Monday, December 07, 2009

Christmas Savings for Ultimate Players

Don't think that I'm back in Ulti blogland, and thanks for all the emails to egg me on to get back into writing here.

This post is a quick Christmas gift for all Ultimate players, and the name of this game is "Bing" (though only for shopping). This morning I was running through my reading as usual and I hit this article about shopping online and getting cash back for purchases. If you're not familiar with "cash back", the basic premise is that you get a certain percentage of what you spend credited back to you. It's the same as a sale, but the middle man is giving you the cash back instead of the front man.

Anyway, I signed up to see how good the deals were on Bing's cash back. The good news for Ultimate players is that "Eastbay" offers 25% cash back. There's lots of other stores, but a nice deal on cleats is worth it.

Hope everyone is doing well, and I enjoyed watching the UPA run this year. I'll, likely, be at College finals this year if it's in Columbus, and I might come out of the woodwork for some coverage then.

Happy holidays

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Hiatus continues

New job + new town = hiatus continued.

Approximate time for hiatus = unknown.


Friday, June 26, 2009

Link Friday - Boston Showcase and Pogue

Here's my links:

  • There's a facebook group to help you find who and where the Boston inivite pre-showcase games are:
  • Pogue reviews technology, and last weeks post gave me some insight on how to get more blogging and writing done.
  • [Blog post of the week] Soon I'll get to see my DTB jersey, but until then these pictures from F1215833808 will have to do.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Irregular posting on my travels

While I move in and out of posting, don't forget to make your own Ultimate card over the coming months.If you're used to the Tue, Wed, Thur, Fri Cultimate posts, then things are going to be messed up for a little while. Basically:

  • Move from London, U.K. to North America
  • Two days in Toronto
  • Week in my hometown
  • Las Vegas for a conference
  • Boston to Montreal on a bus
  • Montreal for a day and then to Ottawa for a few days
  • Ottawa to Toronto for a day
  • Toronto to Ultimate camp for a week
  • Up to Sudbury for a few days to visit my sister
  • Back to Toronto for a weekend
  • Toronto to Oxford, Ohio for 10+ years
Depending on connectivity and how I feel, expect sporadic posting.


Friday, June 19, 2009

Link Friday - HS ultimate map, jetlag battles, and flash addiction

Here's the links:

  • [New Blog] Disc Thoughts - Only one post so far, so we'll see how long Tim can keep up the posts.
  • [Blog post of the week] - The state of HS Ultimate in the US by PlayUltimate. I really appreciated the map, and this information is very informative to tell us where the seen is at in the US.
  • If you're flying around for Ultimate and worried about jetlag, well here's some research on telling you what to do to help alleviate the pain. I couldn't find the software, but I'm guessing it might be on the way.
  • Desktop Tower Defense has a new version and you can play online. I love and hate this game at the same time. It's like a drug addiction.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Poll Thursday - In for the cards?

So last weeks poll was about different types of posts on blogs and what people would like more. The top six types are:

  • Player Analysis - 57%
  • Tricks of my trade - 55%
  • Trenches Tournament/Season Coverage - 50%
  • Tournament recap - 49%
  • Team Prediction - 42%
  • I Spot the Emergence of a trend - 38%
I'm sure that's useful information to all of us writers out there.

This week the poll is simple. Will you be submitting a card for the Ultimate card set I proposed yesterday (poll right). This will help give me a feel for what type of response is out there.


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Ultimate Card Experiment - Get your own

In my article, I want trading cards or an action figure, I pitched the idea of Ultimate cards. Well, I still want a card, and even though a year has passed, no company has taken the torch. My solution - the virtual Ultimate card set. In other words, this year I will make a virtual Ultimate card set for the Ultimate community. This is your chance to have your own Ultimate card in the 2009 card set.So, how am I/we going to do this? Basically, until September you will have a chance to make or pass on information for your own card (based on the templates I've built for 2009). Then, once I've made the official set for 2009, I will email out the digital set to each person who contributed to the set. If the set consists of only 10 cards, then so be it, but at least you and I will have our own cards.
What do you need to do? Note that you can not use pictures that you don't have rights for (or logos) since these will be broadly distributed, and potentially printed in the fall. Ask the photographers and artists for permission to use (or use your own pictures and write your team name in the logo spot).

Here are your options for making your player, team, and tournament cards:

  1. Email me for the Visio file that has the base structure of card defined. Add your pictures, text, and logo, and send back the file to me (jamieson dot peter at gmail dot com), and I'll add it to the set.
  2. Send me (jamieson dot peter at gmail dot com) your picture and text for the cards, and I'll make the card for you. This option depends on my time, so if I get too many, then I might not get all the cards made until 2010.
I think this should be lots of fun. If it goes well I'll make separate college sets and club sets for next year. Also, consider printing out your own card, cutting it out, mounting it on some card stock, and trading your signed homemade card with other people. I'll have a few on hand, so if you see me come talk and trade.

"No way, I'll keep my Jamieson. That Gretzky rookies isn't worth it"


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Better than Nicotine patches?

While cleaning out my room for my upcoming move I found some Lifewave samples. At worlds last year, I had a talk with one of the reps and he was pushing these Lifewave patches.

So what did I get?

  • Energy enhancer
  • Icewave
  • Silent nights
In other words, I got a number of patches that are supposed to stimulate acupuncture points for various results.

What is my opinion on these? To be honest, I haven't tried any of the patches and I'm highly skeptical. In my limited research, I've browsed through the corporations research papers, and background checked the actual researchers. The skepticism continues.

I doubt I'll do a proper study of this option. I'm not looking for a magic bullet. Is there any opinions out there? Also, were they at Worlds with the theory that the grassroot nature of Ultimate might go for this idea more than other sports?


Friday, June 12, 2009

Link Friday - Boston Ultimate over Friday Baseball, Livescribe, and Blender on BlockTV

My favourite links this week:

  • [My FavBlog post of the week] Exploring and Testing your Workout Structure
  • Before the start of Boston Invite there will be showcase games for both women and open. Goat will be playing Ironside at these fields (Tufts University) starting at 8pm. The women (I don't know who's playing: Brute Squad vs Godiva?) start at 6pm. Hat tip Taylor.
  • The pen of the future (actually available in present)...Could be the future for drawing up and demoing plays.
  • Finally, Blockstack did Blender...Love the Mr. Twister Hoodie Chris and the GT backup dancers...


Thursday, June 11, 2009

Poll Thursday - I want that one

Last week, we all made our guesses on what we thought the PPV market size was for Ultimate. The results are pretty distributed with the spikes sitting in the middle of the options (interesting). Anyway, the guess is between 1000 and 5000. Based on a collective jelly bean counting intelligence, I wonder how close we are?

This weeks poll is based on yesterdays post. Basically, what would you like to see more of on the Ultimate blogosphere (poll right and note you can select multiple choices)?

By the way, this poll will in no way affect how I do what I do (especially badly constructed sentences).


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Ultimate Articles - What types are out there?

This old article in the Times takes a look at the styles of columns. Ultimate blog discussion is similar column based, so I thought I would look at the four listed instances they classify and compare them against what I do. Then afterwards I list the other types of Ultimate blog posts.

