Sunday, August 27, 2006


About a month ago I posted this question, but due to the YCC & WJC, it didn't really get noticed... So, let me post this once again.

What priorities do you have for this coming fall season? Whether you're a player, parent, or coach, I've created my own list of things that might be going through your mind...

If you want to see what i've listed...

1) For many of you, you'll be having new coaches, captains, core groups, parent teams, or some other derivation of leadership. There may have been a number of seniors who graduated last year and now the question is who will be stepping up from the underclassmen. Maybe you've had a bad experience with your team's leadership and you're wondering what problems will continue to remain and what things will finally be fixed. The leadership and direction of the team will be a priority for you as they are what makes playing ultimate fun or not.
This was one of our top priorities as

2) Many of you are eager to start using the skill sets you've developed over the summer. Maybe something you've learned at one of the many ultimate camps across the country or from the numerous throwing sessions with Nord, Roth, or some east-coat elite. For you maybe the priority is the new plays your team will be developing or how practice will run to teach those things. Your priorities will be how your team will develop the new skill sets and fundamentals.

3) Others of you get most excited about the new players and friends you'll be making. What 8th graders from last year are coming up (or 6th graders if you have a middle school team)? Who will be the stand outs and be competing for the top spots? How big will the team be this year? Will you have an A & B team or maybe even a C team for the first time. For you the team dynamic is the priority and you're wondering what preseason BBQ, pool party, or other such event will be starting things off right and who will be on the field with you this year laughing and throwing the disc...

4) Others of you on a new team or first-year team are wondering what name you'll be going by, what your logo will look like, and what gear you will be wearing. Questions on whether you'll be using Patagonia, VC or Gaia are on your mind. For you the priority may seem like what you look like, but we all know that this too is about the team and being part of something unique at your school.

5) And even others, and I may venture a guess here and say most of you, are wondering what traveling will be done. For many of you on teams that are newer or first-time, maybe you've never traveled to a tournament or event. But, for the vast majority of you who have, it has been the traveling part of ultimate that has been one of the deciding factors in you playing this amazing sport. For you the priority this fall will be what tournaments, how many, and how far away is the team going to travel this fall and spring season.

What other priorities do you have as you begin to think and dream about ultimate this coming fall? I've thrown out a couple, but I'm sure that there are more priorities out there to you players, parents, coaches, and others.

If you choose to add a comment, please indicate if you're a player, parent, coach (or something else)...


Thomas Sanchez said...

(Player, Captain)

My first priority for this season is getting the Junior class to step up and start to fill the shoes that the previous Juniors left while trying to become the new Seniors.

Essentially making sure everyone steps up and takes the reins of the brand-new team in a brand new season. The reconfiguration of the team.

Lukester said...

how do you plan on making this happen?

Thomas Sanchez said...

I'm really hoping that once people start to see the holes that have been left by graduation, they just decide for themselves to take control.

My biggest fear though, is the people who have been playing for 4 or 5 years now and have gotten used to not being relied upon (simply because we have had some amazing older players), falling through when the team needs them.

Anonymous said...

(Graduated Player)

For Jerseys I strongly recommend Patagonia or Wickid (saw them for the first time at YCC). They are both very light, especially patagonia, and extremely comfortable.

Lukester said...

Patagonia has a dedicated website for ultimate teams if you haven't seen:

Churchill has used both Patagonia and VC. Though we loved our VC gear (once it got remade after a major sizing problem), Patagonia continues to make gear that is affordable and in the the sub $15 range making it affordable for newer teams to get matching uniforms.

I've not seen any wickid stuff, but i believe they are an east coast manufacture and thus none of their gear has traveled to the west coast where i'm at yet.

Anonymous said...

Just out of curiosity, what juniors teams that didn't have a great spring season last year are potential powerhouses for the fall?

Thomas Sanchez said...

Churchhill had a good 2006 season, but didn't live up to expectation at Westerns. This year (I believe) they return with the same exact team, sans one senior. This, as well as one or two ringers, should contribute to Churchhill's 2007 dominance.

As for California, someone will need to step into the space that Castro Valley's graduation left behind, and I'm predicting either Miramonte or a new class of Red Hand.

Anonymous said...

