Monday, December 19, 2005

One Coach's Plan for a Semester

Idris talked about why frisbee blogs are a good source of information (at the very least, I seem to be getting all my post ideas from Idris, whether that's good or bad), and I agree. I actually think it's a good first step in developing a solid base of knowledge that our sport needs before making the next step.

So...this weekend I laid out the plan for this semester for the college team I coach. I figured I'd post the general outline here, realizing that this is not the best plan for every team (or possibly even my team), but maybe there is a good idea in there somewhere that you can take, or maybe you can use it as a starting point. If anyone has any suggestions for changes/additions, I'd be interested in those as well.

Basics: We have 3 (3 hour) practices a week. Mondays and Thursdays are normal practice, on Tuesdays we scrimmage a local pickup team. We have a pretty small team, with 7-10 guys at practices, so the plan reflects that limitation.

Topics: A list of strategy/tactical points to cover, in the order I plan on teaching. The idea is to give at least one week's practice to each topic. In the past I've laid out how many weeks to spend on particular topics, but this year I've just got a list, if we need more than a week to cover it, we'll take it. Once I feel we've covered it enough, we'll move on to the next topic. The topics are pretty basic. It would be helpful to someday post specific discussion points and drills for each topic. One day hopefully. (Jim and Zaz's book is a good place to look for info on all these topics).

Dump-Swing/Dump Defense
Trap Dump/Dump Defense
Straight stack offense/Man Defense
Brick and set plays/Man Defense
Redzone offense/Man Defense
Redzone set plays/Man Defense
Zone offense/2-3-2
Zone offense/alternate zone defenses

If we get through all that we'll probably just review what we've done so far, or possibly look to add some new topics if need be (H-stack, more zone d's, more redzone setplays, etc.)

Practice Templates: A basic outline that we'll follow at every practice.

Speedwork (1-5 sprints/shuttles/starts/etc.)
10 Throw (10 flat backhands/forehands, 10 invert backhands/forehands, 10 outvert backhands/forehands, and 10 hammers)
1 Regular Drill (Not necessarily specific to the weekly topic, just working on general skills. ie 3 person marking drill, mushroom drill, throwing drill, etc.)
Discuss Weekly Topic (diagram on the whiteboard, hand out review material, answer questions)
Walk-through Weekly Topic
Weekly Topic Drills/Games

10 Throw
Warmup Drill (whatever you prefer, I see a lot of mushroom, but we use a goto drill)
Weekly Topic reminder/team discussion
Game/Weekly Topic Review and Questions

10 Throw
1 Regular Drill
Discuss Weekly Topic - answer questions
1-2 Weekly Topic Drills
2-3 Regular Drills
Game (ideally 7 on 7, more likely 3 on 3, hotbox, etc.)

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

What strategy?

I read this post by Idris, and it got me thinking about the low level of strategy in our sport. Take the idea that it is truly better (and I actually agree with this) to let a team learn how to flow and adjust on it's own, with little structure. This, to me, is a horrible indictment of the place our sport is at currently. In other, more established sports, you learn the fundamentals, how to make the x different cuts required in your sport, the right way to throw a ball.

Maybe I place football on too high a pedestal, but I'd love to have just a fraction of the strategy from football in Ultimate. How hard would it be to have a standard set of cuts, have players run the cuts, perhaps changing them based on a defensive 'hot read'? Is it simply a physics question? Does the disc move too slowly in the air to run a curl or post? I'd like to think we could just add on to the progression idea. I know player x is going to make cut y. I see how the defense is playing him, and know that he is going to switch to cut z. I can then make the throw to z before the player has even turned.

I know this happens, to a degree, at higher levels, but I don't think it's actual codified in the offense. There is so little consensus in our sport about the best way to do things, that we actually teach new players to try different (probably incorrect) things out because we're worried that we're wrong or we simply know that the next team a player is on will likely have a completely different philosophy. I'm not talking about the difference between the west coast offense and the run and shoot. At their core, those offenses are much more similar than what we do team to team, even if we're running the 'same offense.'

Teaching players to play dynamically makes your team better right now, and probably makes your players better over the next few years. But until we get to the point where we can teach players the right way to play, we're going to be stuck teaching them to play 15 different (non-optimal) ways and we're never going to have real strategy.

Strategy in our sport right now is limited to "create 2 on 1's", "get a step on your guy and jack it", "break the mark to get the defense on the wrong side of the field," etc. Maybe I'm silly to think that we can or should move to, "the defense is in an X coverage so I went to the Y hotroute to beat it."

What is the most advanced Ultimate offense out there? Does it work? and how 'advanced' is it really? What are the limitations in our sport that keep us from having more precise strategy?

Monday, December 12, 2005

Know what you want – Progression of Reads

So you’ve spent hours going over the game film of your team, carefully noting every possible strength and weakness. You’ve come up with the perfectly tailored game plan that highlights each area of strength while hiding all potential weak spots. You are a titan of strategy; it’s just a matter of time before your true genius is recognized and you replace Parinella on ultimatetalk. So why in the hell does your team keep screwing it up?

It’s important for players to understand the real world implications of a certain strategy. It’s one thing for a player to sit in a class room and understand the ideal version of your evil plan when you draw it on the chalkboard. Being able to implement the plan on the field is another thing altogether. When drawn on the chalkboard, all the available options can be viewed pretty much simultaneously. In the real world, seeing the whole field in an instant is not a possibility (as an aside…I find the longer I play the more of the field I can “see” – it’s conceivable to me that some of the old-timers are able to see multiple options developing at the same time and are able to make choices based on that – in any event, I can pretty much guarantee that none of the players you coach can do this). As the designer of the offense, it’s your job to focus your player’s attention in the right place. A progression of reads is simply setting the order in which a player should look at a particular cut. For instance, in the Evil Plan Offense, upon receiving the disc a player should (1) look to hit the deep cutter, if that’s not there (2)look to hit the underneath continuation, if that’s not there (3) look to hit the break, if that’s not there (4) dump the frisbee. Of course, the progression of reads in your offense could look very different depending on what you’re trying to do.

The main point is this – you know what spaces your offense is best at attacking - prioritizing throw options leads to more shots into the spaces that you attack well and that is a good thing.

Monday, December 05, 2005

How much is a yard worth?

I was reading through a bunch of the old stuff on my blog recently. It’s fun to see how some of my ideas have changed even in the short time (1 year) that I’ve been blogging. Anyway, in one of my first posts I said I was going to go through all of Billy Berrou’s stuff and pick out the good stuff. Jim beat me to the punch with this post. In Frank’s response to Jim he says something that’s interesting to me “First, take yardage completely out of the equation. It does not belong. Yardage is irrelevant…It's always about position.” In a sense, this is totally insane – you have to move forward (gain yardage) in order to score. However, it is true that it is oftentimes worthwhile to trade yardage to maintain possession and improve field position.

Anyway – here a couple of things I’m pretty sure I think about the value of a yard (relative to the value of field position and maintaining possession) –

1) The value of yardage decreases as the level of play increases.

2) The value of yardage decreases as conditions improve.

3) The value of yardage increases when a team is going downwind.

Here’s something I think I think about the value of yardage.

1) The value of yardage decreases the closer a team gets to the end zone.

Here’s something I’ll claim I think if people think it makes sense – otherwise I definitely don’t think it.

1) The value of yardage decreases when a team is going upwind.

Monday, November 21, 2005

CCC - Women's

I’m officially out of new things to talk about, so I’m pretty much relegated to doing tournament write-ups. At least they haven’t started calling for my head (yet) over on ultimatetalk. When it inevitably does happen, I plan to take the road of seppuku, blocking the rss feed on my site before Idris can pull the plug. I’m currently printing, “Keep Luke on Ultimatetalk” stickers. If you email me your credit card number I’ll send you some.

Pretty much all of the AC region contenders were at CCC this weekend, and things are considerably more wide open than they have been in the past. Florida is for real and is the early frontrunner with their win this weekend, but I think seven teams have a chance of grabbing the AC’s bids to natties. UNC is probably the most athletic team in the region and will be very tough down the stretch. Emory is improving despite poor coaching. Wake Forest rolled over teams on Saturday before losing to a very smart Tufts team in the quarters. UGA’s record this weekend is not indicative of their strength. They basically played their rookies a whole bunch. They still have two Ozone players and will likely be adding a third in the spring. NCST and UVA both lost several key players from last year but both have strong young players. In general the region is very young this year. At this point, I’d say none of these teams are as strong as last year’s big four, and any number of teams could realistically come out on top in the end. Should be a fun spring in the AC.

I’d expect all of the out of region teams to be among the better teams in their respective regions as well. Tufts brought a fairly small squad down but did a good job of taking care of the frisbee. Their low numbers caught up with them late in the day on both Saturday and Sunday. Penn State has some really good top end players – Erin Crider made several big time plays. I’m sure they’ll be battling it out with Cornell for the ME title. I was impressed by Michigan’s handlers and with the Purdue losing everyone, they have to be the frontrunners in the GL. Texas A&M has some big athletes and likes hanging it up to them.