The four categories for columns are:

  1. “Am I Alone In Thinking” - This is for the Ultimate piece where someone points out an opinion that they feel nobody else has (but likely do). For example, I might put my "Miniworlds - does anyone care" into this category.
  2. “Lessons of History Column” - This is historical comparison showing the similarities between the past and now. I, personally, don't think I do too many of these styles of posts. Maybe I should do more?
  3. “I Spot the Emergence of a Big New Trend” - This is where you look at some trend and maybe apply it to something else. I do this kind of post all the time. My most recent would be on Twitter.
  4. “Tricks of my Trade" - Thoughts into how we do different aspects of our game whether coaching or individual. This is another category of post that I tend to do. The last set was on "Move Repertoires". This is probably many peoples favourite since it passes on thoughts on how to, and we can apply it to get better.
The other categories for Ultimate blogs that I can think of are:
  • The tournament recap
  • The workout/practice recap
  • The how's our team doing
  • The direct links to useful information
  • The poll
  • The picture set
  • The debated issue from my angle
  • The team and player predictions and analysis
Am I missing any? What would make our "grassroot" based coverage better and what do we all want more of?


Tuesday, June 09, 2009

When did I become a Masters player?

The shock set in last week. I've always assumed that 2010 would be my first Masters year as I turned 34 that year. Well, apparently 33 was the magic number.

So, does depression set in. Is it all over? The opposite if anything. It's like a new lease on Ultimate life or atleast defensive life. My last run on a defensive squad was in 2007 on Grand Trunk, and I, personally, love playing defense (mainly on handlers though), but as my years increased and the young guys stayed the same age, it was challenging to play defense at the top levels.

Now, I have the hope that I can have another two or three years having an impact on defense (or offense if I'm needed). The only trick now is finding who to play with. As I've mentioned, I'm off to Oxford, Ohio. Not exactly known for top quality Masters Ultimate. In the UPA central region, the strength is in Wisconsin, Milwaukee, and Chicago (not to forget Twin Cities, MN as noted in the comments). So, I might have to look towards those cities for some UPA action. That's not my only option (says the free mercenary ;). I've already passed up to play at Canadian Nationals 2009 due to work commitments, but it is an option in 2010 and beyond, with the possibility of a run at Worlds.

But then, what I also like to dream about is helping put an Ohio team into UPA Championships. Not that a team like Madcow hasn't come close. For me, that's a goal to shoot for, and to be honest, I've learned in London that as much as I like competing, unless I'm building towards something with a bunch of people, I'd rather not just play. I need to help build to really enjoy the game.

Still, my options are open, and nobody can complain about that. Still, last week was a real shock.


Friday, June 05, 2009

Link Friday - Ready, Set, Go

My favourite links this week are all about the new club season in full action:

  • Cazenovia is happening this weekend (the likes of Goat, Ironside, and PoNY) as well as Cal States (Jam, Sockeye, and Revolver). Two bloggers (1-Canadian Ultimate and 2-F1215833808) are looking at the scenes respectively. Any twitterers?
  • Texas shootout (Johny Bravo and DoubleWide) for $4000 is on this weekend. Man did I love going to Austin, Texas.
  • There's a tonne of tournaments that are all interesting: Mixed Easterns, UPA Grand Masters, etc.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Poll Thrusday - Market Size for PPV

Last week we had a poll on paying for PPV Ultimate and what tournaments you would consider watching. The results show that 71% of you would pay - great. Unfortunately, that's 47 voters and at $10 a pop over 4 tournaments, the best we could assume is about $1600.

Steven over at Canadian Ultimate had a post discussing his view on the topic. In the following discussion the issue seems to be market size. So, the poll this week is what do you think the market size is for Ultimate. Note, I have no stats on this, so you'll have to make an educated guess (poll right).

Stats that I found and might help:

  • There are roughly 22,000 members in the UPA with 70,000 former members (cite).
  • Canadian league size: Ottawa 5000 members (cite), Vancouver 4500+, Toronto 4500+, Winnipeg 3000+, and Montreal 2400 (cite)

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Bonus Post - Great deal for Canadian Ultimate Players Flying to Tournaments

Hey all,

I got really excited this morning, and I'm not even going to Canadian nationals or flying anywhere within Canada, but Air Canada has a great deal. The deal is called "Explore Canada Pass", and for $700 to fly on Tuesdays or Saturdays you get 4 one-way tickets in Central Canada. There's other tickets for Western Canada to anywhere in Canada for $900 (and so on).

Think of it this way, you want to go to Potlatch and Canadian Nationals. If you live in Montreal or Toronto, for $900 you can fly to Vancouver (and drive down to Seattle) and Winnipeg for a total of $900. Plus you could visit one other city if you some how made it a round trip. The other possibilities include ECC, Flower Bowl, Jazz Fest, No Borders, and maybe even Clam Bake.

Not sure if this is that great a deal, but my spidey sense says yes.


Twitter filters RSD and Borg intelligence > 1

I'm continuing my study into the big question, "Why is twitter here?" ;) What is it good for and how will it change my life? As I stated earlier, I think it has value in the realm of tournament updates (a.k.a. live disseminated event coverage) as we saw this year at UPA College. Great, but I still haven't signed up for my own Twitter account.

An article
on Wired helped explain my concerns as very common in society. Like other technologies in the past, we still don't know what Twitter does. Also, it might never revolutionize anything. I don't have to panic and worry that I'll be out on my porch (if I had a porch) yelling at kids to stop twittering on my front lawn.

Well, I've come to two further insights on how twitter might be useful to us. The first is related to RSD. In the past, we've voted on the health of RSD with concerns it is getting spammed to death (gmail does so well on my mail why can't it work for forums?). I, personally, view RSD less and less due to the spam. That, and I prefer the rss format where information comes to me when it's updated and I don't have to visit.

Twitter might offer us a solution here. Using the tagging system we could easily make rsd twitter discussions. To sort the different topics, we would simply use two tags. The first tag identifies that we are discussing ultimate and the second tag categorizes in a topic.

This sort of live discussion format has been used by some blogs to make the commenting/forum based aspect more community based and live. I think it would work as a second RSD based format, but twitter still lacks the character length for some topics and discussions (maybe links to rsd threads solves this problem essentially filtering the spam). For example, ranking teams would be difficult in 140 characters.

The second insight I've had on twitter and our Ultimate discussion community is actually not mine. This TED talk:

by James Surowiecki gave some insight into twitter, blogging, and social networking. The idea I felt so strongly about was this concept that a collective intelligence is better than an individual, and that's what these forms of communication bring. Therefore, my plea to all you young players (as well as mature players) out there is to get involved in the social community. Sure, The Huddle, Parinella's Blog, and Match are written by top players and knowledgable insiders, but your thoughts and your ideas are just as valuable since they come from another perspective. Essentially, the more critical mass we have the better off we'll be as a whole. Who cares if a topic you would like to discuss was previously covered by someone else. Give it your perspective and add to the collective intelligence. Seems Borg like, but it's actually the opposite.


Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Diagnosis of a loss - mind, strategy, or skill

I remember one of my recent hockey teams. We were a mid-pack team that would win half our games and lose half our games. For mosts games it would be close and we would have a chance to win or lose. When we did lose, we would assemble in the dressing room after the game, and the guys would come out with their analysis of the loss. Fortunately, in hockey you can blame the refs, but once the ref got a good bad mouthing, we would move on to, "we weren't focused enough".

Crosby, clearly, just doesn't want it enough (sarcasm).

To be honest, I didn't say much during these change room talks. My feeling, which I voiced once, but was quickly dismissed, was that we lost games simply due to the fact that they had better players. On average their three lines were more skilled than our three lines, and our strength (which was usually our defense men and goalie) couldn't hold off the attack long enough for our forwards to score. And yet, we would always blame the ref and our mental toughness, concluding that next time we would do better.

