Thursday, December 28, 2006

Going off to College

In the fall of 1995 when I was athletic director at The Northwest School, I was looking to add a spring sport that would serve our student population. I ended up choosing ultimate over rugby and lacrosse. One of the main reasons I chose ultimate was that it was a sport that our student athletes could play in college. The goal of playing in college was not so our graduates could go win college championships (some have), but that during their first few days on a new campus they could meet a big new group of friends and mentors instead of only knowing the people in their dorm. This is of course one of the great things about being on a college team in any sport.

So here it is more than a decade later and this is still one of the main reasons that ultimate is a sport at our school. We are a prep school after all. It is great to hear from former students who are playing ultimate in college and who appreciate the fact that they walked onto campus and met a bunch of people through ultimate. Some of those students (and current HS seniors who already know where they are attending next year) are also very involved in building the programs at their colleges and universities. A couple have asked me how they could get the word out that their school is building a competitive ultimate program. I gave the obvious answer that Tiina is maintaining an excellent service doing just this on her NUTC site:

Beyond the NUTC site this post and thread will allow PlayUltimate readers who are going off to college to say: "This is X from Y HS and I am going to attend (or I already attend) Z College/University. This is what the program is about and why I chose to attend as a young former HS player."
I am asking that people keep comments positive and that there is no bad mouthing of people or schools. I also think that if someone has something to say they should be willing to put their name on it.

Good luck to everyone going off to college.

-Mike Mullen, Boys Ultimate Coach, The Northwest School

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas

From everyone at PlayUltimate - Merry Christmas

Have a safe and happy holiday!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

new things on the site and happy holidays

blogger has been updating itself to a new beta version for the past few weeks (a much needed update) and as a result has allowed for a few new features such as labels, different archive methods, rss feeds for comments, as well as a few other neat tricks.

over the next few weeks i will be working them into the site design, any requests or ideas or suggestions are more than welcome though, just leave a comment or email

also, dont forget that if you have videos somewhere online showing high school ultimate (youtube etc) we would like to link to them from the site, so send us a link or again, post a comment with the address.

on the subject of user suggestions remember you are always welcome to suggest topics for posts or discussion by sending an email over to

so on that note, have a happy holiday and hopefully you will be seeing some updates and improvements to the site over the next few weeks.

(feel free to use this post to talk about whatever you would like)

Friday, December 08, 2006

Best Fundraising Ideas

With the costs of transportation seeming to double in the last 2 years, but so much to be gained from tournaments, what are teams doing to get their players to tourneys that require travel? I would venture a guess that many teams have had to scale back on how many tournaments they're able to attend and out-of-state options are becoming something reserved for only the most serious of teams... With Westerns and Easterns being out of state for many teams this last year, how well did your fundraising efforts go to getting your players there without killing their families bank accounts (or college funds)?

Our Churchill program has been fortunate this year to have a couple dedicated parents who have worked in various other settings that have required massive fundraising efforts. Last years' Westerns in Boulder, CO cost $500/player to attend, so after fundraising efforts we were at about $300/player. This stretched a few families to the breaking point and their plea is that we don't do the same this next year. The ability to fundraise this spring will be the determining point as to what tournaments we're able to attend plain and simple.

That said, even for the teams out there that are just participating in local tournaments, there are still financial needs. I'm curious what teams out there are doing in regards to fundraising? Both the big efforts and the small? Your idea could be what allows that one new team to make it to the state tournament they've missed every year or that player to join in who didn't think they could afford it. For many, ultimate provides a sport that is not only superior to other sports, but also more affordable. What ways have your programs kept costs down and play up?

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Moho at UCPC

Hi there this is Miranda from out west, updating about my contribution to the UCPC this winter. Ben and I are very much looking forward to this meeting of the minds and we hope to be able to provide a unique, informative look at how Moho works.
As an introduction, Moho was started as an opportunity for Seattle kids to play more ultimate than was offered by their individual high schools. This stemmed from the fact that not many high schools had teams back then, but there were some very talented kids who wanted to play...a lot. Luckily there has never been a shortage of coaches in Seattle, and we have recently received great support from our local organization, DiscNW ( Moho won a junior national title (before consortiums were disallowed) and has produced individuals who have gone on to become champions at junior nationals (mens and womens), junior worlds (mens and womens), college nationals (mens and womens), club nationals (mens and womens), club worlds (womens) and the world games. Our coaching staff includes Moho alumni as well as past high school/college/club/world champions from atlanta, corvallis, boston, seattle, san francisco, austin and boise.
You may be thinking to is moho so successful? how do you coach practices with every level of player of both gender over a 4 year agespan? is it really free for the kids? Will it work in my city?
Well, then you'll just have to come to Boston to check it out. My specialty is running drills that teach great ultimate to players with varying skill levels and I will focus part of my presentation on these drills as they are integral to the success of the program. Ben's specialty is organization and vision (as well as marking which you will see in his separate presentation) - he will describe how Moho has gone from disorganized teenagers playing on poached fields to a regular coached clinic with upwards of 40 kids in attendance weekly. If you have any other suggestions, please feel free to comment or email me.
In addition, I will be representing Carleton College and the University of Washington at the college ultimate fair so feel free to come find me about those as well.

