliate program, then maybe my blog would support my Ultimate career. At least now, I'll get my cleats and books a little cheaper.


Monday, January 28, 2008

UCPC II - my review

I arrived home last night from Boston after waiting for hours in the airport on a delayed flight. Lesson's learned on a delay:

  • Don't lose your laptop power cable.
  • Don't buy easy Soduko. It's too easy.
  • Don't buy Men's health. It's a waste of $5.
  • Don't buy a newspaper. You can find free papers all through the terminal.
Now that I've gotten that off my chest, I can say I had a great time at the UCPC. My two presentations went well, and I felt quite good when I was personally thanked for passing on how my topic would help develop new players. I'll pass on my slides to the conference, but I used the presentation more as a guideline as opposed to what I actually talked about and demonstrated, so I'm not sure what value it has on its own.

As for the talks I attended I'll give a quick recap:
  • First was Dr. Goldberg's talk. I liked this talk more than last years, because he talked about more topics with less demonstrations (the demonstrations last year were good, but I didn't need them to prove the point). I came out of the talk with a page full of notes on some points I thought that were very valuable. This points were in relation to mental toughness for an athlete, and how coaches can help their players in terms of mental state.
  • I attended Tiina Booth's talk on having a good team practice. This was also a good talk in which I learned a few things that I think will help me lead practices in the future. I was in a little disagreement on some of her points on scrimmage structures, where the goal was to randomize teams, but as she said later that's why we have these meetings. Also, my discussions with my roommate Calvin Lin (coach of University of Texas) led me to believe that was a concept to add and not a rule. This talk was filmed, so you'll all be able to catch it on Ultivillage. Sounds like the book by Tiina and Mike will be out soon, and based on the quality of both their talks (at least what I heard about Mike's) it should be a good read.
  • I attended a talk by the Zeitgeist ladies (June Srisethnil and Jamie Nuwer...I think) on injuries and prevention. This was the place I think I learned the most important facts. I learned the latest knowledge on how to deal with ankle injuries, and was pleased to be introduced to a program that may prevent many ACL injuries in the future. This information will eventually be online, and I highly recommend you look over the material and get their recommended book.
  • I only saw a little bit of the UPA conversation as my ride to the hotel wanted to leave. Not much to say here.
In all, the conference was great in reigniting my love of the game. Outside the conference was bad; I think I had some bad karma to pay for.

If you want some other reads on UCPC check out Match's review. I'm sure some more will be out soon.


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Latest RSS Blog Links and UCPC

I'm off to Boston this Friday to join in the activities at UCPC, and I've been working on my presentation as opposed to generating new Blog material. In return for the lack of new material, I'll do write ups for three of the talks that I can attend. I'm choosing between:

  • Running Practices Your Team will Love and Hate-Tiina Booth
  • Prepare to Play Your Best: Constructing a Competitive Routine-Kris Kelly
  • Speed, Agility and Quickness on the Ultimate Field- Michael Baccarini
  • Common Injuries: Treatment and Prevention for the Ultimate Athlete- June Srisethnil
  • Preparing for Spirited Play- Miranda Roth
  • Panel Discussion: Professional Behavior in the Sport of Ultimate (I'll be at this one)
So, if you want my perspective on a particular talk, just e-mail me, or maybe I'll make a poll tomorrow.

The other thing I wanted to pass on was the latest Ultimate RSS feeds in an OPML file (this file will only be available for a little while longer until I get a new website account). The OPML file can be fed into a feed reader like GReader (see my article on the topic).

If there are any Ultimate blogs out there that would like to be included in this list then just e-mail me. My minimum requirement is that these blogs talk about Ultimate related aspects at least 75% of the time and are reasonably active (no definition for reasonably).


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Can't get high, then sleep there

In relation to my article on college in the mountains and how to prepare for the mountain's environment change, I fell upon a possible solution.

Many of you are aware, I'm one of those couch barbarians who likes to watch fighting, that is professional human fighting, and my favourite is mixed martial arts. In anticipation for last weekends fight, UFC 80, I watched the UFC countdown. The countdown is a show that sets up the main fights for the weekend's fight card with back and forth jawing between fighters. Then they show how the guys are training for the upcoming fights.

I saw two really interesting things in this show that I think are applicable to our Ultimate training. The first one I'm keeping a secret for now, but the second one is in relation to BJ's training versus Joe Stevenson's training. Joe is training in Big Bear, California, because it provides high altitude training with little distraction. The theory behind high altitude training is the decrease in oxygen supply causes your body to adapt and become more efficient using oxygen in the energy making process. Joe is the equivalent of Colorado in Ultimate.

Pictured Above: Your chance to be a bubble boy.

BJ Penn lives and trains in Hawaii, and therefore, can't do high altitude training (like the majority of us). His solution is the high altitude sleep tent (Men's health article). For anywhere from $900 up you can sleep in a high altitude environment and get many of the high altitude benefits.

It's expensive, but at least it's an option for those of you who have lots of money. Maybe the contending college teams should fly to one less tournament and each buy a tent. It's something to think about.

As for changing the flight of the disc due to different air pressure (as some have commented on), I'd consider using these indoor bubble spaces with some industrial fans. Another solution not many of us can afford.


Thursday, January 17, 2008

Poll Thursday - Dead or Alive?