Yesterday, I read an article along these lines prompting this post. We seem to be in a modern era of the blaming the sports/team mind. They/we didn't want it enough. I, myself, have been in team circles emphasizing the importance of focus and desire. Not that mind is not important in sport, but it's time for us to move into the enlightened age where athletes mind, athletes skill, and team strategy are equally responsible for wins and losses.

I would argue that Ultimate is a little different and championships are still won based on personnel (not so much strategy). It's about building a team with enough skilled athletes and shaping their minds. We haven't reached a critical mass point where the difference is small between the best and the stars. Instead, at the top tournaments the difference between a star and a team member can be significant.

For example, in Open clubs you can see that the stronger teams are from larger population centers, and the exceptional teams tend to be from Ultimate meccas that also have reasonably large population base. If the sport continues to grow and stay amateur, then I expect that larger population centers will be the major forces in the sport.

Regardless of where you are, train your team to be skilled, solid in the mind game, and strategise well. Then given a loss or a win, look at the full picture, and ask how each of the three factors could have been improved.


Friday, May 29, 2009

Link Friday - Siginings, Ultimate Fighter, Summer Meals and Solar financing

My links this week:

  • Where some of the best high schoolers are signed up for College next season. I really like this idea, but nobody (on the list) is heading to Miami Ohio.
  • The Ultimates finally mixed! In this episode of The Ultimate Fighter they played Ultimate. The called it, "ultimate frisbee", but there was some nice layouts among wobbly catches. My two worlds collided briefly.
  • If you're looking for more cheap, fast recipes for your long summer hours spent practicing instead of cooking, here are a few good ones.
  • Today in the Times, one of the Nobel Laureates was ob board with the paint the world white solution. Number one, I hate wearing white shirts. Am I bad for the environment? More interestingly, here's a way you can solar fit your house without paying the up-front cost. It reduces your monthly electricity bill at little risk to yourself. Do I have to wear white if I do this?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Poll Thursday - Are you going to pay for Ultimate Pay-per-View?

Last week I asked about the future of mainstream media and Ultimate. From the looks of the results, people believe we're a way off (with a significant number in the the never category). I tend to agree that Ultimate and the Internet are perfect partners. Mainly because I'm guessing will be a niche sport, which can leverage the Internet as a medium for those of us all around the world.

This week the focus is on pay-per-view coverage of Ultimate events. Based on my post this wee, I was wondering if we're ready for pay-per-view feeds from big Ultimate events. And so I leave these two questions to you:

  1. Are you willing to pay to see Ultimate events live?
  2. If yes, which events would you pay for?
Polls right.


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Gender Blender - One of Ultimate's Mardi Gras

If I were to rank party based tournaments that I've been to, Paganello would be ranked as the Las Vegas of Ultimate and Gender Blender would be the Mardi Gras. I'll be missing my second Gender Blender in a row, but should be back on the seen in 2010.

What's exciting this year is it appears BlockStack will be covering the tournament this year. This might give you all a feel for what it's all about. Here's a trailer, but the sound isn't working for me:


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Best footage yet - is it time to go pay-per-view?

Congratulations to Carleton in the open and Santa Barbara in the womens. Maybe next year I'll get to see the tournament if it's still in Columbus, but I'll have to say all the "new age" media coverage made the tournament for me. If I had one of those smart phones, I could have caught more of the twitter action on Saturday.

Before letting go of the event, I would like to give credit to the UltiVillage summary videos. I watched most of the videos and thought both the video taping and commentary were top notch. Very simple, very informed, good viewing angles, and they kept me interested. I'm not the DVD type to watch an event after the fact, but during the unfolding of an event I really appreciated the coverage.

I couldn't get a good feed for either of the two finals. For the snippets I got, the commentary sound quality was too quiet (post production vs. live production) and I missed having a graphical score being shown since my connection was popping in and out. The angle, however, was perfect for seeing what was happening on the field, and is probably my favourite view of an Ultimate game.

So, I think it's almost time for subscription based viewing of these events. I wonder if the market is there, and how much it would cost to broadcast the event vs. the number of subscribers? I'll put a post up on Thursday asking that question, and maybe the following week asking what price you would pay for such a service.

The problem, I'm sure, is the cost of equipment and people needed to make a high-quality stream. Personally, I have very little experience in this domain, and I couldn't even estimate what the costs would be for the cameras. Another issue is would live subscrtiptions (pay-per-view) significantly impact profit from DVD sales as I would guess the DVDs are a little cheaper to produce in high-quality and would therefore have a larger profit margin (guess).

I still think the DVDs should go the way of Texas Hold'em footage. Multi-camera footage with two versions of commentating (live and after the fact). It's a lot of work, but the post DVD tournament cover is all about stories - the best being documentary form like NFL films and boxing documentaries.


Monday, May 25, 2009

College Nationals - The final day

First off, thanks to all the twitterers (many amalgamated at BananaCut) and the people keeping score reporter up to date. I missed most of the action yesterday, but the highlight reels sponsored by VC and UltiVillage are a great perspective on the rounds. These little clips are top quality with great news reporting; although, they were choppy for me until I upgraded QuickTime.

There's no word on a live feed for the two finals today, but check RSD for info. If I find it out I'll post it here, but there might not be one. I'm picking Santa Barbara in the Women's and Colorado in the Open. Why? Good question.

In the fantasy bracket I've done horrible in the women's sitting in close to last, but in the men I'm middle of the pack, though everyone seems to have picked this bracket quite well. I'm enjoying the tournament even though I'm on the other side of the ocean.


Friday, May 22, 2009

Link Friday - Wolframing Ultimate, Green Project, Casseroles, and Albert with Marilyn

Here's a great set of links:

  • [New Blog] "The Eternal Battle of Love and Hate" covers womens division Ultimate. There's a great preview on the College division, and they're looking for contributors if you're up for writing Ultimate.
  • Link to the new math based search, Wolfram, with a preset search for my blog. Unfortunately, today it doesn't seem to show the stats it did earlier (2,000,000th blog...woo hoo). Here's some stats on and The Huddle through the same engine.
  • Based on a talk by Al Gore, I found this green project. Personally, I can't wait to own a house so I can kit it up to collect solar energy.
  • This post teaches you how to make a generic casserole. This is a great option for the busy Ultimate player who needs to eat.
  • One more fun optical illusion - Albert Einstein mixed with Marilyn Monroe is a wild illusion.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Poll Thursday - Ultimate Media Maturity

Two weeks ago, I asked if we had any preconceived ideas in Ultimate that assumes certain things about how to play just based on historical ideas. It was a loaded question in many ways and the responses matched my thinking.

This week, on the eve of College Nationals, we've made an attempt to setup an information flow from the tournament to viewers (twitter based). I'm pretty excited about the coverage that potentially will be there, and I won't be constantly hitting refresh in score-reporter. Still, our information setup seems to be dwell in modern media where individuals, as opposed to mainstream media, provide the data we want. My poll question this week is, how long until we get mainstream media coverage (poll right)?

Note, that question has so many problems. For example, what's the definition of mainstream media? The point is more, when will the sport be covered for a revenue based media company.