Last year I watched Iowa playing at CCC and thought, “this is a team that could easily make the semi-finals of nationals.” I didn’t really see a team like that at CCC this year. The teams were very good, but none of these teams is a truly elite team yet. Of course, it’s only November so there’s plenty of time for teams to take their games to the next level.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

What can I say - they cheated us.

Coming into Nationals if you had told me that we would be playing Ring in our second game on Saturday I would have been pretty pleased. I certainly wouldn’t have expected it to be the 13/14 game – more on that game in a bit.

I’m an obsessive checker the week of a tournament. I always like seeing how much wind is predicted. Usually I find myself hoping for just a little wind, but going into nationals I was praying for BIG wind. We had lost two of our main offensive cutters in the weeks prior to nationals – leaving us with a lot of handlers with no one to throw to. This isn’t exactly the ideal situation when your plan is to go BIG. In retrospect, it’s fairly obvious that we should have adjusted our game plan much earlier than we did.

Our first game was against Furious and it started off pretty well. We scored our first 4 offensive goals without a turnover. The Junkyard Dogs had generated two turnovers but were unable to convert. The offense got broken on the next point, and then they broke us again to take half 8-6. They scored their offensive point to make it 9-6, and we really weren’t able to get it going after that.

We put the FG loss behind us pretty quickly. I think everyone understood that DoG was the team we really needed to beat. The craziness over in C pool meant that the loser of our game against DoG would likely have the Condors in the lower bracket while the winner would have Twisted Metal in the upper bracket. The Junkyard Dogs came out on fire and we went up 4-1. We actually got the block with a chance to go up 5-1, but gave it up and they scored to make it 4-2. DoG battled back to 4-4 as we decided to hang it to our handlers with Colin (6’7ish) on them. I know Jim and Al always say that you shouldn’t be throwing to match-ups when you throw deep, but I don’t think this is exactly what they had in mind. We trade out and we take half 8-7 on serve. We continue to trade until 10-10 and then they break us 3 of the next 4 points and finish us off 15-12. Ziperstein was really outstanding in this game. He had three blocks against us, including getting one on me going deep. I think he tweaked his hamstring on Friday and wasn’t able to play many points on Saturday against Sockeye. Clearly he would have been a big help.

We squeaked by PBR in our final round of pool play to set up a match-up against Condors first thing on Friday morning.

Again, we started the day playing pretty well. We trade with Condors to 5-5 before breaking them. We trade to 7-6 and then they break us back to back times to take half 8-7 on serve. We trade to 9-9 and then have our third second half collapse of the weekend and get broken 5 times in a row. They close us out 15-10. Occasionally, you’re going to get broken and that’s ok. But it’s imperative that you don’t get broken multiple times in a row. All weekend long we really struggled to stop the bleeding. It’s easy to say “well we would have been fine if we had Dylan or make some similar excuse” but the truth is in all three games we lost we had really good opportunities to put our opponents in tough spots and we let them out too easily. That’s not to say that we should have won those games – I just mean we could have really forced our opponents to play as well as they were capable of playing if they wanted to win and we didn’t make teams do that.

After our loss to the condors we needed to beat Doublewide by 9 points in order to advance to pre-quarters. If we beat DW by less than 9 Condors would advance, if we lost to DW then DW would advance. Once Doublewide got to 7 we were officially eliminated, and they basically ran away with it.

If you’ve ever been to Tune-Up, you know that the farther you move away from the main tent, the worse the weekend has been. That’s kind of how I felt on Saturday morning as I started at the pavilion and walked past team after team warming up for progressively less meaningful games until I arrived at the LAST field in the complex, the home of the 13-16 bracket. The walk of shame – perhaps deserved, but definitely depressing. We had Vicious Cycle. Highlights from this game include me catching my first and most likely only Callahan goal at Natties. That’s really about all I remember.

All season long we’ve attempted to perfect the art of lulling our opponents to sleep. We have become fairly confident in our abilities believing that it would be impossible to lull us. After all you can’t really expect to lull a luller. In the end perhaps our hubris caught up with us as Ring undoubtedly lulled us in the battle for 13th place. While we were cheering on the Ozone ladies in their quarterfinals match-up, a Ring player came up to us and asked if we’d like to boat race for the coveted 13th spot. Like fools we immediately accepted. We should have known that no one would be crazy enough to challenge a team led by the Kid to a boat race for anything meaningful. Needless to say, when we returned to our field to retrieve our stuff, Ring was on the line assessing – the scoreboard read Ring 5 Chain 0.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Seeding Rules

Is it time to get rid of the requirement that the team that finishes higher at regionals has to be seeded higher at nationals? It seems like this rule consistently forces seeding that doesn’t gel with the common sense perception of strength. I think it’s particularly silly in the scenario where the 2 and 3 seed don’t even play. In open this year, I don’t think there were any huge surprises at regionals, but it sounds like their might have been some craziness in coed. Anyway, there are examples of other sports that don’t force this requirement – The NCAA Basketball Tourney for instance – I was just wondering what people thought about this rule.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Post Tournament Depression (PTD)

For a few years now, I've noticed an emotional change in the days following a tournament. I've spoken to a few others who about it and they've noticed similar things. Usually, the Monday after a physically and mentally taxing tournament, I'll exhibit several (generally mild) symptoms of clinical depression. Now, I may be overly sensitive to the subject since I have a psychology degree and since I've suffered through bouts of clinical depression in my life (ironically, Ultimate has been the best cure for me). I am not suggesting that Ultimate in general, or tournaments in particular cause clinical depression. Rather I have experienced what I describe as "Post Tournament Depression (PTD)" which is a mild, short duration (2-3 days) form of depression.

Here are a few of the symptoms I've noticed:
  • lack of energy
  • sad or withdrawn
  • irritable
  • difficulty completing simple tasks
  • difficulty focusing
The severity of the symptoms has more to do with how difficult the weekend was physically, moreso than whether the weekend was a success or not. Even 'fun' tournaments can cause PTD if I have to play a lot.

I've failed to find any studies on physical exhaustion causing temporary depression, so perhaps it's all in my head. It makes sense to me though, that a physically draining event could cause a person to feel depressed for a few days, while the body recovers. I do not mean to ignore the mentally exhausting aspect of the problem. I do think that a mentally taxing tournament can increase PTD symptoms, but I think physical exhaustion is the main cause.

So, does anyone else notice symptoms of depression in the days following a tournament? Do you just wait it out or have you come up with a way to bring yourself out of it?

Friday, October 07, 2005

Southern Regionals

Tim writes, “The blogworld is silent.” I’m not sure why everyone’s stopped posting. Honestly, is kind of in my head. It seems like ultimatetalk is geared toward serious discussions and I’ve been hesitant to clutter up that board with my pointless ramblings. I’ve been trying to figure out a way to block the RSS feed on individual posts so I can prevent my goofy posts from being syndicated, while still letting ultimatetalk pick up the “serious” ones (any ideas?). I think I could probably categorize all of my posts and then provide a separate RSS feed for each category, but blogger doesn’t support categories, and I don’t feel like moving the blog. Anyway, if you’re looking for some frisbee posts you should check out Tim’s blog, it’s a lot like the early days on The Count’s blog. The only other stuff that’s really going on is over in the comments of Zaz’s latest post (I used to think I was a nerd, but after reading a few comments, I realize I didn’t even understand the meaning of the word). That’s about enough of that - onto to the regionals write-up.

Last Tuesday, the score reporter was only showing 15 teams as going to regionals, and I was afraid were going to have the ugly 15 team format. Basically we would have had to play 3 games on Sunday instead of 1, so I was really hoping we could secure a 16th team. Thankfully we were able to grab a 16th so the modified triple elimination bracket was on.

Our first round was against Crude of Dallas United. Dallas has two teams and they apparently have a very good relationship. Crude calls themselves Grit’s B team. I’m not sure if they practice/have tryouts together, but I think it’s an interesting idea. I think maybe they did something similar in the Toronto area this year? I think it’s great to see the top team in an area working to develop the players on the second team. It’s going to guarantee that the top team always has the best players, but it seems like it can go a long way towards improving the depth of good players in an area. It will be interesting to see how things turn out in those areas in a few years. Crude had some good athletes but was a bit short on throwers and we were able to take care of business

Next up was Miami. In 2002 we actually lost in the second round to Miami and had to fight through the LONG road to natties. They still have some of the old Florida Combo guys and traditionally it hasn’t been pretty when we’ve played them. I was hoping they would lose in the game prior to this one because I wasn’t really excited about arguing for two hours. As it turned out it was pretty clean uneventful game.

Our final game of Saturday was against Vicious Cycle while Doublewide played Bulge in the other semifinal. Vicious Cycle has a couple of old-timers, but for the most part they’re super-young. Their studs are the studs of the University of Florida men’s team. The Junkyard Dogs pretty much dominated this game as we took half 8-2. In the second half we mostly traded to finish it off. There were no real highlights.

Thankfully the game was short and we got to watch the DW-Bulge game. This game was pretty contentious. Bulge got up by a couple of breaks and looked like they were going to take it, but DW went on a big run at the end. In the later stages a DW guy and a Bulge guy were jawing back and forth and the DW guy shoves the Bulge guy. The Bulge guy shouts “I will knock you out!” The consensus among the Chain sideline was that the Bulge guy would in fact have knocked the DW guy out had it not been broken up. In further proof that God loves the fans, Doublewide decides to immediately throw the big hanger to the two guys that had just been fighting. In an attempt to dispel the rumor that the disc never lies, the DW instigator comes down with the hanger over the Bulge guy.

