Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A quick introduction

So, my name is Kevin and I suppose I'm the latest addition to the blogging/coaching consortium that posts here at ultifris. Although it's likely to read poorly (see that first sentence), I thought I'd do this just to make it clear who I am and why I asked aj to start posting on the blog (many thanks to him for so graciously allowing me to do so).

About me:

I played four years of college frisbee at the University of Minnesota, which was a really unique experience where I got to see a team improve dramatically over the course of 4 seasons, starting as a High Tide attendance-type team and ending as a consistent top-20 team. It was also fun to take 3rd in a 2 bid region 4 years in a row. Last year, I had the privilege to play for Jojah during my first year of grad school at UGA. Finally got that national appearance under my belt, enjoyed playing with a team that thrived so much on camaraderie.

This year, suffering from massive college ultimate withdrawal, I asked to help coach the team. Initially, my role was a once a week throwing coach for a class of unusually uncoordinated rookies. I planned on attending half the tournaments and focusing heavily on school, but instead got promoted a week after Classic City Classic to co-coaching the team with Travis Smith, another guy fresh off his fifth year. Our age by itself has been a bit of a challenge, alongside all of the other stuff you'd expect to be rough about a first 'big time' coaching gig.

Why I'm writing:

I think like a lot of folks who write any kind of blog, it's because I have a bunch of unresolved questions about the game that I'd like to get down on paper (not paper). My college frisbee experience was awesome in that I got to play under three coaches who I believe to be among the best in the biz and who all go about coaching in dramatically different ways. At UMN, Charlie Reznikoff was a super-intense, passionate guy who could basically put the fire in an unmotivated team using his own will to win. He's also a patient teacher and a very smart guy. Our assistant, CY, had his own quiet intensity, but came off as a bit more cerebral and reserved. With Jojah I got to play under aj. He was more "hands-off" with us and seemed to focus most on the strategic side of coaching. Simply put, I believe that he has best mind for the game that I've ever come into contact with. I think that playing under these guys, along with my own idiosyncrasies has left me with a perspective about Ultimate that I'm still trying to refine. I'm hoping blogging will help some with that.

The second reason is less pressing. I feel like writing about Ultimate has sort of lagged for folks about my age. Aside from Muffin's limitless wisdom and folks like Mackey, who writes really well about the minutiae of the game, writing about how to play ultimate by up and coming players is pretty sparse.

Beyond the mid-20s void, there also isn't very much written about the pedagogical aspects of coaching frisbee. I've liked Hector's recent work, but you'll notice that there's only 2 posts tagged "coaching." AJ doesn't write any more. Kyle Weisbrod writes some about high school coaching, as does Luke, which is handy. The Huddle seems generally based around playing.

In short, coaching Ultimate as its an independent pursuit is an activity that's in its infancy, with the explosion of coaches at the college level coming within the last 5 years or so (yes?). I think that the more publicly accessible writing there is about how different people go about it, the better. If I missed anyone else who's writing, please comment. It'd be great to know more places to go and learn.

So...less quick than I'd hoped. I'll likely post something more substantive tomorrow, it just felt weird to launch into it all of the sudden.


William Everhart said...

nothing wrong with high tide! i know what you're saying though.

hope to read more from ya in the future.

matt said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mark said...

I like the idea of writing about ultimate. I think there are two things that are most sublime, one being the kinetic relationship between the offensive and defensive player, which I think of as a sort of energy balance. You're always burning, hopefully spending a smaller fraction of your power than he is, moment by moment, and judging how much you've got him shut off (if you're the defender) or how thin the string preventing you from being WIDE open, on offense.

The other one is the feel for the field when you're throwing. Knowing when and where to throw it is something that gets more and more complicated as you stretch it further into future time: where everybody is and is going and what the potential trajectories are. This is something your cortex can do explicitly but slowly while, in the thick of it, it's a bunch of analog calculations that go on automatically. Suddenly, you know what to do and throw, more or less at the same time as you realize "that edge of the field" is gonna open up in 3 seconds and your guy will be there. I still get excited thinking about it.

Jesse said...

I like your enthusiasm and drive to write about ultimate. As you say, there are too few people writing about ultimate (even though there some good resources out there).

Many of the books that you read (on tactics) are largely out-dated. Especially the last few years, the tactics in ultimate have taken a nice jump.

So every effort of people to write about such things can only be appreciated! Good luck with your writing!