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

College Nationals Twitter Administration

Hey Folks,

David Hunt has asked me to pass on this message:

" I was hoping everyone posting nationals updates on Twitter could agree on a hashtag for their updates. I say we go with #upanats so that tracking down everyones updates is a bit easier. I'm also thinking of getting a page up on BananaCut to aggregate all the info but that depends on if I have time to throw it together or not.

The RSD post is here:"


College Nationals - Fantasy, Scores,Twitter, and more

Maybe there's one more practice, but most teams by now have set there nationals fate in motion. Here's a few items to keep yourself interested in the action:

  • Rodney has set up a fantasy bracket system for both the Womens and the Open. I don't expect to fare well in this bracket, but I always enjoy a good fantasy round.
  • Score reporter has both the Open and Womens brackets up. These will be updated relatively fast.
  • For those of you who will be roaming and not by a computer, I've collected a fair number of twitter resources that will be reporting on happenings during the tournament.
  • I'm guessing Spin Ultimate will be covering the tournament with write-ups. Now that's some good thinking.
  • Finally, the main site for the tournament is here.
Good luck to all,


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Tournament Lesson 1 - Missuldisc and the good times

Haven't done one of these in a while. Based on injuries, trying to make a career, and lack of commitment, I've been off the tournament circuit for a while. Fortunately, I joined Flump on a trip to Italy for Manny's (front in the picture below) stagdoo. The tournament, Missuldisc; the weekend, awesome.

Pictured Above: Flump in our glorious pink and orange. Manny is in the front and the mountains are in the back.

This was my first time playing Ultimate surrounded by the Alps and just off a beautiful lake. In other words, it's hard to beat a location like that for an Ultimate tournament. Our hosts (Frasba Dal Lac) and the teams we played were great. The food was amazing with beer to match. In all, I would rate this as a great party tournament with some decent Ultimate. Being a small tournament, if you get a chance to go, take it.

The hosts went beyond just running a tournament. Frasba Dal Lac also ran a clinic for young local kids on the Saturday. Now that's good community thinking to help guarantee the venue for years to come. They worked for about six hours playing with the kids and teaching the basics of the game while hosting thr tournament and playing games.

So what's the tournament lesson? It's one of those nostalgic comments you get from your elders, and something I'm slowly appreciating as my playing time reduces. Take time to enjoy Ultimate for what it is, because the great people and the times are hard to find elsewhere [queue violin music ;].


Friday, May 15, 2009

Link Friday - Canadian Ulti Politics, Calahan, and Stoics

My favourite links are:

  • This post discusses a recent comment in the world of CUPA and Canada's world team. There's some good discussion for those of you who care about the upcoming World's event.
  • With Callahan voting coming up the campaigns begin. RSD has various campaign posts (too many to fairly list so I took a by-date sample). Even The Huddle has gotten into the thick of it. Unfortunately, as a media outlet they made specific picks without a full review of the entire field, which would have had more value to me even though I'm not voting.
  • I've always dabbled in philosophy, meaning thought about some of the big questions philosophers try to answer using their more rigorous methods. I'd never read into Stoicism until this article fell in my lap. Just like a hypochondriac, I think I might be a Stoic.
  • Oh, and one more: ... for some of us this is a huge step forward on the web.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

College Nationals Twitter Resource

No poll Thursday...

Instead of your regularly scheduled post, I thought I might offer this blog to collect twitterers details for those of you kind enough to help us stay in touch at UPA College Nationals. Feel free to post your details in the comments or email me (jamieson dot peter at gmail dot com) and I'll bump you into the main post and link to this post on the right sidebar.

For those of you who don't have accounts on twitter, you'll need to get one if you want even more up-to-date info than score reporter.

Twitterers at College Nationals:

Possible others courtesy of Paul:

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Legatum Prosperity Index ... What?

First off, the Legatum Prosperity Index is a measurement on a number of human factors in a nations population. Why am I talking about this?

Clue one is based on last Thursday. I had the fortune of heading to Italy on a car trip for a tournament in Italy. More on that in a post later. The car trip to the tournament started in London, UK and went through all sorts of countries on the way to the Italian Alps. Our team and had a great time both at the tournament and on the road trip (along these lines).

Clue number two happened today while I was watching a Frontline documentary on China and youth in China. The documentary struck me with two key things. The first, is not related to the post, where one of the women described herself as a human machine (another reason for me to push my research in social directions). The second was about a man who had found religion and finally felt complete.

This second point made me wonder if Ultimate and being part of the community can replace a need for religion. That's a bold statement, but just remember this is a thought experiment.

As I looked into the broad topic of religion I found a narrower concept that we could look at on the relationship between religion and happiness. The Legatum Prosperity Index was the link here and shown the correlation. So, instead, I thought an interesting question or research problem would be a similar Legatum Prosperity Index between sporting communities.

Since we're all biased here, I'll shoot out that Ultimate players will win the happiest section. These past few days I've been at the peak of happy, but over all the years of Ultimate it's been amazing. Thanks all...


Friday, May 08, 2009

Link Friday - Genius, Ultimate Facebook, Ultimate Camp, and Housing Inflation

The web is alive with Ultimate happenings:

  • [New Blog] Caught this blog (Movin' On Up) hitting on my blog ;) Good feed on Atlantic happenings.
  • Along the lines of Gladwell's Outliers: This article tells you how to get good at Ultimate and possibly become a Genius.
  • Facebook for Ultimate. Interviewed by Lexi, this new Ultimate endeavor, Ultispace, may be the next big thing in an Ultimate Social network. I'm wondering if Frisbee Finder, Score Reporter, and these guys should sync up.
  • Next Level Ultimate camp is advertising for those of you high schoolers in the Wisconsin area.
  • This video really captures an interesting point on our lifestyle inflation


Thursday, May 07, 2009

Poll Thursday - David vs. Goliath

Last weeks poll was on who would move on from the Great Lakes Open Region. Funny how the order is significant on the poll result, and the actual result was Illinois first and Michigan second. Ohio State almost took out Michigan in what must have been an exciting game.

This week, there's a well written article by Malcolm Gladwell on weaker opponents beating stronger opponents (tip blog criticism and Taylor for the article). My poll question is: do you think there is some preconceived rule that we assume is correct and play by in high-level Ultimate that weaker teams can rethink and exploit (poll right).


Wednesday, May 06, 2009

In the faith of Twitter - Barca beats Chelsea

Based on my last post, I'm trying to make blog-twitter with only a 140 character message. That goal will fail due to a few pints, and my opinions on the walk home. This entire post is based on "no excuse" Ultimate and play for the sake of the game.

On my walk home, about 30 minutes, I went into Chelsea country, and heard the drunken cry of...
but what about that foul, but what about that penalty, but what about ...

Cheeky ;)

Oh the excuses, for a game that was won based on two, in the flow of the game, goals. That and a first leg miracle 0-0 draw. And yet, when your teams loses it becomes personal. Ultimate tends to sit in a different world. We submit to the concept that sometimes the opponent is just better on a given day (even if that day is 365 days a year). There's no shame on winning or losing. If anything, that's what I would like to see in Ultimate in the future. If not, we can make another new sport ;)


Twitter and Ultimate - Any other good uses?

I'm moving on to be a so called technology-based-professor in a university setting, and for that reason I try and stay on top of new emerging technological trends, as much as possible. The reason for this is two-fold: one, the students I teach will be embracing these trends and living with them as normal parts of their lives, and two, these trends have an impact on science, research, and the world that we can't even guess.
Before, I get into things, I'd like to congratulate all of you who have migrated to feed readers for your internet reading (as I've suggested in the past). My daily reads on this blog are now 50% RSS reads and 50% browser clicks for the first time in the blogs history. RSS amalgamating tools are one tech tool that I think is great - it's the modern newspaper tuned to your likes.