Sunday morning brings a swirling, gusty wind for our finals game against Doublewide. The Junk Yard Dogs continue their impressive play breaking 3 times to Doublewide’s 1 and we take half 8-5. Highlights include Kid pimping the bejesus out of Max. I really felt bad for Max, as he read the disc perfectly and really did everything he could. Here’s a picture of me getting pimped to ease the pain.

After half, the O team goes into shut-down mode and we get broken 4 of our next 5 possessions and we’re down 11-9.We finally score to make it 11-10, and then the Junk Yard Dogs come out and break twice in a row to put us back up 12-11. We trade to 13-12 and then the JYD finish it 14-12. All and all a pretty ugly game, but we won so that’s good.

I skipped the VC-Doublewide game and went and watched the coed finals. Hang Time and Hot and Sweaty are both very strong. I would be pretty surprised if both teams didn’t make at least quarterfinals.

I was back at the open fields for the Bulge-VC game to go. It was a very fun game. The crowd was just about evenly divided between loud Bulge fans and loud VC fans. I had to leave at half-time to catch my flight, so I missed the bottle throwing. There were only 4-5 Chainiacs remaining at the fields when I left, and it was mostly GA Tech kids. Bottle throwing is more of a Dawg thing, so I’m gonna guess Chain didn’t throw the second bottle. I guess I’ll find out for sure at practice tomorrow.

Friday, September 23, 2005

In Defense of the (ok, maybe somewhat mindless) Huck

In my recent travels through the blogosphere, I’ve noticed a trend to argue for possession based offenses and the threat they pose to top teams. In a sense, I definitely agree and I think you can perhaps point to Jam’s recent loss to Kaos and the Condors’ Labor Day loss to Rhino as possible examples of this. However, I think that newer players reading our blogs could be getting a bad impression of the huck. I also think we do a disservice to both our opponents and ourselves when we assume that the west coast teams are beating up on us simply because they have more Big Dumb Athletes (BDA) than we do.

When a team chooses the path of the huck they’ve chosen to be the aggressor. They’re taking it to the opponent saying, “we’re crazy and you better keep an eye on your end zone because the disc could be going there at any moment.”

It should be noted that the preachers of possession are not opposed to the huck. They have argued many times that the best pass is not necessarily the one with the least risk, but rather the pass that gives your team the highest percentage chance of scoring (I thought that might be too difficult of a calculation for most players to make - here). I think Parinella wrote that a huck with 60% completion rate is good enough in most scenarios (although I can’t seem to find it at the moment, so perhaps I’m making that up). I assume this number was based purely on “the numbers.” In other words, type .90 * .90 into your calculator and start hitting = it doesn’t take long for that number to be lower than .60. I’m arguing that the advantageous implications of the huck extend beyond the calculation of giving your team the highest percentage chance of scoring (this goal).

When a team completes a huck it has a psychological effect on the opponent. I try to make it a point to catch a huck in the first few points of the game because it really puts The Fear into a defender. No one likes to be scored on and there is something especially intimidating about getting taken to the rack. A confident defender won’t let it affect the way he plays defense, but often times a defender becomes so afraid of the deep game that he concedes the underneath. It also the case, that an incomplete huck is sometimes just as effective as opening up the underneath as a completed one. “this team is crazy – they’ll throw ANYTHING deep, I was beat on that last one, good thing the throw sucked. I’m not gonna give him a chance to beat me again.” In a sense, this is similar to Mooney’s discussion of using the 1-3-3, the defense that never works. The early no conscience huck trades short term efficiency for greater long term efficiency. In other words, this goal may be more difficult to score, but later goals will be easier to score if the opponent is afraid of the deep shot.

None of this even takes into account the “oops, we scored” factor of the huck. The fact is that terrible throws often times work out on the big away cut. The most compelling reason I’ve heard for this is Parinella’s discussion of temporal vs. spatial margins. A huck thrown at the correct moment has a huge spatial margin for error. When your BDA says, “just throw me ANYTHING in bounds,” he’s actually stumbled onto something.

Most games favor the side that is willing to be aggressive and ultimate is not really much different.

That’s about all I got on that, but here’s a digression into an alternate theory as to why the top aggressive teams may be susceptible to the possession based strategy. I actually think it’s the defensive strategy of the aggressive teams that is more vulnerable than the offensive strategy. I think you can fairly classify 6 of 8 of last year’s quarterfinalists as aggressive (no conscience hucking) teams. It’s not too surprising then that the defenses on these teams have evolved to stop the huck. The strategies that are most effective at stopping the huck (flat marking, backing downfield cutters) also happen to be particularly ineffective against a traditional dump-swing straight stack approach. If the aggressive teams do not make the necessary defensive adjustments, I think they are vulnerable to an efficient possession based team.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Obligatory Sectionals Report

I’ve been insanely busy the last couple of weeks and I’m behind on my blog reading/writing. There are several recent additions to what blogosphere (I think we should all start using Luke’s term to avoid embarrassing situations like Parinella calling it Blogworld) I didn’t realize existed. Idris seems to be trying to maintain some semblance of order with his Our blog has to be particularly annoying to catalogue since it has multiple authors. Meanwhile, it appears that we’ll hit the 15,000 visit mark sometime this morning – not too bad for a blog that was just two guys talking to each other about frisbee. Recent posts have kind of gone astray from our original intent of talking about coaching and strategy. With the college season starting up again, I’m more focused on that kind of stuff and will probably start posting more strategy/coaching after the club season. Speaking of which, I’m going with Chain 15 DoG 3 in the finals of nationals…I believe they’re taking bets over on the Frisbee Spew Site, so get your money in now. On to the obligatory sectionals report…

Chain was first formed in 1981 (making Chain older than half the guys on our team) and has never lost a game at sectionals. With all the complaining that the DoG guys do, I thought perhaps they could understand how painful sectionals is, but then I realized they played Twisted Metal, and as such, they have absolutely no idea. This year was particularly bad as the traditional second team in our section, Tanasi, has gone coed. In the past, we’ve tried many gimmicks to try to force people to play seriously. One year we instituted the if you turn it over your benched rule. That was scrapped after a few points when it became clear that people were turning it over intentionally. Last year we flipped the script and made the rule if you turn it over you play for the rest of the game, and that was actually pretty effective. This year, with the Hammonds in charge, we brought out the alcohol. The rule was – if you turn it over you’ve got to buy the beer. This led to some pretty funny scenarios. In our second game a rookie was cutting in at full speed for Jay Hammond (easily the most obnoxious guy in ultimate) and Jay just absolutely fires the flick at him from like 7 or 8 yards as he turning to clear. Of course, the sideline is all over the poor guy when he can’t come up with the catch. At this point, it might make sense to note that if you’re thinking of modeling your team after Chain….it’s probably not the best idea. I was kind of afraid that some of our opponents would be insulted by our drinking/goofing off, but for the most part our opponents bought into the idea of a fun game and started showboating as well. We somehow get through pool play with no injuries and a 4-0 record.

We had to come back out on Sunday for the finals and we actually took the game pretty seriously and played hard. The one play of note came late in the game after we had caught a huck and called timeout on the goal line. We have this 16 year old Paideian, George Stubbs, that’s playing with us, and he’s been talking about this end zone play all year. Basically, you have a guy run off the back of the stack to the front cone, the thrower fakes the throw, the cutter makes the huge dive and the sideline and stack go nuts like the guy just made an incredible catch. Meanwhile, another cutter sneaks off to the other cone to catch the goal. So everything is going according to plan, George comes off the back with the HUGE layout, everyone goes nuts and their whole team turns to watch. Then my defender starts screaming, “Boston Surprise!” “Boston Surprise!” and sprints over to the break side fast enough to stop the goal. Of course, being alone in the middle of the end zone it might have made sense for me to say something, but instead I stood there amazed. I’ve never heard of this play and I certainly didn’t know what its name was. But this guy, 1)has heard of the play 2) recognized it as soon as he saw the guy layout 3)had enough presence of mind to sprint back over to the break side to stop the play 4)all the while yelling Boston Surprise! Boston Surprise! alerting his team to our evil plan. Crazy. I would have asked him to play with Chain, but he’s obviously way too intelligent.

Anyway, that’s about all I got.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Kangaroo vs Synthetic

There are way too many posts on rsd and on blogs about cleats. Here's mine... I read a comment over on Frisbee Spew where Heacox says he prefers the synthetic uppers they are putting on cleats these days. During Summer League EOS, AJ trots out with his new cleats and shows them off. "Kangaroo," he says. Here is a gratuitous shot of AJ modeling his Puma Kings. AJ and I agree on one thing, coed, wait. Kangaroo is King. The comfort scale in cleats goes like this (worst-best): synthetic, cow leather, and kangaroo leather.

