Thursday, May 26, 2005

History Question

Since our blog seems to be overrun with (old) Boston players, maybe one of you can answer a random question for me: What was the first team to run an O team/D team split? Based on the parenthetical note here , I’m guessing that Boston was running O/D in 1995 while Seattle, the team they played in the finals, was not….just wondering.

It seems like most of the top open teams have adopted the O/D split, while the elite women’s teams, at least the ones around here (Ozone, Backhoe) have resisted the split. Any ideas on why this is? Is this trend changing? Are the west coast women’s teams going to O/D split? Are any open teams considering making the switch back?

Monday, May 23, 2005

The Mixed South

I'm working up to a post on Mixed strategy. First, I wanted to look at Mixed in the South specifically though. Some of what follows is based on speculation and rumor, so take it as such.

The South region this year is looking to be incredibly competitive. Hangtime is back after a year trying the the open thing. They were pretty solidly the second best team in the nation for the previous couple of years, and with Donner gone, would have certainly been the favorite to take it all last year.

Holes and Poles has been been a solid quarters/semis team for many years. Even after losing Harriford and replacing him with Ricky, they hardly seemed to have missed a beat. Ricky will have had another year to recruit Atlanta players and get the team playing how he wants. Whether it'll improve on what Holes has done historically, I don't know. Seems risky messing with a good thing, but maybe I'm wrong and the changes will be minimal. Either way I don't see how you can say they aren't one of the top teams in the country.

Soul Patrol beat us (Rival) and made Nationals last year. They come back basically unchanged. They finished 12th in the nation last year and though they're all a year older, I figure they should be just as strong.

Rival was back and forth with Soul Patrol all season, but lost in the most important game of the year. This year's Rival has been drastically re-worked. Only time will tell if they can return to being a Nationals contender.

Show-n-Tail is supposedly changing their name, thank god. They've got atheletes, there's no questioning that. Their atheletes only got them so far last year though. They're all a year older and that will make them better, and they've added some veterans which should make a big difference.

Next we've got two open teams who got tired of losing to Chain and Doublewide. Vicious and Tanasi are both supposedly going mixed. I expect Vicious to definitely be a contender, the threesome of Dan, Palmer, and Deanna is scary. Too soon to tell how deep either they or Tanasi will be, and what their women will be like.

Will Hangtime still have the magic, can anyone knock them or Holes off to take one of the 2(!) spots to Nationals this year? I think there are 7 teams with a legitimate shot to make Nationals out of the South Region. Is this going on in other parts of the country as well?

Friday, May 20, 2005

Is Goaltimate Dead?

So I was reading this post over on, and it's got me wondering - is goalty dead? There was a goalty tourney in Birmingham 3 years ago and it generated a lot more interest from Atlanta folks. Nobody's really interested in traveling for it anymore.

Goaltimate in Atlanta experienced steady growth through the winter of 2003. It has pretty much leveled off since then. We are able to consistently get 120-130 people for every league now, but there aren't really many new folks coming into the leagues.

The most obvious area of decline in numbers is the elite players. The latest league features only 4 of the 14 players who attended the last national goaltimate in san diego.

A quick google search finds only one competitive goalty league still happening. Johnny Bravo Flatball. To my knowledge, there aren't really any big goalty tourneys on the horizon. So is goalty dead? Are there other leagues out there that I don't know about?

Thursday, May 19, 2005

RToTD - Making Spread O's More Dangerous

The consensus on defending spread offenses seems to be to let the offense move the disc back and forth between the handlers as much as possible, but prevent the disc from getting to the downfield receivers. I'm curious if anyone has any insight on how to make a defense pay for basically poaching off (at least) 2 players. Say you're running an H stack with 4 recievers downfield, and 3 handlers. Defenses will poach off the two side-handlers, preferring to make the downfield throws more difficult. When the disc does get to the sideline, the downfield receivers are even easier to take away, especially if the thrower doesn't have the deep shot.