But back to twitter. I'm a little nervous about the hype. Normally, when a new technology is hyped I have a vague sense of why it could be important. I've watched TED talks on twitter and sort of get the micro-based reporting element of twitter, but in general I don't really get it. My concern, is that I'm shifting into that age that says, "That music is just loud noises...why do they like it. It's nothing like the good old sounds of [favourite band here]".

Recently, I scanned this e-book (Why Bloggers Need Twitter) and I still don't see a significant impact for twitter. I guess I feel it's a mini version of a broadcast communication point - a mini-blog. Maybe I'm trying to make twitter too much. If it is a mini-blog, then the value is that it can be quick information dispersion, and that's where I'll leave it in terms of technology.

Now, given what I think twitter is, how does it impact Ultimate? So, far we've seen it as one of the best live score reporters. That, in itself, is pretty useful. If someone could add the score report with a 15 second video showing the score, then it would be really cool. I can imagine watching the early rounds of a tournament with scores and mini clips coming in at a regular pace.

Here are a few ideas of other twitter uses for Ultimate:

  • From a team perspective it's a quick wat to broadcast messages about practice, but does it differ from e-mail that much?
  • Ultimate blogs commenting might be more lively (along the lines of RSD) with a twitter network.
  • UPA and Ultimate organizations could get out reminders in another form to their membership.
That's all I could think of. I think in our game the live score report is the killer app. Hook that up to score reporter and tournament directors around the world will have a network that has value, and we might as well make some money off it with ads.

The final question is should I sign up for twitter? I don't want to be one of those anti-facebookers castoff as social rejects (social ludites) as they miss steps forward in modern technology (right Chua ;).


Tuesday, May 05, 2009

The Keystone to Cutting Moves

Last week I did a broad stroke piece on your move repertoire and some ideas on how to incorporate the idea into drills. One coach in my history, Magnum, gave me a key piece of information that I believe all people should base their cutting-move repertoire on. This applies to both handler reset cuts (dump and sideline) and general cuts.

Initiate a first direction cut at full speed and continue in that direction unless your defender fully commits to defending your initial cut.

For example, when running a sideline reset as a handler, start with a cut roughly 45 degrees moving towards the sideline at full speed. After three or four steps if your defender is not committing to that cut then continue up the line, otherwise reverse the cut and retrace your steps backwards (a full speed reverse).

This is the first move you should have in your cutting-repertoire. It's a very simple idea and very effective, but it's incredibly challenging to become an expert at. The challenge is in reading the situation and developing team chemistry to understand how your move meshes with others.

Imagine this. You initiate your cut from the horizontal stack, at maximum speed, in the direction of a deep strike. Now, what is your response if ...
  • ... another cutter strikes deep.
  • ... your defender doesn't commit, but a poaching defender is in a good position.
  • ... you reverse your cut but find that your lane has been taken.
... and the list goes on. There's an infinite number of "what ifs" that can be made up. Even reading when your defender has committed to your first cut is hard to do, and this skill alone takes practice. In all, these decisions come down to experience and taking advice from more experienced players and coaches.

Still, with one basic cutting-move your repertoire can be very effective and once you add fakes, different movements, and teamwork the repertoire quickly grows.


Friday, May 01, 2009

Link Friday - NYT, UPA board, and Elite Sport Psychology

The interesting links this week are:

  • New York Times has an article on Ultimate (saw it on a friend Laurent's facebook). The article is good in terms of discussing the athleticism of the sport versus the classic stereotypes we get in these articles. Still, it's not in the sports section.
  • [New Blog] For UPA followers, there's a direct blog for UPA board members to post to.
  • If you're interested in sports pshycology, there's a good five part series at this blog. So far, this is the second of five posts. This one in particular is focusing on how simulation training (visualization with a plan).
  • Finally, this is a funny picture I found on a random internet walk:

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Poll Thursday - Great Lakes Open Regionals

Last week, the point of the poll was to emphasize Mackey's point. Winning is really not that important and we even for a team like Ring of Fire, who are a top team and reasonably well known, nobody has a good idea (with exception of the team itself and some statistic historians) how much they win or lose. The same would be true if I picked a different team such as Sockeye, Fury, Jam, Riot, DoG, and so on...

This week, if I had time I'd set up polls for all the Regionals, but I don't. So, I'll focus on the Region I'm most interested in the Open Great Lakes Region. Pick who you think will qualify. Multi picks allowed (poll right).


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Improving Your Move Repertoire - Repeat and Expand

This is a topic I've been meaning to delve into for some time now. The idea of "moves" is that in game situations like breaking the mark, cutting to get open, and running a dump cut we have an internal set of moves that we use to succeed. Today I'll look into what to do with your moves, but first an example.

For example, when I cut for a Berkeley (reset from the sideline) against less experienced defenders, I cut up the line until they look away, reverse the cut back with an exaggerated step (maybe an arm shoots out), and then reverse again continueing up the line for an easy lead pass. I've mastered this move and use it regularly in a certain level of game. Defenders can get completely beaten by this move and end up running multiple steps in the opposite direction I'm cutting.

That's a great move to have, but that move only works a few times until the defender adapts. Then I have to adapt and use another move, and so on, and so on. Hopefully, over a game I'll get different defenders so that I don't have to adapt too much, but as teams get better and people learn your moves and play better defense you need to find more.

Note, the move I describes sounds very rigid, but incorporated in a move is options based on reading the situation and working with your teammate. For example, the above described Berkeley cut is only executed based on a more preliminary setup (I'll discuss this in another article).

The three groups of moves that I allude to at the start of this article are related to a start drill I like to run at practice - Lotto. The problem with teams that I've helped coach is this drill becomes repetitive and the players become bored and go through the motions instead of taking advantage of the practice.

However, the approach you should take to make the drills interesting is to run through your moves similar to classic dribbling drills in basketball or the start of Martial arts sessions (where artists go through standard punches and kicks to perfect each skill). Some suggestions for looking at drills you find boring include:

  • Use drill repetitions (i.e. one through three) to practice your classic moves, and use later repetitions (four and five) for new experimental moves.
  • Use the X repetitions where each repetition builds on the last to set up your defender. For example, on repetition one of three man throw a flick. On repetition two throw a flick again. On repetition three know that the defender will, likely, over play the flick and use that to set up a nice backhand.
  • Drill with the same defender or top quality players so you can't get away with your classic moves.
  • Try using a move over and over to perfect it questioning how has the defender adapted, and what does that adaption open up in new opportunities.
First, you need to identify and establish basic moves (hopefully, your coaches and experienced teammates can help). Next, you need to practice and refine the moves you have learning when to adapt, and finally, you need to creatively, depending on the read, transition between moves. The larger and better your repertoire of moves, the better you'll be on the field.


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

More Mainstream Media Reporting on Video Game Sports Benefit

Another article (here) has jumped on to what I've been pushing for some time now - video games for athletic training. The article is not a full blown promotion for gaming as training. The article describes examples of gaming, but more a focus on how technology has impacted sports and the idea of virtual training. They completely bypass the idea of spacial awareness, which I believe is the biggest benefit for team based athletes.