I remember the first kangaroo leather cleats I got, some Adidas TRX 3's. I couldn't believe how good they felt. Then, of course, Adidas stopped making them. I switched to the Nike Talaria's, after hearing how amazing they were, and I was won over (not saying much since Adidas stopped making my beloved TRX 3's). I loved the traction I got and how light they felt. My feet paid the price though, as I started getting blisters and blackened toenails again. The Talaria's used Nike's synthetic upper, but I'd always had problems with Nike's so I just attributed it to that.

The Talaria's synthetic upper ripped after 3 tournaments. Thankfully, Nike has a great return policy. If your shoes tear or malfunction, within 3 years of their manufacture, Nike will 'replace' them. Generally this means they'll give you the MSRP of the cleats in the form of a gift certificate. Unfortunately, it takes a while to ship them there, have them inspect them, get the gift certificate, order the new cleats (hoping they have them online), and have them shipped. Regionals was coming up and I needed new cleats. I ended up getting lucky, I found a pair of Nike Mercurial Vapor K's. Basically the same shoe, but made from juicy Kangaroos. Gone are the blisters and the blackened toes. They've lasted longer than the Talarias too. The kangaroo stretches, which makes them more comfortable and durable than the synthetics. They are slightly heavier (.6 ounces), and a bitch to find though. I only wear mine at tournaments (I have an unlimited supply of Talarias from Nike for practice), and they're still going strong. I just bought a backup pair off Ebay.

Most of Adidas top-of-the-line cleats seem to be kangaroo, but Nike (and Gaia) seems to be sticking with the synthetics. I'm sure the Mercurial Vapors, Vapor TDs, Speed TDs, Super Speed Ds, Vapor Jet TDs and Total 90 IIIs are great and all, but I'll stick with my Mercurial Vapor Ks (if only to help the kangaroo population problem.)

Tuesday, September 06, 2005


I've got a few players who are currently having confidence problems. They've either had a run of bad luck, or made a few bad plays in a row and suddenly it gets in their heads. I'm trying to decide the best way to handle the situation. It's likely different for every player, but the way I see it you've got two basic ways to handle the situation. You can keep putting them in tough situations, situations they are currently having problems with, to show them that you have faith in them. Or, you can put them in situations they are more comfortable with and allow their confidence to return before putting them back in a situation they are having problems with.

I remember several years ago in summer league, I had back to back games where I had a key turnover late in the game. It got in my head so much that I didn't even want to be on the field. My captain at the time took me aside and told very nicely to get over it, that the team was going to need me playing to succeed, etc. It encouraged me to get back on the 'horse', and eventually I regained my confidence. I think an important part of it was that someone I respected showed they had confidence in me.

Does anyone else have any experiences with players (or yourself) having confidence issues?

The Numbers Game

This weekend we were trying to figure out what jersey number yields the best team. In other words you take all of the 1’s on all of the teams and you put them all on the same team, all of the 2’s make another team, etc. – what number has the best team? Here are last year’s Championship Rosters for reference. It’s also kind of fun that certain types of players tend to gravitate to certain numbers. I’m not really sure what team would be best. The big ego 1’s have a strong squad, but have self-destruct written all over them. The 9’s have the deepest squad, drawing a player from every champies team. The 3’s and 7’s also have strong squads. Sadly, the 31’s only had 1 player at Nationals last year, but there's always next year.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

0 for three 4

So Chain went up to the Chesapeake Open this weekend. As expected we lost in the finals 15-14 to Ring. We definitely had some chances to take control of the game, but we didn’t really capitalize. Games against Ring really seem different to me than games against other teams. They’re just SO physical, I generally feel like I’ve been beaten up after I’m done playing them.

Anyway, all and all it was a decent weekend for us. We finally got the DoG off of our backs, absolutely crushing them, 15-14, in the final game of pool play. They were missing a few key players – unfortunately the absence of both Jim and Alex really cuts down on the potential cross blog schmack talk. I fully expect to read about it if they should get some revenge this weekend in Santa Cruz. Come to think of it, I haven’t had a lot of success against the other members of the frisbee blog world. Lukegot the better of us several times back in his Sockeye days, andIdris and Jam worked us over a few times as well. Thankfully, we were able to sneak past Zaz and Machine this weekend, which is good because it’s important to keep these upstart bloggers in their place.

Random Thoughts/Notes on the Weekend

*It’s kind of depressing to see former Chain players being big factors on other teams – Barrett (DoG), Brooks (Ring), Joel (Pike), Timmy (Machine), were all there this weekend – come back to Atlanta!
*When you stop doing something a lot you stop being good at it – I swear I used to be able to jump and play respectable defense – a summer league wasted playing dump has ruined my usual practice jumping for garbage passes, and two seasons of offense has me thinking “there’s always next point” when we turn it over.
*When we signed up for the Chesapeake Open we were promised “the sweetest fields on the East Coast.” The fields were something other than sweet, but the tournament was fine because there was plenty of water and the format wasn’t crazy. That’s really all I ask for in a tourney – water and a reasonable format.

Random Thoughts/Notes on the Blog
*You sent me a question – I haven’t answered it – sorry, I’m lazy…I’ll get around to it eventually. Some of these questions are pretty damned involved. I’m not sure I feel qualified to answer them. Of course that won’t stop me from making something up…I’m just saying.
*Wood – where have you gone? Come back and post again.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Expect More Get More

Colleges are just starting to open up again which means frisbee practice is starting up again. I’m always a little torn at the beginning of each season. On the one hand I want to push the ladies to work so they can improve, but I’m always afraid of scaring off the new players. Here are some random thoughts about player retention.

One of my coaching mottos, stolen from Pete Carrill’s book The Smart Take from the Strong, is expect more get more. Carrill’s idea is that a coach should never allow a player to get complacent. We as coaches should continue to present new challenges for our players. Obviously, we need to be realistic with this - it’s not going to be helpful for us to make demands on a player that they can never achieve. But we want to always be pushing our players. I’ve had players tell me that I’m never satisfied with the way they play. I tell them that I’ll be satisfied when they’ve reached their maximum potential as a player – of course seeing as they’ve only played at most five years, they’ll probably reach this maximum potential long after they’re playing on my team. Last year, in appreciation of my approach to coaching, the ladies got me this book, which I think really sums up the amount of respect I get – but I digress.

In any event, it’s perhaps counterintuitive, but I actually think that starting the season with a serious attitude actually leads to higher player retention. When you think about what kind of people we’re trying to attract I think it makes more sense. The players who are going to be most successful are the players who are most interested in working hard. When we start off the season by just goofing off and trying to make sure everyone is having a good time we actually run off these types of people. Last year, I had a girl who had played field hockey her whole life quit the club field hockey team to play ultimate. The reason she gave was that they just weren’t hardcore enough. If we start the season with the attitude that we take what we do seriously we will attract the more serious people. Anyway, I’ll probably have run all the new players off by week two, but we’ll see how it goes.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Team USA Interview--Mike Namkung

Mike has spent the majority of his decade-long club ultimate career playing for the Santa Barbara Condors. In addition to his extensive ultimate experience as a player and captain, he has coached youth ultimate for several years, which has included teaching ultimate clinics in Mexico and Cameroon. He is himself an artist who teaches language and visual arts in California.

How do you bring together some of the best players from all over the country into a cohesive team? Was team-building (as opposed to skill work) a major focus of the practice sessions? What did you learn from the Atlanta and Seattle teams you played against?

Ted did have us play a lot of monarch. But mostly we did skill work and scrimmaging at practices. It was not an official thing, but we did like each other and we partied together every time we got together—that helped bring the team together quite a bit. Playing Atlanta and Seattle teams mostly exposed what we needed to work on in terms of strategy and approach to competition. Nothing too specific, though.

What’s “monarch?” Miranda mentioned this as well.

Monarch is a game played with one, two or three soft cloth discs in an ultimate field end zone. It's basically a big game of tag. the boundaries of the game are the lines of the end zone. One person starts as "It." Just for the first tag, that person can run with the disc. When he hits someone else with it, now those two people are both It. They must pass the disc back and forth (no running with the disc) and work together to tag more people with it. If you are hit with the disc, or go out of bounds trying to avoid being hit, you join those who are It. Basically, the goal is the be the last person to elude the growing ranks of the Its. That person is the monarch, and if you play another game, she starts as It. Ted would always throw in a second (and sometimes a third) disc once there are lots of Its--then the game starts moving fast and you have to keep your eyes open for more than one attack. Good fun. We would play monarch a lot instead of doing drills to warm up for games.

How did Poultry Days and Potlatch help you all prepare for the World Games? What were the differences in the game you all played against Canada at Potlatch and the one you all played against them in Germany?

Of course [Poultry Days and Potlatch] helped us practice playing together in a tournament format. At Poultry Days no one really challenged us, so that tourney was more about us playing together and getting to know each other on the field better. Potlatch had a much higher level of teams, so we got to work more on adjusting to what other teams were, which was good practice for the World Games for sure. I don’t think there was much of a difference between our two games against Canada. If anything, playing them at Potlatch gave us confidence that we could beat them in Germany.

What were the strengths of the other teams at the World Games? What was Team USA's "edge" over the other invited teams? What was playing with such a small roster like? What made Australia so competitive? How did you all, as a team, approach their unexpected performance?