It's not exactly the same thing, but expect Paideia, Columbia, and Pennsbury to step up and challenge Amherst - the first three lost three starters combined, whereas Amherst lost six.

Lukester said...

i'm going to post another topic on the above three comments as this is something warrenting its' own discussion. So, anonymous, if you would like credit for your questions, which is a good one, feel free to post your name on the new article.

Coach Becker said...

1) Recruiting . . . more numbers = bigger JV pool to pull from.

2) Subbing. We tried going with an O and D line last year, and it was a big mistake. We're going back to a meritocracy on both sides of the disc, working less talented players in as it becomes feasible/necessary.

3) Sideline coaching. I STILL have not found an effective way of encouraging this. It seems my DAILY pleas just weren't enough. I thought up one simple drill for coaching-up the mark, but if anyone has any good ideas as to how to encourage a team to communicate more, either on the field or from the sidelines, I would be very grateful.

4) Hammers: I think that I've been too much of a hammer-Nazi in the past. When I finally (in response to persistant whining) taught them at mid-season last year, we got some pretty good decisions out of it. Thus, I'm going to start it earlier this year.

tiinabooth said...

3) Sideline coaching. I STILL have not found an effective way of encouraging this. It seems my DAILY pleas just weren't enough. I thought up one simple drill for coaching-up the mark, but if anyone has any good ideas as to how to encourage a team to communicate more, either on the field or from the sidelines, I would be very grateful.

I'll give you some suggestions about this, Jason, which doesn't mean that you haven't tried them, but I think a combination of expectations and education is the best way to achieve this:

Demanding effective sideline coaching has to start from the first day of practice. Never let them sit down on the sideline (unless they are hurt, of course) during practice, game, or tournament. Always have 3 or 4 players (if you have them) on the far sideline (even during practice) and make sure they follow the action and don't just chat and throw the disc around.
Having loud voices goes for drills too. If they don't cheer for each other during a drill, stop the drill and do something else, something that involves so much running they won't have time to use their voices.
And finally, if they don't have loud voices on the sideline, don't put them in.

Sometimes players simply don't know what to yell and when. If you want them to cue a player who is marking, make sure you have 2 or 3 clear directions that you expect everyone to use and respond to. Practice this.
Have them play a few points during practice which are completely silent. Watch them struggle with the lack of information. When you let you use their voices again, I guarantee they will be louder and more effective.
Assign a sideline player to a defensive player for each point. They are only in charge of giving clear information to their player.
(again, make sure you all have a clear understanding of what should be communicated). If that defensive players gets a turn, everyone should realize it is, most likely, because he was in partnership with his sideline player.

Once they see that you are serious about this type of team commitment, AND give them the tools to do it, AND they see it work in their favor, the yelling should become second nature. That doesn't mean you don't have to remind them OVER and OVER, but it should be less of a hassle for everyone. Hope this helps!

Ryan said...

"Assign a sideline player to a defensive player for each point."

This is great. It's remarkably effective assigning a sideline player to a defender on the field. That way they're accountable if a throw the onfield player doesn't see goes to their man, and they realize that they actually have an impact on the game.

And if you have a more experienced and/or fiery player on the sidelines, utilize him/her to get the rest of their teammates up and yelling. Ask your captains for help with this.

And Tiina said this, but I'm going to say it again to reiterate its effectiveness - never let players sit down on the sideline unless they're injured, and don't let them toss on the sideline at practice or in a game.

Coach Becker said...

Hey, great advice, Tina & Ryan. Thanks so much for responding. A note, though.

Our team, annually, despite what common sense might suggest, is comprised mainly of kids who have never before played ultimate. I've had some success in getting them to use their sideline time to just do some static throwing, practicing their throwing motions and different release points (making sure to visualize a mark, of course). I think this extra throwing time was VERY beneficial for these newer players.

I'll have to think, I guess, about how I want to prioritize these things.

Thanks for the help!

gapoole said...

I agree almost completely about not allowing non-injured players to sit when they aren't actually playing. The one exception I would make is one that helped me whenever I was struggling with poor decisions and unforced personal errors: I would grab another player on the sideline and practice throwing/catching fast 10-15yd passes, stepping out and low, and focusing to get my head back in the game. It helped to work out the mid-game drop in mental toughness, after which I would get right back in the game, fired up and cheering.

Anonymous said...

With four people?