Also, in the article they make a brief reference to the Wii. Likely, you've been discussing and wondering how the Wii could impact an Ultimate video game. One of the ideas I had was manufacturing a disc in which you could insert one of the joysticks/remotes. Then I wonder if the throwing motions could be captured in a game. Maybe with a Wii fit board you could somehow play a game. I imagine it would be a first-person based sports game similar to EA's latest range of first-person campaings (if you haven't tried one like Fifa'09 then give it a shot. It's a new take on the sports game, and I've taken Andy Johnson and Fulham much further then there real counterparts [though Fulham is having an amazing season]).

I doubt we will see a mainstream Ultimate game in the near or far future. Once again our sport is too small and the game appeal is not worth the game development costs. This is good since you have to go out and run around instead of playing video games simulating your sport in the isolation of your own home. Keep video games for those downtimes, and use them for improving hand-eye coordination and spacial awareness.


Friday, April 24, 2009

Link Friday - College UPAs, Good Food/Bad Food, and a Chair

My links this week are:

  • Torontula (UofToronto) team went to Sectionals last weekend and failed once again to crack Regionals. I scanned the scores today, and saw that 5 Canadian teams have made Regionals (University of Ottawa-Women, Carleton [from Ottawa], UBC [open and women], and Victoria). Also, Miami University Ohio made it into Regionals after what appears to be a major breakthrough on Sunday. This weekend we'll see who emerges from some regions while the last of the Sectionals finish up.
  • This article made an interesting point that healthy food on a fast food menu tends to make you eat worse?
  • These chairs (video below) introduced and designed by Niels Diffrient seem really cool.


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Poll Thursday - Spirit and the Caring to Win

It's been a while since I've posted. I was on an extended trip from conference to family to friends. I'm back in London for two weeks before I, finally, get off on an Ultimate trip.

In terms of my last poll, we looked at what is the most important aspect of a gear order. The results show that the jersey quality is the most important factor. This makes sense, and thinking back, all my jerseys from Gaia, VC, Patagonia, Lookfly, and FiveUltimate are good jerseys regardless of minor delays and problems.

This weeks poll is related to this article by Mackey. The article takes a look into spirit and one of Mackey's main premisess of spirit is "Nobody cares who wins". I definitely fit in that category, but I'm sure some out there are ready to argue this point to the death.

Well, the poll this week is slightly related based on the following question: What do you think is the winning record of Ring of Fire since 1998 (poll right). The answers are in terms of winning percentage.


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

VCs Latest Jersey Material

I'm in Toronto for a few days (Picton for Easter) and Lexi collected the VC order for the logo winner. These Friars jerseys are pretty simple desgin. Black material and white screens for the logo and some writing on the back. I'll take some pictures in a few days once I'm back in London with my camera.

The jerseys are made with VC's new dry fit material. I've always liked their material in the past, but this new material is evven better (so far). It's similar to the Patagonia basic material. It's survived one night of partying and still feels great. That's a good sign for a jersey.

The real test will be the wash and an analysis of how the material keeps body odor. My red eye flight back to London should be a good test of the material, and I'll do a wash once I arrive back in the UK. I'll report my findings with pictures of the jersey in a week or so.


Friday, April 03, 2009

Poll Thursday - LATE - What's key with jersey companies

I was in transit on my way to California last night, but here's the poll.

Last week we looked at order success with companies. Obviously, this is not a perfect way to look at this, but one thing to draw is that Patagonia seems pretty good on delivering. I wonder if this a factor of company size, the simplicity of their designs, or something else.

This week I'm interested inn what you think matters most to get your business when ordering jerseys (poll right).


Wednesday, April 01, 2009

MiniWorlds - does anyone care?

I saw (via The Huddle) the UK's Worlds team for the upcoming worlds. I don't even know what the official name of the upcoming tournament is, and I'm not even interested in doing the research, so I'll call it MiniWorlds. I, actually, don't even consider the tournament to have any meaning at all, and my only interest is based on a few friends who will be playing on the teams. And yet there seems to be a little bit of excitement on how the teams are picked and so on. Maybe because this is the one case where Ultimate federations (US, Canada) pick a best of team instead of letting the top club team represent. Still, I'm more interested in the US college season and UK coed tour.

So, is there a way to add some interest to MiniWorlds. You have 6 nations competing against each other at a major sporting tournament. There should be some value there. Six Nations Rugby is a popular tournament because you can watch the entire head-to-head tournament and keep track of the competition over a 2 month period.

My suggestion is making it a multitournament head-to-head series that ends at MiniWorlds. If it was possible, I think having maybe two tournaments ahead of time that are filmed would add significant interest. Then we would have some drama based on previous head to head competition, and probably, the most important part, is we would learn the players.

In general, being able to identify players is probably the biggest problem with generating interest in viewing our sport (even for our own playing population). A faceless game without villains and good guys is harder to watch than one where you cheer your favourites and jeer the villians. I've talked about some of this before, and our sport lacks stories.

MiniWorlds is headed for RSD blips, a few arguments over Canada vs. USA, and maybe a DVD of a bunch of people running with the occasional exceptional play by "what's her name" thrown by "that guy". Edge of your seat stuff that I might just forget to catch.


Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Engineering in Ultimate

One of the classic debates that can start up in a pub or on the Ultimate road trip is what is a sport. It gets interesting once you get into machines as part of the competition. For example, in the last Olympics, the UK's dominance in indoor cycling was partly due to their technologically advanced suits and bikes, which have been locked away until the next Olympics. Obviously, the athletes are still an integral part, and I'm sure if I strapped on the suit and got on those bikes I would still be passed by most cyclists other than my fiancee.

What about cars? This weekend the F1 series started back up. this weeks winner was a Brit who had been sitting at the bottom of the tables until all of a sudden the engineering team came up with a top notch car. Engineering wins the day, but is it a sport?

For Ultimate, the two major engineered devices are our cleats and the disc (the cones, braces, and clothing also to some degree). The disc is common, for the most part, and the cleats a loved discussion by many a player. Is the toe cleat useful? How important is lightness? How comfortable are they? I'm sure the cleat has some impact on performance, but I'm not going to get into those details.

The discs, on the other hand, are made by companies and we try to keep them roughly the same. When talking to the guys at Daredevil, I was wondering why is it so hard to copy the more popular Discraft. The reason was along the lines of how the plastic recipe, the cooling, and the mold are all guarded secrets that would be hard to replicate (and expensive).

For the sake of some imagination today, what if Ultimate was crossed with F1? Instead of one disc, each team was allowed to bring a disc that met some set of specification rules. On alternating points, the discs would switch (or maybe halves), and the opposing team would get 20 minutes with your disc to learn it's nuances. Imagine now, your team plays with a disc that is weighted so that flicks roll over faster (how you do that is for the engineers), and your strategy limits hucks because of the roll. Sounds interesting, but is it a sport?


Friday, March 27, 2009

Link Friday - Fitness, Time Management, and

The links this week are:

  • [Featured Blog] The winners of the UPA Logo division: Guillermo Y Compania.
  • The other blog, which I think I should remind people about is UltiTraining. When I first advertised there wasn't much yet, but we've seen a steady pace of useful articles, such as my favourite so far - SMR.
  • If you're into time management, this post breaks down some key points. Personally, I have to learn to leave my email alone.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Poll Thursday - Jersey company and messed up an order

I really blew last weeks Poll Thursday. I didn't get the post out until yesterday. Anyway, the results are suspicious in the end, but Spin Ultimate gets the publicity with some repeated clicks in the poll (1500% increase visits from Atlanta yesterday). Not a big deal since I have no problem advertising for the Ultimate community. When, however, will I get that exclusive advertising deal?