Our edge over other teams was our cohesiveness. We played as a team (used all of our men and women effectively) better than most other teams. I got the sense that all other teams were a little male dominated. Australia was the best at using women on the field, which is always the big challenge, cause there are fewer of them on the field, and guys tend to cut off women in coed because they play a much faster game. But even Australia ran their offense through their men mostly. We were the only team there that ran our offense through a woman handler (Deb). All other teams had their women almost exclusively downfield it seemed. Australia was good because they were composed of outstanding players, and they used all of their players effectively. And they were big. Four of their men must’ve been over 6’4” and their women were tall too. I wouldn’t say Australia’s performance was unexpected at all. Their men and women both did well at Worlds in Finland last year, and we expected them to bring it to us. So how we approached them was like how we approached all other teams—play our game and make strategic adjustments to counteract what they did well.

How was playing mixed ultimate at this level different than playing open? Did you all find yourselves employing different strategies and tactics than in the single-sex games? What was the spirit like at this level of competition? How did it compare to UPA Nationals or Worlds?

As I said, the biggest challenge with our team was that men and women move at different speeds—so it was a constant challenge to get our timing right when men threw to women or vice versa. It required a much greater awareness of how everyone was moving on the field. We tried using strategies that would help us with this, but in the end I don’t think we were doing anything drastically different from our single-sex games. being more aware of timing and spacing was the biggest thing.

Spirit at the World Games was great. Compared to Nationals or Worlds, it was a whole ‘nother world in terms of spirit. Very few arguments, and it seemed like much fewer calls, too.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Hall of Fame

Martin and I spent the better part of our drive back from High Point talking about the ultimate Hall of Fame. Ultimate provides some unique challenges when it comes to figuring out who deserves to be enshrined. Martin and I came up with three big reasons people get inducted into various Sport Halls of Fame: 1) Championships 2) Crazy Big Stats 3) Changed the way the game was played at a particular position/dominated his position for an era. We pretty much know who was on the various Championship teams, so I think it will be an easy argument to get the top players from those teams into the Hall. The question of how you justify putting players in the Hall who weren’t on those top teams is more problematic. At this point ultimate has virtually zero recorded stats. Individual teams keep stats, but you can’t really use those as justification – there’s a big problem with knowing how good the data is from team to team. Beyond that, I question how meaningful the stats we keep really are. In terms of dominating a position for an era – that’s also a tough one. Ultimate really only has two positions at this point – handler and cutter.

In Atlanta we could only come up with one man (there’s probably a few women) who seemed like an obvious Hall of Famer – Stu Downs (if you’re reading sorry to make you the poster boy Stuart). We ran into a problem when we started to come up with a really strong argument to justify what seemed like our common sense view that Stu belongs in the hall. 1) He’s never won a championship. (Begin aside – Stu was on the Keg Workers when they won worlds, but there’s the question of whether that should count or not. This is especially true if you want to make the eligibility rule something like “a player becomes eligible for the Hall of Fame beginning five years after his final season in open/women’s.” If the eligibility rules view Masters as a game akin to Tennis’s Legends series it seems weird to give a player credit for a championship in that division - end aside).. Of course, he was able to get to natties numerous times and that should definitely count for something. 2) We don’t have any stats. 3) Maybe you could say Stu dominated the game at a specific position. He’s still one of the best middle middles around.

Another question we had was – could a player be eligible for the Hall purely based on what he/she did in the mixed division?

Anyway kind of a fun topic, if anybody has any thought let’s hear them.

Team USA interview--Miranda Roth

Miranda Roth was originally selected as an alternate for Team USA in the 2005 World Games. When Kristen Unfried had to withdraw from the first team due to a knee injury requiring surgery, Miranda was selected by the team to replace her.

Miranda is a graduate of the renowned Paideia School ultimate program in Atlanta, received the Callahan Award in 2004 while playing for Carleton College and won the 2004 UPA Club Championships with Seattle Riot. In addition to coaching on the high school and college level, she volunteers for the Epilepsy Foundation Northwest and is better than Tom Rogacki at beer pong.

What was the team selection process? Were there tryouts?

We didn't have tryouts. I think the committee was watching us mostly at Club Nationals. They had mentioned that there might be tryouts, which I think there should have been, but they were never held.

What qualities did the selection committee emphasize?

I don't know about the selection committee. It was never really open info what they had judged us on. If I had to guess it would be something like spirit of the game, ability to work as part of a team, talent, athleticism and experience.

What effect did the roster limit have on who was selected?

I'm sure there were at least 30 people that could have made this team, especially considering there were 8 alternate spots. It was clear at all our practices that any of the alternates could have had a spot on the team, too. If I were to do it, I would have invited 30 people to a tryout, chosen 20 to practice together, then chosen the team and alternates later on in the process.

How was gender taken into account?

Well, there were 5 women on the team, 4 women alternates, 6 men on the team and 4 men alternates. Women did have a little bit easier time in terms of not having to play all the time, but there still weren't that many of us.

Practices--How do you bring together some of the best players from all over the country into a cohesive team?

We did a lot of scrimmaging at practices just so we could get as many reps as possible seeing where people liked to be and such. We still ended up with many awkward positioning things--like we really didn't have that many handlers or O players at all, but it worked out ok. I think playing monarch all the time helped, too.

Was team-building (as opposed to skill work) a major focus of the practice sessions?

Yeah, we definitely drank together at every opportunity. This was a huge part of team building in addition to the chalk talks, meetings and fun games we would have at practices. We also did a lot of [trash]-talking over email.

What did you learn from the Atlanta and Seattle teams you played against?

They sort of helped us get real with our playing. Chozone nearly beat us because we were playing like crap. We learned that we couldn't just walk through any game and expect to win because we were some all-star team. In Seattle, Rockeye was an easier game for us but it taught us how to play big in front of a crowd and put a game away when we had a lead.

Tournaments--How did Poultry Days and Potlatch help you all prepare for the World Games?

Poultry Days was very good in terms of team building (chicken dinners and getting drunk and nearly ending up in the lake, well one of our tents DID end up in the lake) and also respecting teams that weren't necessarily dangerous competition—lots of ambassador work. Potlatch was a good experience for lots of reasons. This team needed to lose at some point and luckily it happened at Potlatch instead of in Germany. It was a reality check that I wish hadn't had to happen, but I think it was for the best, though. Also at Potlatch we had a great game in the showcase against Canada but it was sweet to win that one.

What were the differences in the game you all played against Canada at Potlatch and the one you all played in Germany?

I think in Germany we came in with confidence and crushed whereas at Potlatch we were still unsure of ourselves and how we ranked against other national teams. We definitely were in Canada's collective head in Germany, which totally helped.

World Games--What were the strengths of the other teams?

Japan—quickness, very low throws.
Germany—spread offense.
Finland—solid women.
Canada—experience, spread offense.
Australia—height, talent, great throws, solid women.

What was Team USA's "edge" over the other invited teams?

I think the bottom of our roster was much better than the bottom of other teams rosters. And if you had taken the next 11 people from each country and had them played we would have killed everyone. Also, I think we had practiced and prepared a lot more than other teams.

What was playing with such a small roster like?

I think some individuals on our team had a very hard time with it. Some of our team is used to just playing O or D or being very specific role players. For me, it was actually fine because I had just come off the college season where I played almost every point.

What made Australia so competitive?

Their height was quite the obstacle. They had four guys as tall as Chase who could all jump. Not that our guys couldn't handle it—they did—but it was scary when you see Chase or Jeff get beat deep. They also had one very tall woman, Diana that was good and Sarah was amazing—she could run all day.

How did you all, as a team, approach their unexpected performance?

I think we were very lucky to have seen them play against Canada the first day. In this way we were able to take them seriously from the beginning and bring our best game. I think things might have been very different if we had seen them on day one.

How was playing mixed ultimate at this level different than playing women's?

It was actually a lot of fun. We did a lot of spread offense which I love and it was so great to be able to play with Chase, Zip and Bart especially. Chase, Zip and I have the Juniors ultimate disciplined cutting style and it is so easy to read off each other. Bart ("Lefty") has great throws and knows exactly how to time his throws to women. Sometimes it was a little stressful (at Poultry Days especially for some reason) to try to stay out of the way of huge guys on the other team.

Did you all find yourselves employing different strategies and tactics than in the single-sex games?

I think not many people had played spread offense before. We did that a ton and it worked really well for us. It is especially useful to set it up with a boy and a girl on each side so there can't be switches either way - seems like someone is always open. Plus we had big throwers that could throw basically whatever we cut for from the point position. We used some different plays, too, but nothing remarkable. We did a lot of transition defense that sometimes worked like a charm, but sometimes did not. It was tough to match up for gender on a transition.

What was the spirit like at this level of competition?


How did it compare to UPA Nationals or Worlds?

I think this was the most spirited tournament I’ve ever played in. Everyone was a little nervous having no referees in front of the Olympic officials, but they really weren't necessary. Really stellar spirit from everyone.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Team USA interview--Angela Lin

Angela Lin is a captain of Atlanta team Ozone and has been playing with them for nearly a decade. In 2001 she won a UPA College Championship with the University of Georgia, and was runner-up for that year's Callahan Award. In her spare time, she enjoys sleeping, the outdoors and reading 'Dragonlance' novels.

