Friday, January 30, 2009

Link Friday - Coaches, your next blog, and Boxee

My links this week are:

  • [Highlight Tournament] Wonderful Copenhagen is one of the top European tournaments for both men and women.
  • This week's coaching theme (as Mackey mentioned) will continue into next week. There's two coaches that I'll highlight.
  • If you're going to make a blog on Ultimate, the common choice for outlets is blogger or wordpress. These are fine, and if you advertise like me, then you can make a few dollars (which I redistribute in the Ultiamte community). If Bukisa was around when I started, I might have done things differently. They pay $3.95 for 1000 pageviews. That's a very good price.
  • Finally, this article on Boxee suggests that you can remove your cable box completely with this $200 device and some technical know how. Unfortunately, for those of us not in the Us (not sure about Canada) we can't get some of the online streamed channels. That will change for me soon.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Poll Thursday - Logo Battle IX - Round II

From last week Caltech Women, Blackfish, and Alpha Cobra Squadron move into the next round.

This week:




Illinois State

Stockholm Syndromes

Monster (Fall)

UPA Championship
Sub Zero

Guillermo Y Compania


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I want to be a coach, but how?

I, personally, have had great opportunities to coach Ultimate and basketball over my years in these sports. My next endeavour, which is undecided as yet, will hopefully be my greatest effort into the coaching ranks, but who knows. I've made some comments on becoming a coach or player in this post, but today I'm going to focus on a strategy to becoming a coach.

The simplest route to coaching is to volunteer to an open position. These positions, if they exist in the first place, are good starting points, but tend to deal with learning Ultimate. If you're interested in this, these positions will exist in many forms. Also, if you want to get into high-level Ultimate coaching without taking on teaching jobs, then please tell on how you achieve this. I believe that the "teaching Ultimate" road is the main road into Ultimate coaching.

Next, if you're goal is to build and coach a team that plays at a more competitive level, then you'll need to find a position in which year to year there exists a stable team. This, likely, means high school, college, or club teams are the target. To get a coaching position for these targets, is not plain and simple. There are advertised positions on RSD that pop up from time to time, but these are far (spatially and temporally) and few.

High school coaching tends to be the domain of the high school teacher. Even if you find and build some form of program, school politics can result in you losing the coaching position. I would recommend targeting college or club positions, but even these positions will be hard to maintain. Also, as I've argued before, club positions remain a strange beast in the world of Ultimate. This means a college coaching position should be your first target.

Walking into a college Ultimate program that doesn't have a coach and becoming the head coach for the team is not a likely proposition. Instead, a slow approach is probably the best option. If the college team has a B team (C, D, and E also work), then as a starting point volunteer to coach one of these teams to develop newer players. This approach over a few years and if you're a good coach will give the rapport with players and experience to move into coaching stronger teams and developing a program that you've always dreamed of.

If the Ultimate team is small and doesn't have additional developmental teams, then volunteer to be a team manager that also provides developmental sessions for beginning players. These might be clinics for new players to attend.

Your dream program, in any case, will take years to establish. Team culture evolves slowly, but this is the advantage of working with newer players. These players over the years will become the leaders, and leaders in many cases define team culture for a college Ultimate team. Keen new players are your most important allies in developing a program and becoming a coach.

This, of course, is my imagined plan - September/August being the starting date.


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Bball coaching tips ... for the up and coming Ultimate Coach

Here are some great coaching tips from Coach Silver. I've highlighted tips for highschool coaches in blue and all coaches in red.

By Duane Silver

1. Have a teacher of the week and have him/her come to the game and introduce them to the crowd before the game. If you have two home games in a week you will need to pick two teachers. (You might pick teachers that are not crazy about hoops.)

2. Always have the Principal in the team picture. After you get the picture back put it in a frame an give it to him/her. This is the greatest political move you can possibly make. (Billy Gillispie taught me this.) This has been our top email we have sent out in the eight years of doing this.

5. Coach your best players the hardest! If you don't, the other players will turn against you.

6. Write down your philosophy and stick with it all season. Don't change. If is not written it cannot be done this year.

7. This may sound a little crazy, but you need to lose a game to make point to your team. (John Chaney who was at Temple University did this throughout his career.) Who cares if you lose a game. I bet no team will go undefeated this year in Texas.

8. Tell the parents in advance you will not talk to them about their daughter or son's playing time. If they bring it up say "I'm sorry, but we are not going to talk about this! Be Strong!

10. "You can't run off a good player by being too hard on him or her." (Bear Bryant)

11. You have to bring it every day in practice and so does your best player.

These tips, though targeted, at high school basketball might help out an Ultimate coach as the job becomes more and more common in our sport.