Until that day, we continue with a topic that I've heard from a range of people, "_____ messed up our jersey order". Now, before I pose the poll questions, we should all understand that filling a jersey order from groups like ourselves is difficult. From the Jersey companies side, we the customers are sketchy on filling out forms correctly, responding in a fast manner, and flip-flopping on decisions...among other factors. Still, the order success is probably the number one factor on teams swapping companies.

So, there are two polls this week. The top poll is for a successful filling of an order (with minor problems) for each jersey company you've used, and the bottom poll is for unsuccessful orders. The definition of successful and unsuccessful is left to you the customer (Polls right).


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

What is the dream college Ultimate program?

Yesterday, I gave some preliminary thoughts on my Ultimate playing future on the field. Some great discussion has kept me thinking about my playing options. On the other side of the coin is coaching Ultimate. In this aspect, being at a University is a great opportunity to help work with a program and move into a coaching role.

So first, the University I'll be taking a position at (if everything continues as planned) is Miami University (Oxford, Ohio) in the Computer Engineering department. That being said, tenure track positions demand time, and the goal of tenure will be my first priority.

The Ultimate team at Miami University has their web presence here. So, from my perspective, they appear to be a strong team with a stable program in place. That's both good and bad. Good in that they're successful and keen, but bad in that it's quite possible they're not looking for high-level management. I haven't contacted anyone from the team for a number of reasons given the current time and other details I need to work out.

My dream, however, is to help Miami Ohio build a college program into a dream program in the region. With the resources in the area, it's easy to imagine building a program that includes some of these ideas:

  • Includes an A and B team ... the real goal being A through C.
  • Includes a summer camp for employment and finances.
  • Is recognized team on campus.
  • A scholarship of some sort for team members (maybe as a housing allowance).
  • Academic success for the team.
  • A club team or associated club system in the area to promote year round development.
  • Regional high school involvement for recruiting and improvement.
At first, however, I'll start slow and see if the team is interested. Then from there, hopefully, we can build the dream college Ultimate program.

Any other ideas what would make a great college program based on existing models or your imagination?

Beyond the local University team, my other goals are to impact the region. I would like to help strengthen the Great Lakes Region in college and the Central Region in clubs. How to do that? Well, I'll have to make friends and discuss first. Then maybe some sort of plan will emerge.


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Is it time to hang the cleats up?

So, I've accepted an offer to be an assistant professor at a University in the US. I won't tell you which one yet. It's in the Midwest, in a small town, and the University team makes regionals in the Great Lakes region.

The questions, among basic logistics of moving and preparing for a new job, are what to do with my Ultimate playing career. I'll be about 1 hour from a regional quality club coed team and 2 hours from any regional quality club open team. I will, likely, try to help out with the local University team, and hopefully, move into a coaching position as time goes on. Still, my playing days seem numbered unless I'm willing to drive +2 hours to practice.

At the age of 32, there's other sporting options I've been considering. Hockey is played in this town, and the sport is much gentler on the body. The golf courses (both disc and club) have been calling my name. Mixed martial arts also is high on my list of to dos.

The major sacrifice I would be making, is no more team building as a player (note that the hockey would likely be in pick up form or house league), and a separation from the Ultimate community (which I would still be a member of, but as a coach, which in my opinion is a big difference). These are the elements that addicted me to Ultimate, and the parts I would find hardest to leave.

Also, my hopes of playing world masters seem to be heading down the drain. Still, maybe it's time to hang up the cleats? What would you do? When is the best time to retire?


Friday, March 20, 2009

Link Friday - [lack of Ultimate] - Video game, useless fitness, and survival

My favourite links this week have little to do with Ultimate:

  • The UFC Video game is coming out in May. Here's a look the fighting styles in the game.
  • The top 10 useless fitness apparatuses.
  • A new book on surviving the apocalypse is reviewed here.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Poll Thursday - Who's your favourite jersey company

Last week, Wisconsin edges out Stanford to be your favourite for the College Women division. I apologize for missing out on Washington, but my distance leaves me a little out of the loop, and my time shortage left out some needed research.

Anyway, this week I thought we could vote for your favourite jersey company. With the disappearing GAIA, who's your favourite (poll right)? In addition, the second poll asks what continent your from to see if there is any correlation.


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Passive Barriers in Ultimate

Another morning where my daily reading hits on a topic that I think might be interesting to the community. The concept is passive barriers, and I read about it with respect to money in this article.

First, definitions for those of you who aren't interested in the article:

  • Barriers: "There are dramatic differences in what we say versus what we do. Often, the reason is so simple that we can’t believe it would affect us. I call these barriers".
  • Active Barriers: "Active barriers are physical things like the plastic wrap on my food, or someone telling me that it’ll never work, etc."
  • Passive Barriers: " Passive barriers are things that don’t exist, so they make your job harder."
Now to Ultimate - Barriers will affect goals whether they are team goals or individual goals, so we should look into some barriers that may be troubling your goals.

Goal 1, in my case, is an individual effort to warm up properly before games and practice. This is the type of thing I promise to myself every year so that I can last longer into the season. The main barriers to this goal are waking up early after lack of sleep, and focusing on proper warm ups after byes during tournament days. Both of these barriers seem to be passive in that I don't have enough time, and I'm trading off that time for fun. I'm not sure how to deal with these barriers, but we all face it in Ultimate.

A team barrier, for example, is the tendency for the O-line to huck the disc too often and not play a small game. Barriers that cause this can include:
  • Individual throwers and team opting for the easy way out via a fast score.
  • Individual throwers and team over using one weapon.
  • Lack of team confidence in the short game.
The same is true for the opposite where a team never hucks, but we tend to see this less.

Not sure how you solve these, but at least being aware that even though we say we're going to do something it doesn't mean we are. Action should be post evaluated and barriers identified to rectify, if that is the true goal, the situation.


Monday, March 16, 2009

Moday Economy Savers

As I come in to the lab and scan through my usual reading, there are two items of intereste to the Ultimate community. First, reported by ffindr, a GAIA closeout sale. Second, here's an article on how to make your own sports drinks.


Friday, March 13, 2009

Link Friday - Training, Bowling Green, and Art from my video game past

My sites of the week:

  • [Featured Blog] A new Ultimate Training blog for those of you looking for info on training.
  • [Featured Tournament] BG Huck-A-Thon. I've always enjoyed visiting Bowling Green, Ohio and this tournament has a little place in my heart.
  • Great art from video games of the past (here and even better, here). For example:


Thursday, March 12, 2009

Poll Thursday - Women's College Predictions

Last week 40% of you thought that Carleton will be the champions this year. To be honest, that was not what I expected, but in itself, this result gets me excited.

As for this week what are your prediction for top women's college team (poll right).


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Ultimate Depression?

Speaking of economics, I caught a thread on RSD with a discussion on the state of Ultimate with respect to the downturn. Then today, this article discusses the NBA's financial woes.

Note: Canadian Tire money is not legal tender in Canada...though it's damn cool.

So, what will happen in the upcoming Ultimate seasons due to the current financial problems. First, I look to my friends in Ultimate, and other than a few, the majority have kept their jobs. This is good news. Companies may have frozen raises, but based on previous spending history, it seems that people will be able to afford the Ultimate trips and gear based on last year. My guess is that the status quo maintains its' spending (no growth).