Angela was selected from the pool of 61 female applicants as an alternate for the USA 2005 World Games' team. She recently had the oppourtunity to share with Ultimate Strategy & Coaching about her experience.

What are your thoughts on the team selection process? What qualities did the selection committee emphasize? What effect did the World Games’ roster limit have on who was selected? How was gender taken into account?

So, there weren't really tryouts. The selection committee made all the choices prior to us all getting together for the first time (in March). It's kind of up for debate whether this as the best way to go. I think the UPA had intended there to be a tryout period but ran out of time. In some ways having the delineation between "starters" and "alternates" was good—as an alternate, you knew what you were getting into from the start. In other ways, of course, it could've also been beneficial to be able to pick 11 people out of the 19 after seeing everybody play together. Regardless, everybody handled what potentially could've been a weird situation with respect for each of our teammates and with the team in mind.

Practices--How do you bring together some of the best players from all over the country into a cohesive team? Was team-building (as opposed to skill work) a major focus of the practice sessions? What did you learn from the Atlanta and Seattle teams you played against?

For me, it was cool to get to play with so many awesome players. I think that we all respected one another from the start. There were definitely times when people differed in opinion on stuff (how plays should be run or whatever), but we worked it out. Practices were mostly for learning and working on plays, getting used to playing with our new teammates, running a lot, getting used to coed . . . so, more skill stuff than team bonding. Although any time you practice with a group of people for 7 or 8 hours a day over several weekends, you're bonding with them. And of course, after hours, there was much more team bonding to be had—eating, drinking, pole dancing, jumping in cold lakes, chicken dinners at Poultry Days, bringing it every night at Potlatch.

Stuff we learned from Chozone and Rockeye (aka Team Russia)--Chozone brought it strong against us in some windy conditions. They were the first team we'd played against together. They weren't afraid. I was proud of Atlanta. Rockeye, though missing several of their own players playing on Team USA, was certainly strong, and we knew we couldn't [mess] around. I think one of the important things we learned starting in Atlanta and kept emphasizing throughout was that we had to be smart and play our game against every opponent. High percentage completions, dictating on defense, play hard, have fun, be a team. the simple stuff . . . which sometimes isn't so simple.

Tournaments—How did Poultry Days and Potlatch help Team USA prepare for the World Games?

Besides playing against teams in Atlanta and Seattle, Poultry Days and Potlatch were the only times we got to play all together and not against each other in scrimmages. Poultry Days wasn't all that competitive, but gave us some good bonding time. Potlatch—a lot of bonding too, plus teams fired up to beat us. And the showcase game there was super fun. There were times when only the starters played, so they could get a feel for what it'd be like without us alternates mucking things up =). Tournaments are always invaluable for any team.

How was playing mixed ultimate at this level different than playing women's? Did you all find yourselves employing different strategies and tactics than in the single-sex games?

Definitely different than Women’s. Guys are just different to throw to, cut for, have on the field, etc. We had to make adjustments because it was mixed, but we didn't spend too much time at practice deliberating over whether a woman/man should play here, there, wherever. Not saying it wasn't a concern, just that we didn't really focus on it. In our spread (4 downfield cutters, 2 on each side), we usually put a man and a woman on each side. And in an hourglass spread, we sometimes sent only women (3) downfield with a guy as the center if we were dominating the other team's women. In the stack, I think we had tried strategically placing men/women in certain positions in the stack, but I don't think we ever really stuck with that sort of structure because it didn't end up mattering.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

0 for 3

So after losing to Ring 17-16 at the Furniture City Shootout, Chain is officially 0-3 in tourney finals this year. We lost primarily because I went with the unorthodox decision of throwing to a member of the opposing team at double game point. For all of those reading in hopes of picking up some ultimate strategy advice – I’d suggest using the more traditional approach of throwing to your team. This marks the second time in my career that I’ve made the double game point, tournament ending turnover. It’s a pretty terrible feeling. The first occurred at Poultry Days 2001. After throwing away the final pass and then proceeding to get scored on, I was hanging out with my team at the pool. This incredibly cute little kid comes up to me and tugs on my shorts. He looks up at me with these huge eyes and asks, “Mister, mister, why did you cost your team the tournament?” I look up to see my teammates laughing hysterically in the corner - they had bribed this kid to come and harass me. It’s good to know that when you’re feeling down you can always count on your teammates to stop at nothing to make you feel worse.

Anyway, all and all it was a pretty decent weekend for us. We were up to 17 able bodied players for Sunday, which seemed pretty luxurious compared to the 11 we’ve taken to the last two tourneys. We got to work on some stuff and the competition was pretty respectable – especially on Sunday (Potomac, BAT, Ring).

Random thoughts/notes from the weekend –
* The D team claims that they are no longer Chain Lightning, which now apparently consists of only the O team, but rather the Junkyard Dogs. The split seems to be amenable to the O team as well, who never cared for being associated with those ruffians.
* Seems like every defender (read raping marker) is arguing that the foul occurred before the throw and is bringing the disc back. I’m not sure what the answer is, but this rule is going to be the biggest argument generator until something is changed.
* I had a very strange foul called on me this weekend. I juked towards the disc and then turned to take my guy to the rack. My defender steps on my heel, trips and calls foul on me as I’m running away. First, he argues that if I had fallen down and the disc had gone up I would have called a foul on him. His next argument is that I was too close to him and that was the result of the contact. I tried to explain that as the offensive player, I’m actually trying to get away from the defense, not get really close…In the end we just had to agree to disagree.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

QoTW:Laying out – overrated?

Am I the only one that thinks that laying out is the most overrated skill in ultimate? I’m not saying that there is never a time to dive; I just think people put too much emphasis on it. Offensively, you’re always advantaged if you can run the disc down and stay on your feet – you can get a throw off much more easily, and there’s an additional difficulty in catching the disc when you fling yourself to the ground. Defensively, I think that most successful diving blocks come when the defender is running perpendicular to flight path of the disc (usually on a dump, off-man block, or a diving block in the zone). You don’t really see many good players have defenders dive past them when they’re cutting back to the disc. Gratuitous diving in this situation just leads to open hucks and breaks.

Anyway, that’s about all I got on this – any thoughts? Is diving super important?

Friday, July 29, 2005

Mail Bag - Blister Prevention

Today's installment of Mail bag comes from Jason Becker, coach of Francis Howell High School's Seven Sages Ultimate in St. Charles, Missouri.

Jason writes:

I have a question that I'd like to see addressed on the blog, although it doesn't specifically pertain to coaching, really.

I've heard lots of tricks and tactics that players use to avoid turning their feet to hamburger during hot summer tournaments. Everything from careful boot selection to a coat of Vaseline has been advanced--but what really works? As someone who is sick of sitting around for a week after tournaments, waiting for my poor little feet to heal, I'd really like to know how people deal with this annoyance.

Thanks for the blog. It's a fantastic resource for coaches in a sport with very little to go on (as of yet).

It is always nice to hear we are reaching the community, Jason. Now, on to your question.

Foot care, like sun protection, is an underrated part of tournament preparation. While the right footware is a topic worthy of its own discussion, there are many other things one can do to prevent blisters over the course of a grueling weekend of ultimate.

In high school, when I was doing six-mile cross-country training runs in the middle of the Atlanta summer, I would often develop blisters between my toes. My father, a long time runner himself, suggested I use Vaseline to reduce the friction on my feet, and it has never let me down for running or for ultimate. Before cleating up, I apply the Vaseline to all sides of my toes, the ball of the foot and around the heel. In addition, a little Vaseline is often more effective than a tape or bandage if you feel a blister coming on, because it won't come off when cutting or create additional friction in a new area.

Wearing proper socks, along with changing them regularly, will also aid in blister prevention. I prefer using Thorlo brand, specifically those made for tennis, as they have a lot of padding in the front of the foot that helps with the friction created by ultimate's footwork and cutting movements. Additionally, I often choose to wear a thin pair of liner-type socks underneath my thicker main socks (something I ported from playing soccer). While not only providing more cushion, this technique can also lead to a more secure boot fit which will prevent the foot from slipping inside the cleat, another problem that leads to blisters.

Changing your socks before every game can also help. A clean, dry pair of socks will go a long way towards avoiding the damp conditions that often cause blisters. If I am beginning play early in the day when the grass is still wet, I will also change my socks (and sometimes my cleats) in between warming-up and playing.

Some players will use a product such as Gold Bond Medicated Power to combat the potential dampness within their socks and shoes.

Finally, your blisters may be caused by a lack of padding and support in the cleats themselves. If your cleat has a flimsy insole, or one that has broken down over time, you may want to look into purchasing a pair of athletic insoles (I use those manufactured by Sof Sole) and fitting them into your boots. Athletic insloes can also improve cleat fit.

Jason, I hope I have touched on enough different methods of blister prevention here that you will be able to find one that works for you. Thanks for the question! I look forward to hearing comments from other visitors about what they have done as well.

Monday, July 25, 2005

College Divisions: Div II Nationals - Expansion of QotW

Chimpo's Question of the Week has sparked a discussion on the implementation of a 2nd College Nationals. Where does the line get drawn? Are teams in a second division in that division there the whole year or is it only determined after sectionals/regionals? Are teams allowed to move up or down at will? Will a 2nd Nationals even work? The previous thread is about whether divisions are necessary due to the expansion of the college division, so rather than redirect the conversation of that thread, we can use this thread to discuss how a 2nd Nationals would have to work.

