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.