Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Book Review - More of a look at the latest Ultimate book

Hey Folks,

I'm a little slow on reviewing "Essential Ultimate - Teaching, Coaching, Playing" by Michael Baccarini and Tiina Booth, but my girlfriend brought the book over here from North America. I took some time to read the book, and here are a few thoughts.

Pictured above: The book cover and a link to where you can order it.

I feel this book is targeted at beginners and coaches teaching beginners. That doesn't mean that the intermediate or advanced player won't get anything out of the book, but the beginner group will get the greatest benefit.

The book is broken into two sections. The first section goes into describing basic skills and moving into team skills and strategies. The second part of the book talks about developing your Ultimate program. There are many tips and concepts presented in the, and it's clear the authors have taken time on describing the challenging concepts of our game in written form.

When reading Ultimate books, I think back to my early days in basketball. In grade eight, I had a thirst for Basketball knowledge. Living in a town of 4000, I went to the main point of information. No, this was not the internet that existed in a primitive form at that time (that was accessed using strange phone based modems, and lacked a huge web of information). Instead, I went to the library. There in the sports section there were 4 books on basketball. I read all 4 books that day, trying to advance my knowledge of the sport, not realizing the books from the early 50s, 60s and 70s were behind on the basketball times. The underhand free throw popularized by Rick Barry was not cool with the likes of Michael Jordan and Larry Bird. I expect Ultimate books will follow a similar path to the shelves of ancient knowledge.

Fortunately, "Essential Ultimate" is a modern Ultimate book (at present), and it is filled with details on how to teach Ultimate. Quite simply, you could take chapters 2 through 7 and have a base for a plan on how to teach the sport to the new inductees. For the beginner or the early coach teaching to beginners you'll find the book to be a valuable resource. The question then is what's in their for the more advanced.

I find lessons and knowledge in many forms, and this book is no exception. For example, my Ph.D. supervisor taught me that nomenclature is one of the key things that a field needs so that those involved can speak at a higher abstraction level. This is true for Ultimate. Imagine how much you convey by the simple words "dump" or "swing". These words convey great meaning to those of us involved in the sport that takes a few minutes to explain to new players or non players.

"Essential Ultimate" adds to this nomenclature meaning we'll be able to talk about the sport with more ease and higher level discussion. For example, early in chapter 2, I found the terms for the various characteristics of a disc - "shoulder", "tailing edge", and "flight rings" are a few examples. With these definitions, we can now talk about the flight of a disc with more ease. Unfortunately, you haven't learned all the terms yet, so I'll have to wait until the knowledge is more well spread.

In all, I can say I learned more than one thing from the book. For anything I do, if I could always claim that, then I would be much smarter than I am today.