Recent comments by Dusty, Heacox, and Jim Palmer have talked about making a 2nd (Div II) Nationals and having the splot occur at that point rather than at the beginning of the season. Palmer and Dusty have made good points about how the split could occur right after regionals to allow teams that didn't make nationals to still get good competition and continue their season. Heacox pointed out that tournaments like that have existed in the past and have failed because of a lack of attendance.

It seems to me like what has been put forth is kind of like an NIT tournament, where a good finishing at regionals but failure to make nationals gets you an invitation. Extra invitations can be extended as needed to get a full field of teams. The difficulty of that system is travel and interest. UPA College Nationals happens too late in the year, and a 2nd "less important" Div II tournament would certainly be less likely to get teams if it were that late. College Nationals is 3 weeks after the last regionals, maybe if it was two weeks instead it would be easier to get interest because we would be past the last days of school (Dusty, care to comment on the timing of Nationals and the end of school dates, it has been a while since some of us have been in college?).

Another issue is travel. It is a lot to ask the loser of a nasty 2/3 game in New England to hop a plane to California to play in another tournament. While this will probably lead to them declining the bid (which opens a bid up for another team), wouldn't they be more likely to go if the tournament was closer to home, say in Maryland or Virginia? But then what about the teams from the west coast? A 2nd Invitation-only nationals will (like Heacox said) have poor nationwide attendance because of the burden on distant teams (like HS Nationals was for a while, or maybe still is).

Perhaps an alternate solution is to have multiple tournaments. 4 lets say. Each tournament caters to two regions, taking the next 12-16 teams from the regionals of those two regions. This allows for more cross-regional play against good, but apparently not the best of teams. In order to prevent over-repeating matchups you could even switch the pairings of the regionals yearly in order to expose more teams to each other. Although this isn't really another nationals (more like a super-regional), hopefully having it quickly after regionals, and always somewhat closer to the participating schools would increase attendance.

I'm sure there are lots of problems with this idea, and probably lots of better ideas so have at it people.


Friday, July 22, 2005

QoTW: College Divisions

Today’s Question of the Week comes from Johnny Chimpo of Atlanta who writes:
i have a question for you and your bloggers:

Do you think it would be beneficial to create two or more divisions for college ultimate? As noted in an earlier post (the one about eligibility), smaller schools and private schools have a much harder time competing with large public schools or private schools with a well established reputations. Do you take the risk of less competition and divide the college game into two divisions? Three divisions? For both men and women?

I know this has been discussed before, but at what point do we create the divisions.

As I mentioned in the post you referred to, I think it’s just a matter of time before ultimate goes to multiple divisions. I think the question of whenexactly to go to multiple divisions is interesting. I also wonder how it would be implemented – in other words, do you just let teams play in whatever division they want to?

Some quick googling shows that only a few NCAA sports have all of their teams compete in the same division (I think just fencing, rifle, and skiing). Those sports have considerably fewer teams than ultimate (between 30-50).

Rugby is probably a better example, since it is also outside of the NCAA. Here is a link to their eligibility guidelines. They have two college divisions and three club divisions. From my quick reading, I think teams can choose which division they want to play in. It seems like a team can move from division to division from year to year, but I don’t see anything specific so I wouldn’t swear to it. A somewhat interesting sidenote here is that rugby also allows college players five years of eligibility – maybe this is where we got the idea?

Anyway, fun question. Anyone have any thoughts about this? Should we just leave all the teams together in the same division in the hopes of the Hoosiers scenario?

Thursday, July 21, 2005


First, a site note – thanks to everyone who has been emailing me questions and comments – no, I haven’t forgotten about you, I’m just lazy. I’ve received a lot of great stuff and I’d like to take the time to give it justice…so…yeah, I’ll get around to posting all of it on the site eventually. Sorry about the delay.

On a totally unrelated note, I was reading over on Parinella’s site about ultimate variants, and it reminded me of a game that we use to play when I was in college called Insultimate. I don’t think it actually teaches anything valuable but it is usually pretty amusing. As with most things, irresponsible consumption of adult beverages makes the game both more entertaining and more dangerous.

Field set up: Basically you have a scoring box and a clearing box about 20-30 yards apart, depending on how much you feel like running (shorter is usually better).

Basic Rules:
1) Five second stall count
2) Make it take it

Teams: The game is played with 3 teams of between 2-4 people. One team is on offense and two teams are on defense.

Object: The object of the game is for the offensive team to work the disc into the scoring zone against the two defensive teams.

The Insult: The game derives its name from the fact that if 2 defensive teams are unable to stop a single offensive team, they really deserve be insulted. After every goal, the defensive team starts the “insult stall count.” The scoring player has 10 seconds to insult one or all of the players on the field. There are two rules governing the insults: 1) the same insult can’t be used twice in the same game. 2) “you suck” is incredibly unoriginal and is not considered a legal insult. If a player (1) gets stalled without insulting, (2) repeats an insult, or (3) says “you suck” the disc is turned over.

Change of Possession: Following a turnover, the two defensive teams race to pick the disc up first. The offensive team is not allowed to pick-up the disc.

I’m sure I’m forgetting some of the rules, but that’s most of it.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Crunch! 1999

This was inspired by Jim's post inquiringing about Mixed strategy (

In 1999 Crunch!, the Atlanta mixed team I played with, qualified for Jockey UPA Nationals and finished 8th overall (ironically losing to Holes & Poles in the placement game) on the strength of our spread offense, our junk defenses and picking the games we wanted to win.

Hale Brown was the mind behind implementing these strategies. On both offense and defense, the position you played was often determined by your sex. In the spread O, a woman would always catch the pull (usually Jen Christianson) and feed it to the middle handler (usually Hale), who would then look to get the disc to one of our top men who was playing the down field center. The play was either have the center come back to the disc and then throw the score to one of the women playing a deep wing (usually Beth Ann Hanson), or just have Hale huck it to the guy playing center because there was not a concern about poaches from the female defenders.

On defense I remember the two junk D sets we used most often. One involved putting women on one or two of the other team's best male handlers. One of our men played deep to take away the huck while the women concentrated on making the cut back to the disc difficult. We generally marked up on the three best handlers our opponents had while the remaining four players played zone. The idea was to get a poach turnover after the disc got into the hands of a weaker thrower.

The other D was a vice where you were always in one of four spots if you were a guy and three if you were a girl. The was a man as all-time mark forcing into a woman (essentially a two person cup), one man playing deep, another woman playing somewhat deep on the break side (the "hammer stopper"), and the remaing two men and one woman playing for the underneath cut to the force side.

All of this, while not revolutionary, was effective in the mixed division's second year. The final component of our success was winning the games that mattered. I believe we were pretty honest about other teams having better overall players than we did, and while I wouldn't say we threw any games, we defintely opend up the rotation in the second half of a lot of matches (or reined it in tight if the game was closer than expected), especially at Nationals. Hale, being format-inclined, always knew what games were crucial wins in order to advance as far as possible. I remember that somehow we lost to Trigger Hippy, Red Fish Blue Fish and Blind Date (from Boston) and still ended up in the quarter finals on Saturday (losing to eventualy champs Raleigh Llamas), while I don't remember any team we beat those three days.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Mail Bag - Where to put your Stud

Today's reader mail comes from Seigs in Hanover, who writes:

My question really only applies to the men's college game. Here it goes: Is it better for your best all around player to cut or handle? Say you have one guy with the full toolbox--breaks, hucks, solid field sense--but he is also one of the best guys on the team when it comes to shaking his man downfield. Is it more effective to have a guy like this run the offense from the handler position or consistently get the disc for 20 yard gains?

I think this is an interesting question and I'm not sure that I have the best answer. I expect that this is a fairly common dilemma for college teams though, so hopefully some of our readers will post about how they've addressed it.

I think the answer is going to depend on a few things. First - what is your best player best at? All things being equal it makes sense to let people do what they're best at. Second - what is the supporting cast best at? If the supporting cast is heavily skewed either towards cutters or throwers it probably makes sense to have your stud help out in the area that you're weakest in.

Without knowing the answer to these questions, if you have one guy who is clearly your best thrower and your best cutter, you want to be getting him the disc a lot. But don't let him be lazy and just catch dump passes. Push him downfield, but encourage him to come back to the disc and bail out the offense if it's in trouble. If you feel like your non stud players are handlers who can throw decent medium range bombs, but don't really have great breaks, I think it might be time to break out some sort of spread/h-stack. Put your stud downfield where he can easily go to the house or come back underneath.

Anyway, I know this isn't the most thorough answer, sorry - good question though. I'm interested to hear how other people have dealt with this situation.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

QoTW - Kick or Receive

Assuming wind is not a factor – what do you prefer to do when you win the flip – kick or receive? Traditionally, I’ve been a fan of taking the ball. I’ve always thought of winning the flip and playing D as something college teams did. However, last year at Nationals (no wind) I think every team that won the flip against me selected to play D first. Anybody have any thoughts on this?