So last weeks poll was a question of what sources of Ultimate info do you use. The greatest source was (RSD) which came in at 80%. The next two most important sources were blogs and word of mouth from friends. I find it hard to believe that blogs weren't higher since this was a poll taken on a blog, and you had to get to the blog somehow (probably through a blog amalgamator like UltiTalk). It's just funny, but I'm sure there was some vote splitting somewhere.

To continue this path of polls on information, for those of us who visit RSD you've likely noticed the high amount of user group spam that appears each and every day. Normally, I would just look at the active older post section, but that's starting to see spam too. My question is, do you think RSD is: (poll to the right).


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

College Ultimate in the mountains

So it looks like the UPA college finals will be run in conjunction with the collegiate national championships. This will allow the finals to be televised in conjunction with other CSTV events, and the theory is we'll get more exposure to college ultimate. Among other changes this will put the finals in Boulder, Colorado instead of Columbus, Ohio.

Pictured Above: A disc flies over both Goat and Johny Bravo players at our semi's game at UPA'07 Championships.

I like these types of venue experiments, and I think this will, likely, be good for the college series.

My question is how are teams going to prepare for the change in climate. I saw UFC's All Access episode (best link I could find) for Wanderlei Silva. In that episode we saw Wanderlei workout with a nose plug and a snorkel. The theory (from what I understood) is that this made air intake harder during his cardio workouts and improved his oxygen uptake in normal conditions (though I wonder about the safeness). Will techniques like this or others be needed to prepare for college nationals to get that edge? Also, for those of us with experience traveling from the lowlands to the highlands for competition, what is it really like?


Thursday, January 10, 2008

Poll Thursday - Off season finger on the pulse

Last week the poll was on resolutions and Ultimate. abut 60% of people make resolutions (or I guess new goals) where 50% make these resolutions after the season and the other 50% make the resolution at New Years.

This week I'm wondering how people keep there Ultimate finger on the pulse. This means, how do you stay informed about all things Ultimate that you care about (check out the latest The Ultiverse to hear audio interviews similar to written interviews at here). I've listed a bunch of sources that you can get Ulti info from, just check off the ones you use (poll to the right).


Wednesday, January 09, 2008

The newest ultimate book

I had a chance to read some of the latest Ultimate book, Ultimate: The Greatest Sport Ever Invented By Man. On my first pass, I quickly scanned the book to see what was in it, and I was happy to see small little lists such as the best tournaments to go to and Ultimate team names. On my second pass, I made an effort to look for tournaments, teams, and players that I've played at or with. Again, I found lots of references that made the book that much more enjoyable. On my third pass through the book, I started to pick out specific topics and read them in a little more depth such as the profile of an Engineer Ultimate player.

Pictured Above: The book cover.

On each pass, I found reading the book very enjoyable, and for that reason I'm considering getting my own copy (instead of borrowing Norm's) . The question I have, is what is the strength of the book and who is it best suited for. Obviously, ultimate players will enjoy the book, but anyone else?

I think you should have the book to:
  • have some copies of book for your college team, and pass the copies around to rookies to give them a perspective of the game.
  • put a copy in your washroom. The book is well suited to pick up and read in small little stints. Also, I think this is the perfect to introduce the sport to those not familiar with what we do.
  • put a copy in your lobby. If you have a lobby in your line of work, then put a copy there to introduce the public to Ultimate (similar to the bathroom concept).
  • have a copy for road trips. The book has some trivia and topics that can only enhance an Ultimate trip.
Some of us were pondering whether the book is a good thing to give to parents, significant others, and friends who don't play. The idea being to introduce them to why you don't see them in the summer. We came to the conclusion that even though the book captures many aspects of Ultimate very well, it won't bridge the "why do you play" gap.

Pictured Above: Slow White and Shazam Returns in the UPA co-ed finals (picture courtesy of me).

My only complaint with the book is they list Torontula as a geek team name, and Torontula isn't listed as a legitimate college team when McGill is. This is nothing against McGill (as I think they deserve to make the list), but I feel their inclusion on the list should justify ours.


Monday, January 07, 2008

My latest chemical saviour

I'm a sweater. I don't know why, but I'm sure it has something to do with genetics. Fortunately, sweating is rarely a problem for me on the field except when it comes to my hands. I wear armbands which stop the sweat on my arms from dripping onto my hands, but at certain temperatures and humidity levels my hands get too wet (almost like bathtub hands). When this happens, it usually results in one flick turnover in a game where my grip can't hold for the throw I'm making, and the disc slips out resulting in a horrible wobbling throw thats off target.

Gloves are not the answer for me, but maybe this product is: dryhands. Dryhands can be purchased from an Ultimate distributor, here.

Pictured Above: A catch I made in the Jam vs. Goat game (my best game by far). Photo courtesy of Lisa Di Diodato before the batteries died.

How does dryhands work? Will it help my sweat problem? Are the chemicals safe? These are all questions that I can't answer yet, and I would be interested in hearing opinions from chemists and people who have used the product, but I, likely, will get some product and review it in the future.

Maybe those of you going to Trouble in Vegas can try it out. I'll be at UCPC that weekend.


Thursday, January 03, 2008

Poll Thursday - Resolution

Last week, my only post was a poll on the average cost of a tournament. Many of us seem to be in the 100 to 200 dollar range. It seems a few of us ride in style paying more than $200 per tournament (which could be accounted by having to fly to many tournaments), and a few people are in the sub $100 group. I would be interested to know how to keep tournament costs under $100 (unless all your tournaments are local).

This week I have a simple poll. When making your New Year's resolutions, do Ultimate resolutions get included? Poll to the right.