It seems like it would be in the offense's best interest to find a way to utilize the side-handler as a key component of the offense, since they know the defense will be poaching off them. Perhaps it's just a matter of having enough good throwers that you can have 3 back who can put the disc deep. I've approached it in 3 manners so far. First, just have the side-handlers get the disc back to the middle handler as quickly as possible. This is my least favorite solution as the side-handler position is devalued (and, regardless of skill level will likely become unhappy with their role). Second, I've tried putting stronger throwers on the side (someone with a big backhand on the backhand side and forehand on the forehand side). This is probably my favorite solution, but requires enough throwers to have 3 back (I've had trouble finding these in both college and mixed). The third option is to allow the 3 handlers to run a homey to get 'easy' yards against the poaching defenders. Again, you need the personnel to do this, and it can frustrate your downfield cutters. Do you make the downfield cutters run the whole time or just keep backing up? Perhaps a set play or two would, if effective enough, make the defense play a little more honest.

Have any of you addressed this issue? Is it simply a weakness of spread O's that can only be solved with better talent?

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Navigating the Electronic Jungle

I realized that there were several topics that had additional comments that I hadn't noticed.

Here are the links to the active topics

Comprehensive Throwing Guide


College Eligibilty

Me, feeling sheepish after insulting a reader

RTotD – Ultimate and the Red Queen

There’s a fun theory in evolutionary biology known as the Red Queen Principle. Basically, it states that an evolutionary system must continually change in order to maintain fitness relative to the systems that are evolving along with it. In other words, continual adaptation is necessary just to maintain the status quo.

I think I can already hear Noah whining about how ridiculous this post it, but I don’t think it’s unreasonable to view offense and defense in ultimate as two co-evolving evolutionary systems. Both must constantly change just to maintain the status quo. From this perspective, it seems like a mistake to utilize the same offensive and defensive strategies every season. It also makes sense to reexamine previously discarded strategies as they may be more viable in the current environment than they were in previous ones.

Anyway, a little off the wall, but kind of fun.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

CTG-Flick Question

I've started actually working on the guide and I'm realizing that this could really end up being a lot of it might take longer than I was initially anticipating.

Anyway, my question is about flick grip/wrist snap. From talking to people, it sounds like most of us have given up on telling beginners to use the split finger approach. We're going to want them to switch to both fingers on the rim eventually, so why waste time? I'm wondering how you teach players to grip the frisbee beyond that. The AFDA site shows some different grips. If you look at the power grip, you'll notice that the pads of the fingers are pressed against the rim. I've only seen a few players actually hold their flick like this though - the one that jumps out at me is Martha. Using this grip, she can throw the disc a mile, but has always struggled with control. That seems to be the trend with players who throw like this (I guess this shouldn't be too surprising as it is called the power grip) On the other extreme, we have a couple of players on Chain who hold the disc with their palms facing up. Goodson and Trapp both do this, neither on of them can throw the big flick, but they both have very quick releases and are able to throw the invert very well. I find that my own grip is somewhere in between - my finger pads aren't quite squared up on the rim, they're slightly tilted upward towards the top of the disc. My grip is probably closer to the power grip than the other grip though. I have an easier time throwing the big flick than throwing the inside out flick. Has anyone else noticed this? Which grip is better?

Monday, May 09, 2005

College Women's Nationals Seedings

First, Nice work Tarr. The three teams I'll be pulling for at natties are Purdue, NCST (Go AC!) and Texas ( gotta pull for Cara of Ibsen Warriors fame). I was looking at the teams that made natties and I started to try to seed them, and I realized that I have absolutely no idea how to do it. Carleton over Iowa at regionals means that any seedings are going to have some strange things (maybe it's time to get rid of the rule that requires a team that finishes higher at regionals to be seeded higher at natties?). I think basically you're left with the choice of either pushing Carleton too high or Iowa too low. I decided to push Carleton way up, in order to keep Iowa among the top teams. The things that I think I might have wrong - Purdue may be too low. Posted a great regular season record, but not a lot of big name wins. Win over UNC could possibly push them higher. NCST could be too high - posted a great regular season record including a bunch of wins over quality in-region teams, but didn't travel much (reminiscent of UVA last year). Win over Texas at Easterns puts them high.

