Monday, November 06, 2006


So I began my college men’s coaching career this weekend at CCC. After a first round loss to Ohio State, Barrett informed me that the alumni were restless. One loss and the UGA alumni are already calling for my head – a slightly different scenario than when I started with the Emory women, a team that had never won a game at sectionals. In those days, I received congratulatory emails from the alumni following every tournament.

We have only had 1 week of practice and this weekend really made me realize just how different coaching here is going to be. At this point, I could insert some generic comments about how different it is coaching men instead of women. But really, the main difference is that I’m coming into an already established program with a lot of players that already know how to play. My last couple of years at Emory, every player on the team had learned almost all of what they knew about ultimate from me and the other coaches. They all had been trained since they started to play in the Emory system and it was therefore pretty easy to make adjustments during the game. As I tried to explain to Barrett after our first round loss – you can’t really blame me – it’s not my fault Stu can’t recruit. In all seriousness, it is going to be a substantial challenge to convert these players into doing things the way I think they should be done. There is also the question of whether it would be more prudent to just leave things as they are given the recent success of the program. Honestly, I don’t know – obviously my belief is that the way I do things is better otherwise that wouldn’t be the way I do things…but if the team crashes and burns this year I’ll deserve all of the blame.

In general, I was pretty pleased with the level of effort from the men this weekend. They really do play incredibly hard. I think if we can clean up the offense a little bit, we’re gonna be pretty darn good.

My general thoughts about the weekend – Wisconsin is for real. This is probably surprising to exactly zero people, but I was incredibly impressed with them. There man-to-man defense was disgusting and they’re shockingly disciplined with the disc. I haven’t seen the west-coast teams yet, but it seems like right now the Hodags have to be the early favorites to win this year. Colorado also looks really good. The loss of Adam Simon is definitely noticeable, but they’re very big and athletic – they will create match-up nightmares for anyone.

I only got a chance to watch the semis and finals on the women’s side. Emory is greatly improved after a coaching change. Their top end players are exceptional and they have a few solid role players. Of course, I believe their system is strong. Their depth is still a big question though. In terms of the AC right now it looks like once again it’s some order of Georgia, Florida and Emory at the top. On the national scene, Wisconsin looked very good to me. Stanford seems to be in something of a rebuilding year, but it’s Stanford so they’ll be good.


LittleOrphanAnnie44 said...

which teams appeared to have the top rookies classes?

aj said...

Alas, you're going to force me admit how little I know about the men's division. I didn't know the team's from last year very well, and so I didn't really recognize the rookies. In general though, the emergence of rookies seems to take place towards the end of the year.


jamjamwilljam said...

Your post certainly got me thinking.

I have come into similar situations recently with Monster and UCLA in LA. Coming from a very structured system that had seen success (Brown/DoG), my first inclination was to attempt to implement that system directly.

But I had taken for granted that the players I played with in New England were nearly exclusively schooled in this brand of ultimate, establishing a deep understanding of the way in which an offense or particular zone should work. It didn't make sense to completely reinvent the wheel with a DoG system in LA.

I found the most success working on fundamentals that underlie any system. Like throw choice, communication, seeing the field, fill cutting to create space, help d and handler movement. I also found success breaking down the strenghts of the existing systems to emphasize them further.

Obviously, a lot of what UGA is doing works for them at this point. Most importantly, it likely does so intuitively as they all "grew up" in the system that they run.

I think you will have the most success by tweaking what exists and emphasizing higher level fundamentals. Yup.