Below the fold action...

Sunday, December 03, 2006

New CHS Videos

There are two new videos that have been completed and were shown at this weekend's Churchill HS Ultimate Fall Banquet. The first is a Highlight video from when Churchill attended the OR Club Mixed Sectional Tournament back in September. The second is from Turkeybowl3 in November with our JV team.

Club Mixed Sectionals:
Mixed Club Sectionals 06 HL (ipod video - m4v - 55.5MB) - 640x480
YouTube version

Turkeybowl 3:
TurkeyBowl 3 HL (ipod video - m4v - 38.1MB) - 640x480
YouTube version

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Ultimate Coaches and Players Conference Boston 2007

George Cooke and I spend A LOT of time hanging out under the tent at NUTC. We watch the kids play, the counselors counsel, the trainer tape, and wait for camp emergencies. But most of the time we just talk. The idea for the Ultimate Coaches and Players Conference was born in this environment, two years ago, and it is finally arriving this January 27 in Boston!

Years ago, (skip this part if you hate stories that begin "years ago"), before the Internet, if you wanted to schedule any ultimate games or get into any tournaments, you HAD to attend a Captains' Meeting, often held in Philly or Purchase, N.Y. You would spend the day there, listening to organizers announce their events, talking about the rules, or meeting with other players or captains. While it often involved using up a whole day WITHOUT playing any ultimate, it was still a lot of fun to meet ultimate folks OFF the field.

We are hoping to recreate this experience at the upcoming conference. If you go to you can see our full slate of seminars. We are very pleased that players and coaches from around the U.S. will be attending as presenters and participants. Our keynote speaker is Dr. Alan Goldberg, a nationally known sports psychologist who works with athletes of every level and caliber. He is very entertaining and knowledgeable and, as one NUTC counselor told me last summer, listening to Goldberg "changed my life more than anyone, outside of my family."

Additional presenters who may appeal directly to high school players include:

"Developing a Successful Ultimate Program"
Brian Dobyns--Efland, North Carolina
Brian coaches Backhoe.

"How Moho Worked: Growing Youth Ultimate in Diverse Environments"
Miranda Roth--Seattle, WashingtonBen Wiggins--Corvallis, Oregon
Miranda plays for Riot; Wiggins for Sockeye.

"How to Run a High School Tournament"
Josh Seamon--St. Johnsbury, Vermont

"Real-Time Decision Making in Ultimate"
Jim Parinella--Sudbury, Massachusetts
Jim plays for DoG.

"Drug Use, Abuse, and Dependence in Ultimate"
Dr. Charles Reznikoff--Minneapolis, Minnesota
Charlie plays for Sub Zero.

"Developing Summer Day Camps and Clinics"
Catherine Greenwald--Concord, Massachusetts
Anne Westcott--Concord, Massachusetts
Catherine and Anne played for Lady Godiva.

"Marking: Techniques and Strategy"
Ben Wiggins--Corvallis, Oregon

"Fitness and Training for Ultimate"
Dan Cogan-Drew--Somerville, Massachusetts
Bryan Doo--Waltham, Massachusetts
Bryan Doo is the fitness trainer for the Boston Celtics.

"Applying Mental Toughness Strategies to Ultimate"
Tiina Booth--Amherst, Massachusetts

When you are not attending one of four seminars throughout the day (it will be difficult to choose, I think), you can attend the Ultimate Expo. The Expo consists of two parts:

a) The Trade Show
All types of vendors, from high schools to established companies, will be selling ultimate gear and merchandise. Tables are available for any school team who would like to promote their program and do a bit of fundraising.

b) The College Recruiting Fair
We believe that this section of the Expo will appeal directly to high school ultimate players and their parents. The Fair will feature various tables staffed by college ultimate players. They will be available to answer questions and promote their programs. (for those of you just starting to look at colleges and ultimate, don't forget to use the NUTC College Directory available at

And, finally, at the end of the day, we are going to all meet again for a panel discussion about the Future of Ultimate. The questions the panelists will be addressing are:

What is the future of Ultimate?
Where should we go?
How should we get there?

Early registration opened on Dec. 1. Cost for attending the entire conference is $40/person. If you sign up after January 8, the cost goes up to $60. And if you decide after January 20 to attend, you'll be paying $80. Please note that if your school wants a table at the Expo, the cost is $40, which ALSO includes one admission to the conference!

So that's a quick look at this inaugural ultimate conference. Six years ago, when I founded NUTC, we had 28 players attend for one week. In 2006 we had 217 players over 3 weeks. We are hoping for a similar type of success for the UCPC. We believe that as the sport of ultimate develops nationally and internationally, there will be a greater need for these events. The UCPC is dedicated to the "promotion, teaching and growth" of ultimate. We hope to see many of you there who also want to see our sport expand, develop and thrive!