Anyway here's my first stab at it:

1) Stanford
2) North Carolina State
3) Texas
4) Carleton
5) Iowa
6) Colorado
7) California
8) Dartmouth
9) Washington
10) Brown
11) MIT
12) Purdue
13) Cornell
14) Rutgers
15) Northwestern
16) Texas A&M


Thursday, May 05, 2005

The Ultimate Frisbee Strategy/Coaching Blog Comprehensive Throwing Guide!

Ok, well maybe I’m not quite there yet….but I think that’s going to be my project for the next few weeks - I’m going to try to put together a big guide to teaching new players how to throw. I kind of have this somewhat scary vision of creating waves and waves of the identical perfect thrower. Has anyone ever seen that commercial for the Tom Lemanski baseball thing? I think the tag line is “winner of AAU back to back to back national titles!” and then they flash up the newspaper headlines. Then it cuts to 10 kids out there swinging a baseball bat and they look like clones? That’s what I’m aiming for….well maybe not exactly…but I do believe that while they’re maybe some variation from individual to individual as to what throwing form works best, there’s also probably some underlying fundamental techniques that all great throwers possess. The point of this “guide to throwing” is to identify what good fundamentals really are, and then explain how to teach them to someone who doesn’t know how to throw.

The difficulty here is that I’m a pretty mediocre thrower myself…this is where YOU come in. If you’re reading this blog, you’ve probably spent an inordinate amount of time teaching new players how to throw. I want to know what’s worked for you. Here are some of the things I want to know 1)what’s the ideal position to have your feet in when you throw your flick/backhand? Does this position change depending on what type of flick or backhand your throwing (IO vs OI etc)? How does this change depending on how the defender is marking (mugging vs. taking a step back)? 2) what’s the best way to hold the flick/backhand? Is it better to just let people hold it how it feels comfortable? Should your grip change based on how far you’re trying to throw it? 3) where does power/distance come from? 4) Once we’ve identifed these things, what’s the best way to teach them? 5) Anything else that strikes your fancy when it comes to throwing.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Random Thoughts on Regionals (AC and otherwise)

Just got back from regionals and here are some random thoughts...I'm pretty tired so sorry if some/most of this is incoherent.

1) Sometimes your best just isn't good enough (and that's ok) - I gotta say my kids played about as well as they can play this weekend. We took care of the teams we should take care of in the early rounds on Saturday setting up a game with Virginia to see who would be the 1 seed overall going into Sunday. We took half 7-6, but they blanked us in the second half to win 11-7. That set us up to play NCST (who won the region) on Sunday morning. They got up by a few early but we went on a big run to make it a real barn burner. We ended up losing 15-13. In both games I thought we played really well. In the end, we just got beat by better teams with more experience. In crunch time they made more mature decisions with the disc and they definitely deserved to win. At the end of those games, I wasn't upset at all. In fact I was really pumped about how well we played. So yeah, we lost and that sucks, but I'm really happy with how well my young team played. Fun times.

2) The 13 team, 1 team advances format seems weird to me - Actually, the format makes sense to me, but the way it was implemented at AC regionals seemed a bit strange. If you're not a familiar with the format here's a quick rundown - A Pool has 5 teams (games to 13), B and C Pools have 4 teams (games to 15). Ok so far so good. That makes sense to me. My problem with the way it was implemented at AC regionals was this-All of the pools were on the same round schedule. In other words all rounds were 1 hour and 45 minutes long. Making all the rounds the same time length amounts to making all of the games to the same score and as games tend to get capped. At AC regionals the bottom line was this - the top 2 seeds from B and C pools last game started at 12:30, while the top 2 seeds from A pool had to play two more games after that round. When you factored in the rain delay, we didn't finish our game against UVA until 7:30ish. Seems like it would have made more sense to make the time caps longer in B and C pool.

3) Congrats and Good Luck to Our Readers/Contributers -First, congrats to Jojah. The dawgs looked very strong at times this weekend. I've only seen the top men's teams once this year and that was back in November at CCC, but if the Dawgs play like they did this weekend, they're going to be a tough out in Corvallis. Finally, good luck to Tarr and Purdue, and Miriam (if you're still reading this thing) and Michigan next weekend at Great Lakes Regionals. I'll be pulling for you guys.