Thursday, June 30, 2005

CTG - Flick Outline

Alright, I’ve gotten a bunch of feedback, but I’m gonna need some more. My evil plan is to come up with an outline for each section, let you guys comment on it. Then write a draft and let you guys comment on it. After you’ve commented on the draft of each section, I’ll make changes and put together the CTG. We’ll see how it goes.

Anyway, here is a rough outline of how I’m thinking about writing the flick section of the CTG. What I want from you is – 1) do you agree with what I’m going to say? – is this the general consensus based on our discussions? 2) are there more topics to address in a particular section? If so what are they? 3) does the organization make sense? Should one topic be moved to a different section?

Just a warning: this is real rough – I didn’t necessarily write in complete sentences because this is just an outline. I’ll clean it up by the time I post a draft.

I. Beginners
A. Grip – encourage some version of the power grip – 2 fingers on the rim. Some folks don’t hate the split grip, but I think the majority opinion has been why waste time with it.
B. Stance – I’m thinking let’s go ahead and put them in the stance I talked about in part III of this series – in other words pivot foot pointing straight non pivot foot forward and open to somewhere between 45-70 degrees. I debated on whether or not this is too much to handle when you’re first learning, but I think it’s fine.
C. Isolation – At this point it’s primarily about generating wrist snap – Focus on this. Don’t let the player use her arm/body to throw. Make them use their wrist snap! One suggested way to do this is to have a new player hold her arm out fully extended and only allow her to throw with her wrist.
D. Drills – 1) throw with a partner. Anyone have another drill that’s good for super new players?
E. Desired Skills – 1) Player is consistently holding the disc correctly 2) Player is consistently standing correctly when throwing. 3) Player has good wrist snap. The player may be throwing the disc too hard or spraying it around, but she is consistently generating a good amount of spin.

II. Intermediate
A. Using Arm/Body – At this point your players are generating good wrist snap and you want to help them generate more power and consistency. Through the course of these discussions we’ve heard some different ways to teach using the arm. We’ve all got our favorite catch phrases – Martin tells players to “pull from the hip” as a way to teach players to get their arms back and away from their bodies” Tarr teaches “lead with your elbow” to encourage proper arm motion. I like both of these and will probably steal them for the guide. Any objections/better suggestions? The drills suggested for teaching this were the sitting and throwing drill and kneeling and throwing drill. In the sitting and throwing drill you have player sit Indian style and throw back and forth. This prevents them from generating power with their legs and forces them to use their arms. I’m not sure if we’ve talked about the kneeling and throwing drill, but it’s another one I stole from Baccarini. Basically you have your right handed player kneel on her left knee and put her right knee up with her right foot on the ground. Does this make sense? It’s like football players in a post game huddle – when they’re on one knee? I’ll have to come up with a better description prior to finishing the guide, but anyway, basically you have your player reach around their outstretched knee and throw. Baccarini likes it because it forces players to get their arm away from their body.

For encouraging use of the body/torso all I’ve got right now is Tim Halt’s mantra of “lead with the hip.” Anyone have anything else here? Drills?
B. Throwing curves – This is about the time when I like to start talking about the different ways to make the disc curve and when to use each curve. Prior to this point, I pretty much preach keeping the disc flat, but I don’t worry if the disc turns over a little bit in either direction. I think my favorite drill for teaching this is the drill the philosophically minded Dawgs call “Nietzsche’s.” Basically it is a two person lead pass throwing drill. Each player forms one point of an imaginary triangle. The player without the disc runs to third point of the triangle and the player with the disc throws a lead pass to the cutter. The former thrower then runs to the point of the triangle no longer occupied and receives a lead pass from the new thrower etc. You (the wise coach) have they players go through one set for each throw (IO Flick, OI Flick, IO Backhand, OI Backhand). The drill also works on fitness as it requires a lot of running.
C. Pivoting/Extension
I like to start talking about pivoting when I start talking about the different curves. The reason for this is that I like to talk about using the throws that have the same curve (e.g. IO flick/around backhand) in conjunction with each other via pivoting. Maybe this isn’t the right place to talk about extension? – it seems to go together with pivoting, but I’m not sure I have a great way to explain what I want players to do in terms of extension – basically I think you want to be able to get as out as possible while still maintaining balance and the ability to quickly pivot back to the complementary throw (Aside – I see a lot of college players who extend way too far – if you extend so far that you’re off balance and can only realistically threaten one throw what have you gained?). If anyone has a better place for this let me know. For drills here – Martin has the Tai Chi drill that I really like – basically he has the girls mimic his go through a series of pivots and fakes that works on maintaining balance while pivoting and getting extension. I’ll have a better explanation of this one by the time this makes it into the guide. The other one I like is just to have players pair up – give one player a disc and tell the other person to mark them. Basically you just say disc in and one player pivots and pretends to throw while the other person marks them. Any other drills for this?

D. Desired skills 1)Player can reliably uses arm/torso to assist in the throwing of forehands 2)Player can consistently throw flicks with all curves and knows what curve to use in what situation 3) Player pivots well and gets extension when throwing without losing balance.

III. Advanced

I’m not sure how I want to organize this. It might make sense to organize the guide such that there are 5 sections two sections for beginning/intermediate flicks 2 sections for beginning and intermediate backhands and then 1 advanced section that addresses both flick and backhand at the same time.

I’m also not sure what else I want to put in this section. I’ll definitely talk about breaking the mark. Maybe talk about how conditions effect throwing?- Throw like X when going upwind and Y when going downwind? Hucking?

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Mail Bag - Cutting

Today’s question comes from Crystal in Maryland

So I was reading various posts about getting open on a defender. It seems that with a good read on your defender and a good fake to get them going in one direction, you can always get open. It makes sense, but I've run into many situations where faking one way (i.e. deep or break) isn't bought cause the defender knows that isn't a viable option. Basically, they know that the only way to go is for an in-cut. My question is how do you get open on an in cut when they're positioned to defend that cut (and do it without ending right on top of the thrower)?

First, Crystal – Good to hear from you. Hope all is well and good luck with the upcoming move. As usual, I’ve pretty much stolen my theory from someone else, so I’ll point you in the direction of the source material. In 1999, Parinella wrote an article that addresses the basic rules of offense. His book contains an updated version of his theory.

Parinella’s first two basic principles of offense are:
1. Take what they give you
2. If you really want something they're not giving you, try to fake them into giving it to you.

According to the principle of taking what they give you, if you’re being fronted (as you describe in your question) you should look to attack the away cutting space. It sounds like what’s making your situation difficult is that you’re only threatening one space. In a previous post, I talk about finding a “sweet spot” where you can viably threaten two cutting spaces. If you’re not viably threatening the deep space, presumably it’s because you’re too far away from the thrower. My suggestion, in this situation, would be to take a few steps toward the disc while you're moving into the cutting lane and then cut hard back towards the disc. When your defender turns her hips to commit to the in-cut, turn and take her to the house. I like to think about the set-up for a cut as opening up a window for the thrower to put the disc in. By running back to the frisbee you’re effectively opening up the throwing window behind you. At the beginning of your scenario you may have been 30 yards away from the disc, meaning your thrower was going to have to throw the bejesus out of it if you were going to be open on the deep one. Now after your hard run back towards the disc you may only be 12-15 yards away from the thrower when you turn and head for the house. This makes the throw much easier.

Parinella’s second basic principle of offense is “if you really want something they’re not giving you, try to fake them into giving it to you." In the scenario you describe where the defender is just absolutely determined to stop the underneath cut you’re probably better off not trying to overpower them to get the disc. Generally, I’d rather set myself to catch a big swing and punish them for over committing to the open side in-cut. However, if you’re just absolutely set on getting the disc on the in-cut I like to use the z-cut in this situation. The idea behind the z-cut is to mimic the standard v cut and take advantage of the defender when they cover the cut like the standard v cut. In most cases, when a defender is camping out underneath you, she expects you to make a few steps towards her and then turn and run in the opposite direction. With the z cut you want to take 5 or 6 lazy jog steps toward your defender then turn and go as hard as you can for 2-5 steps in the opposite direction before stopping and sprinting back towards the disc. Hopefully, you can be stopping to come back to the disc while she is still accelerating to run with the deep cut.

The final thing here is sometimes you’re just not in the best position to make the next cut. If you feel like you’re in a position where getting the disc is going to be exceedingly difficult, actively get out of the way of teammates who are in better position to make the next cut.

Monday, June 27, 2005

QotW: Worst Coaching Moment

A few weeks ago we talked about coaching highlights. That started me thinking about my most unpleasant coaching experiences. I have a tendency to curse way too much on the Ultimate field. My first year coaching Southern Poly, we were playing at Terminus in the last game Saturday to make the 'upper fields'. I don't remember what happened exactly, but I wasn't pleased with it and I let loose with a flurry of f-bombs. I turn around and see one of my player's parents sitting right behind me. I apologized to the player after the game, and although he said they were used to worse from his highschool baseball coach, I still regret it and wish I'd have apologized to them directly.

Have you ever gotten so wrapped up in a game that you slip and do something you end up regretting? Maybe you've yelled at a player, or encouraged some form of bad spirit by one of your players, or even just not corrected a player for an unspirited act.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Why I hate Mixed

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.