Maybe hate is too strong of a word. I don’t have a problem with people playing mixed if that’s what they want to do. I guess I just don’t like playing mixed. But more than that I think if you’re interested in ever becoming a really good ultimate player you shouldn’t learn how to play by playing mixed. Part of this is that the divisions have different levels of talent, but I think it’s more than that. I’m saying, even independent of the talent disparity in the divisions, you can’t ever be really good if all you ever do is play mixed. Wow, that sounds incredibly arrogant…let me try an analogy. When coaching, I teach my kids to play straight stack rather than a horizontal stack. I think a lot of colleges run the horizontal stack because you can get away with not paying attention to what your teammates are doing. It’s definitely conceivable, it may even be probable, that my team would have more success with a horizontal stack at this stage in their development, but I still teach them the straight stack. I want them to have to think about what their teammates are doing in order to succeed. . I guess, I just think that’s what good ultimate players do, and I want my kids to be good ultimate players not just good runners. I feel like mixed breeds some of the same problems as running exclusively h-stack. There is much more available space to cut into than in open because of the fact that half of the players on the field can’t really help out on a throw to a man. As a result, players never learn to think about their teammates when cutting.
One thing I’m always struck by when playing mixed is how much harder it is to play man to man defense. When I’m playing defense one of the first thing I try to figure out is where my help is. Assume I’m playing in a 3-4 coed game and one of the other team’s men is holding the disc, the other man is his dump, meanwhile I’m stuck covering the guy downfield. There’s no incentive for the guy I’m covering to worry about his teammates if he wants to get open. For all intents and purposes it’s me and him alone downfield. There’s no need for him to learn how to time his cuts because he’s always cutting out on an island. I think a lot of men who play exclusively mixed learn how to get open only by over-powering their opponent. In the last couple of years, we’ve had several athletic young guys that have come to tryout for Chain, who have only played mixed. Almost to a man, they’ve stuck out as being dumb cutters (to stick out as being a dumb cutter on a team as dumb as Chain…that’s truly impressive). It seems like all they want to do is juke and then run as hard as they can in one direction. They go to weird places on the field and look at you like why aren’t you throwing it – I assume this is just because there are more places to deliver the frisbee to in mixed due to the fact that players can cover less field.
I don’t like playing mixed because the game just feels disjointed and slow to me. But the real reason I have a strong distaste for mixed is that I think it stunts the development of a lot of potentially very strong players. I really wish the young players who don’t make Chain, but have the potential to make Chain in the future, would be play on a second men’s team rather than playing mixed. Anyway, I still think most of you mixed folks are nice people – hopefully, I wasn’t too obnoxious in this one.