Friday, January 23, 2009

Link Friday - Goals and

My favourite links this week:

  • [New Blog] The Ultimate Shubbard.
  • [Tournament] Gender Blender - Fergus, ON, Canada
  • Related to the goal setting article this week, a commenter suggested pair coaching at Noomii. It looks like a good approach for achieving some goals.
  • Here's a paper on the up and coming creation of a multi-touch user interface. Any thoughts on how an Ultimate video game might be made given an interface like this.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Poll Thursday - Logo Battle VIII - Round II

UNT moves on from last week.

We'll we're into the second round.



Caltech Women






UPA Championship

El Diablo
Alpha Cobra Squadron


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Goals in Pairs

My new year goal number one is coming into view. I'm 188 lbs (85.7 kg) with all my gym gear on. That's 3 lbs off my goal weight.

Pictured Above: GOAL!!!

I still find it hard to get to the gym every day for a workout, and as much as it's useful to tell people your goal to help you achieve it. I've found that two people making the same goal (or similar goals) is much easier. In this way you feel even more accountable then just to your inside voice.

I've talked about this before, but this goal technique has huge potential if you're looking to achieve something challenging (such as getting to the gym in the morning). For example, commitment with another person to improve your throwing results in someone who will make the same sacrifices to get out and throw every day. The same is true in the gym, on the field, or at the track.

Based on this concept, you would think that having three people committed is even better. This is, actually, a case of diminishing returns. Unless the activity your goal is related to needs three people, then you've passed critical mass. In this case, if you don't show up for the planned work, then you won't be missed so much, and you don't get the same feelings of "I have to get there so I don't let down Kirk".

This doesn't mean you shouldn't allow more people than critical mass, but it means you need to restructure the commitment aspect. If you want three people in the gym, then plan your workout and allocate some critical job for each person. For example, Kirk brings the skipping rope, Peter brings the disc, and Norm brings the stopwatch. All three of these things have to be at the workout or it will be a failure.

You've probably been hearing the viral information from Malcolm Gladwell and his 10,000 hours to expert motif. Those 10,000 hours can be much more enjoyably spent with another person.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Asian BlockStack?

North America seems to be trailing in one category in terms of Ultimate development - the Ultimate vlog (video blogs). Thinkulti reminded me yesterday that I got an email for Asian Ultimate TV over the holidays on their recent efforts to build something along the lines of BlockStack in the UK.

I watched the sixth episode to get a feel for the show. Shane (can't decipher last name) runs and appears as the host on the show. The first part includes an interview with Manu Karan from India based Ultimate. The interview looks into the expansion of Ultimate in India. Interesting perspective on Ultimate expansion, if that's waht you're interested in.

The second half of the episode goes into highlights from a recent tournament in Taipei accompanied by some electronica music.

Overall, the quality of the footage is reasonable and the content is there for all of us who can't seem to consume enough Ultimate media. That leaves South America, Europe, and North America the remaining continents with strong Ultimate and no internet TV representation. I wonder who's going to step up next.


Friday, January 16, 2009

Link Friday - MLU in the UK

My Links this week:

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Poll Thursday - Logo Battle VII

NYU moves on from the last round.

This is the final week for the preliminary round (poll right).


University of Wisconsin




Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Football without Playbooks

There must be something in training quarterbacks and how that relates to training throwers in Ultimate. Other than learning the throws, the throwing situation comes down to reading a play and deciding the best option before looking for a reset. Quarterbacks have a similar situation where they're under pressure, are looking for the best option, and can reset by throwing the ball away. One question is how can you practice these reads given both the defence and offence know the plays for practice.

Pictured Above: Doug Flutie.

I found this article on Quarterbacks coming into the Texas Tech Program in 2005. The coach ran a system where there's no preset play book, and at each practice plays are drawn up and run through repeatedly. Over time the quarterbacks and offensive players learn the plays based on experience as opposed to attempting the transition.

This approach could be applied to Ultimate, and instead of the preset playbook, which most of the teams I coached and played on used, plays could be designed by both halves of the practice squad and run over the practice. Some of the benefits to this approach are:
  • Players learn to internalize plays very quickly
  • Field flow will be less mechanic, and hopefully, there will be more creativity
  • The errors in running a play will better simulate the general flow of Ultimate
  • As described earlier, throwers will need to read different situations from one practice to the next
  • The defense will always be on its toes, not knowing what comes next
  • Team repetoir for plays will expand instead of relying on the old standbyes
Also, as the article suggests, trying different plays suggested by all walks on the team might lead to some great new ideas. I think Idris wrote this once (but I could be paraphrasing or citing wrongly), "an offence is usually most suited to the person who created it". A per practice offence will avoid this pitfall if all ideas are taken.