The second place where Ultimate might get hurt is the upcoming graduates. This group will, likely, find it hard to find work that pays enough and has a low enough time demand to allow Ultimate spending. This means that we might see a growth slowdown for the sport. Also, parents will be able to use the economic climate to convince their children to tighten their belts. Maybe College Ultimate will see a small negative growth.

The third place where we might see change is due to fear. Even though the economic status of players might not change, general fear might cause us to look towards cheaper leisure options. This might mean that local leagues see a decline, tournaments see less bids, and the jersey industry doesn't design new jerseys and instead prints last years version for a few new players.

It would be interesting to hear what people think on this issue. So far, only GAIA has disappeared off the Ultimate map (unconfirmed). I suspect our Ultimate market will see a decline, but not on the same scale as the Worlds. I feel the sport is a reasonably wealthy group to begin with.


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Efficient returns - good economics for improvements?

In a recent article in the New York times, the topic is how the free throw, in basketball, is a statistic that is not improving for the NBA. The experts claim is that:
"Ray Stefani, a professor emeritus at California State University, Long Beach, is an expert in the statistical analysis of sports. Widespread improvement over time in any sport, he said, depends on a combination of four factors: physiology (the size and fitness of athletes, perhaps aided by performance-enhancing drugs), technology or innovation (things like the advent of rowing machines to train rowers, and the Fosbury Flop in high jumping), coaching (changes in strategy) and equipment (like the clap skate in speedskating or fiberglass poles in pole vaulting)."
That and the free throw is not the main skill to focus on within the sport. I'm sure free throw competitions have better shooters as they focus on this one skill.

This got me thinking about Ultimate. Do we have skills that are maximized? Again, we're in the domain of lack of statistics to even continue the thought experiment, so I won't waste too many words in that direction (4 gone just to finish that sentence).

The question that I thought might be really useful to ask, is there any skill that we are good enough at? Should we be spending time on another skill set? For example, I would argue that many teams spend way too much time on casual throwing, though that's not really a skill.

Another aspect that I think teams spend too much time on is getting faster in terms of top speed. Fitness is important, and fitness should be incorporated in practices. Note, however, that fitness should not be simply sprints; fitness should involve game-used footwork with or without a disc, or sprints with a disc. Speed is one of those areas I feel that you get very little return from in terms of how much you have to put into it.

In terms of what to practice, the best thing you can do is determine what skills to work on will give you the greatest returns in game situations. This isn't a simple problem by any means, but it is something to think about. For example, developing teams love to huck and practice hucking. The reality, in many cases, is that the time spent on hucking will return maybe one or two more deep completions in a game (and that's probably via only one or two players who are good huckers anyway). While developing your endzone and small game skills will result in better team play and more possession for all your players.


Thursday, March 05, 2009

Poll Thursday - College Open early guesses

Based on two weeks ago's poll, I'll try have another logo competition in January 2010.

Being in the UK, I'm even more disconnected from the UPA College season compared to usual (note that both King's and Imperial College made UK Nationals Div II here - good job!). That and I've been more busy than normal, but I'll start off with a poll to get me into the swing of things. Who do you think, of the top 10 based on recent NUMP polling, will win the college series this season (poll right)? Note that the teams are ordered from 1st to 10th based on the polling.

Personally, I think this might be the hardest year to predict in a while. We can't rely on Wisconsin to make us look good, but don't count them out.


Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Ultimate - our little secret?

I've been on tour with job interviews and academic conferences over the last week (explains the lack of posting), and I noticed something Ultimate related in the interviews. Whenever talking to people, I always wonder if I should mention I play Ultimate.

Why would I be concerned? Well, as many Ultimateers have noticed, the sport is not well known in the general public, and depending on the person you're talking to, the sport has an image that can be both good and bad. Depending on the situation, the hippy frisbee image can be both good and bad. Then you're also known to throw a frisbee with dogs, and last but not least, you must always be at the beach throwing a disc. Even scanning through the intramural sports list at a range of Universities and high schools, "Ulttimate Frisbee" dominates the naming of the game over "Ultimate". The latter seems to confuse people, and they think you're a mix martial artist, which I, personally, love to go with. My imaginary MMA record is 7-3 and I specialize in BJJ to protect my beautiful face, said with a wink ;)

Still, I'm proud of my affiliation with Ultimate. I list my coaching jobs on my resume, and I tend to use Ultimate stories to convey some of my skill set. My latest encounter turned out to be a benefit.

In interviews for University faculty positions, you spend all day in meetings with existing faculty. These meetings range from junior to senior faculty in various departments. I get edgy on what to say as seniority increase (as I'm sure all people do). In one of my meetings with the Dean of engineering, I decide to mention Ultimate. I notice a facial response from the Dean, but we continue our conversation and I can't explain the sport.

Is this a concern or not? Well, later in the conversation at a lighter point, the Dean mentions how he's familiar with Ultimate and his son played. The Dean remarks on his fascination with the sport and mentions how he's amazed that for the most part the game is unrefereed - good stuff.

I've decided (before this) that being myselfis the right road to take. Hey, if they don't want me the way I am, then I can't be someone else forever. Just like my flawed writing you have to get comfortable in your own mind and skin.

the real PJ

Friday, February 20, 2009

Link Friday - Why we play, math minds, and banking humorless

There are some good links out there:

  • [Featured Blog] check out Lion-Shark: An Ultimate Blog.
  • [Featured Tournament] is adding results to tournaments (for example Disco Inferno). I'm hoping to see some integration with the score reporter, which is my preferred scoring database.
  • Excellent article on some thoughts on why we play Ultimate.
  • For those of you who've never understood implies well (one of those things that I never really got), take a look at this great book on "how to think like a mathematician". I don't know if this pdf will be around forever.
  • Finally, some humor that sadly is funny...


Thursday, February 19, 2009

Poll Thursday - Logo nogo, onto the College season

In the end:

  • UNT takes the college division. Either one or more supporters were willing to click and click again for the victory. That's commitment.
  • Blackfish edges out Monster in the open category.
  • Guillermo Y Compania takes the UPA championship category. If anyone has some pictures of the logo on their jersey, I would be interested in seeing it.
That being said, all of these logos on Jerseys would be interesting. My personal favourite (after my old favourite Sub Zero logo) is El Diablo's, and I'm glad they took the best of the rest round.

Sometime in the future I'll have a contest between these 3 finalists, but back to my standard poll questions: When do you think is reasonable time to run the next logo battle (poll right).


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

That Guy - Hidden Superstars

I've been quite busy with work and interviews, and sadly my dreams are filled with thoughts of simulated and annealing instead of Ultimate cuts and theory. For this reason, more of my ideas are coming in another field at present, so don't expect too much brilliance from me.

Fortunately, various readers pass on tips and articles that they think others might be interested in. If you're up for a long read, then check out this article on Shane Battier of the Houston Rockets (tip David Sheffield). I've only made it one page into the article, but the mood suggests we're getting into methods of identifying key players without the standard statistical or heroic play.

I've alluded to the other end of this problem in Ultimate. The guy who always gets the flashy D, but is likely poaching or gives away every other easy in cut. More important is identifying the quiet guys who shut down their man or make a key cut to open space. I'm sure we've all felt like we were doing the right things and not being acknowledged for it. The bigger question is how do coaches and teammates recognize these contributions, so the player isn't lost or deemed unworthy.