Finally, the best quote in the article that rings true in my head is, "There's that Don Henley line about why the Eagles were good: They had a great capacity for boredom". If you can take that advice to heart then you're teams headed in the right direction.


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Giving More Football Options a Chance

I always enjoy a good Bowl game and the NFL play-offs this time of year. In some ways, I wish Ultimate had the per play element of football where strategy would become even more emphasized. Instead, the continuous flow of Ultimate means that we need to look to basketball, hockey, and the other football for ideas for continuous offensive plays (though the similarities tend to be limited).

The button hook, passing lanes, and the long bomb are similar in both Ultimate and football. The main difference between the sports is the hang time for the pass, the flight path, and the release point of the throw. In Ultimate, the thrower has more control over these differences than a quarterback; however, the overhead release, straight running path, and short hang time throw is the least used pass in Ultimate. This is the case since the throw needs to be very accurate, and the receiver needs to be well trained in catching blades and sharp angled, fast moving discs.

For these reasons, I believe that we've passed over these options within our offences. The tendency towards possession and risk reduction mean we don't consider these as reasonable parts of our offensive plays. I'm wondering if these assumptions should be reviewed.

Consider trying a drill like "Routes on Air". Five throwers start with discs in roughly the same position on the field. Five receivers (covered or not) in a horizontal stack (one receiver is a back field handler) run predetermined routes. The five throwers throw to a pre assigned cutter using the overhead release, fast moving throw. Everyone throws and everyone cuts, so figure out some sort of rotation (5 throws, 5 receives, rotate...).

You might find that some of the routes you make in this drill become options for certain throwers. You might find that wind conditions make these plays very difficult. The worse case is your receivers become better at running routes and catching.


Friday, January 09, 2009

Link Friday - Tournaments

Here's my favourites this week:

  • [Highlighted Tournanment of the Week] Paganello - Rimini, Italy
  • With the continued spam on RSD, people are missing out on tournament advertisements. FFindr is making great efforts to allow people to advertise tournaments - you can even subscribe to the RSS feed ( I know I've highlighted this before, but I think it's becoming a great resource.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

One Day Only - Free Download - Suze Orman's Personal Finance

Off or on topic? Ultimate costs money and money seems to be a major concern for us all in 2009. If you're looking for some free reading on the topic, then there's a free book download (Thursday only) for a book by Suze Orman (personal finance).

I quickly read through the book, and it's pretty good in terms of present day financial advice. The target is working people in the US, but I think there's a nugget of knowledge here and there for everyone.


Poll Thursday - Logo Battle VI

MIT and Stockholm move on from last time.

This week college only:


Stanford Open

Air Force



Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Anyone's PAL - Posture, Arm, Legs

The breathing article I posted lasted month has been very active in terms of comments and views. We all like to look for something to improve on in the off-season, so topics like this can be interesting as we all try to put ourselves on the field as competent athletes. We'll along these lines I've been wondering about running technique in general.

In my search for information, I've found quite a few references to PAL System (Posture, Arms, Legs). This system was created about 30 years ago by Vern Gambetta in his book:

Sport Specific Speed Book: Improve Running Mechanics

I haven't made the leap yet to buy the book, and wanted to query if anyone has read the book and if it has value. That or any other good sources that might help us all.


Tuesday, January 06, 2009

My New Year's Goals

Happy New year and hope everything went well over the holidays for you all. I was back in Canada and the United States over the last two weeks. Without my laptop power code, I couldn't post any items, but it was a nice break.

Bye bye to 2008 and on to 2009.

First off som enews, the Google ads revenue passed $100 as I expected. This means the TCO logo contest will continue until Feb 5th, 2009. I'm not expecting many submissions (if any), so your best crayon drawing scanned in could win a jersey, though it has to beat mine. If nobody submits any logos, then I'll run another contest.

As for my New Year's goals, I thought I would share my plans. As a note to all you goal setters out there, telling people about your goals is one of the best ways to help keep them. For some reason, when people know you're doing something you feel like you have to complete it or appear a failure to these people.

I have two particular resolutions/goals this year. They are:
  1. No alcoholic consumption in January and February (I do this almost every year) with the hope of getting my weight down to 185 lbs. This is the weight I feel I should be playing Ultimate at. I will continue to consume no alcohol until I reach the 185 lbs. weight.
  2. At tournaments this year, I will go to bed early and party less with the exception of Paganello (and other party tournaments). However, at Paganello I don't plan on pulling another all-nighter, and will keep my nights to a 3:00 am curfew.
Both of these goals are Ultimate related, and I hope to be in top condition for 2009. Now that it's 2009 I will start to play Ultimate again, but I'm going to take my recovery slow.

If you need a place to state your goals for 2009, feel free to use the comment section. At least you know that about a thousand people will see your resolution.