Friday, March 14, 2008


I don't really like it when websites (or blogs) aren't updated, so I will briefly succumb to the assumption that it matters that folks know what is going on with this blog.

I will be taking an indefinite hiatus from posting as I have quite a few irons in the fire right now and will be spending the time I have for Ultimate on coaching.

Thanks to all those who stopped by. I will leave the blog up for archive purposes.....



Monday, January 28, 2008

UCPC in review

So I am just now getting a chance to sit down and write about the Ultimate Coaches & Players Conference from this past weekend. I am tying up the loose ends, we are receiving helpful feedback in the form of the evaluations, and I am basically closing the books on UCPC08.

I felt that the conference ran about as smoothly as it did in 07, but, after getting a year under our belts, it seemed much less stressful to run this year. Once we got the final details ironed out, it just a matter of folks getting together to talk about Ultimate. How bad can that be?

Our presenters did a great job and we had lots of volunteers that worked very hard. As I mentioned before, we instituted a couple of new things this year that I am proud of: 1) being able to give a cash contribution to the hosting Ultimate team (Newton South High School), and 2) using proceeds from the video sales on Ultivillage to assist Youth players that want to come in the future. There was a lot of other cool stuff, though. VC gave out $20 coupons in very attendees pack and showed their new line of gear. We did a lot of raffles with gear from BUDA, VC, the UPA, Discraft, NUTC, etc. So, how could Parinella, Weisbrod, AND the Count all win raffle prizes? This does stink of corruption....

Just a reminder that we will have presentation materials up on the website ( shortly.

I didn't get to see too many of the presentations. I thought Michael Baccarini's talk on agility and quickness was very good. Many good exercises and thoughts there. I especially like all the bits about motion in the transverse plane , etc.

I moderated a discussion on "Professional Behavior in Ultimate". On the panel was Al, Catherine Greenwald, and Kyle W. I hope the folks that came thought it was interesting. Both Al and Catherine had interesting perspectives on how pro behavior has changed over time and Kyle offered his opinions about the role of SOTG and the UPA. One participant (a student from Syracuse University) had a very interesting comment that professional players in the rather remote setting of, say, a football stadium can actually talk trash and swear to their hearts content, but Ultimate, due to its size and the fact that spectators are right on the sidelines, needs to police itself much more rigorously due to the more intimate setting.

I had a few moments during lunch to hang out at the Expo and chat with some friends. Tiina and I continue to work on how to make the Expo better and not have such a drop off in attendance when the presentations start.

In the afternoon, I enjoyed Miranda Roth's discussion on "Preparing for Spirited Play" and Dan Cogan's discussion on Zone O&D. I think both presentations were geared very much for Youth and College players that have high aspirations. Good stuff.

The day finished off with "A Conversation with the UPA". The panel consisted of Sandy Hammerley(Exec Dir of the UPA), Matthew Bourland (Champ Series Manager) and two at-large Board Members, Kyle Weisbrod and Josh Seamon. The UPA presented their Strategic Initiatives for the next 5 years by revealing their tactics under the headings of building Community, Character, and Competition. So, for example, under community were plans to ease integration of leagues into the UPA and develop women leaders in the sport. Character was items like developing 75 certified observers per year and paying them. Also here was increasing knowledge of the rules via rules quizzes. Competition brought Div 2 series for College and Club, pre-series events for College & Club, roster limits, and a Grandmaster and Women's Masters event in 2009. The UPA said that they were going to announce the full plan in a few weeks.

With that, we called it a day. Tiina and are going to look into the feasibility of running the UCPC in other parts of the country and I am excited by that prospect. The event does feel like the captains meetings of old when folks would gather in a location and discuss who was going to what tournaments that year. I think it easy to sink behind the anonymity of the internet and the UCPC is brief opportunity to get out there and actually discuss Ultimate face to face.


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

UCPC: 3 days away/Ultivillage partnership, etc

UCPC is just three days away and there is a lot of stuff going on.

First, if you didn't register in advance, you can do walk-in registration on Saturday morning. Check out the website for all the latest information.

One exciting thing is the release of the UCPC07 content on Ultivillage. We want players and coaches who do not have the opportunity to attend the conference to have access to content, so we think this is a great offering. You can also go and vote for the 08 content you would like to see released. Very cool. As a side note, we have decided to use any proceeds that the UCPC receives from the sale of its content to provide scholarships to Youth players that want to attend future conferences. Our presenters have graciously released their content for this purpose.

Dr. Goldberg is again our keynote speaker and, as has been said many times, is really worth the price of admission himself. I recommend subscribing to his newsletter on his website.

As was the case in 07, there are really too many good presentations to see and it is hard to choose. I do think that the chance to talk with the UPA about their Strategic Plan is a unique opportunity. I think Wiggins' presentation should be very interesting. There is plenty more to check out though. Go to the UCPC Presentations page to check it out.

Lastly, there is the Ultimate Expo. With VC, Breakmark, BUDA,the UPA, plus all the colleges, high schools, and club teams in a trade show setting, it should be a lot of fun and chance to get merch plus talk to Ultimate teams about what they are up to.

Should be fun. Hope to see you there.


Thursday, January 10, 2008


I have been watching a bunch of NFL games over the past few months. I found myself recently noticing a bunch of drops that left me thinking, in that Ultimate way, "You have to catch that." Granted, I think many drops occur when the QB is pressured and the pass is a bit wayward or at an unexpected pace, but there are many out and out drops on the gridiron. Randy Moss' drop against the Giants comes quickly to mind, but I am thinking more about the benign drops on the 4th read that results in a little dump/swing pass to the running back.

So, the pros go back to the huddle and do it again as they should, but I have been wondering, as a coach, to what standard can we expect of our players if pro players make these kind of unforced errors?

At the elite level, there is obviously a standard of "no turns" and, practically, this is an elusive standard, even for our best players. I can think of 4 instances when a team has turned it less than 5 times at Nationals.

So, when coaching college or youth players, I am skeptical that a) a mantra of "no turns" or b) maintaining a outcome goal of the number of turns is useful. When rain and wind, etc are a factor, forget about it.

Watching the drops at the pro level has reinforced for me that mistakes are going to happen, and many times, frequently. As usual, I think that a focus on process is vital. Work and drill on throwing and catching as a means of developing confidence in the fundamentals. Don't saddle young players with an unattainable standard. Perhaps, with enough work and a bit of luck, the young players we coach will find themselves on a windless day on the fields of Sarasota facing a tenacious defense, and it will all come together in the right way. Maybe, with good coaching, they will be able to remain enough in the moment to enjoy that experience and not count the few turns that their team makes.


Wednesday, January 02, 2008

UCPC Early Registration ends in 5 days!

Just a reminder that UCPC early registration ends on Jan 7th.

Register at:


Thursday, December 06, 2007

UCPC registration opens today!

Registration for the Ultimate Coaches & Players Conference will open at 11am on Thurs, Dec 6.

First 30 general registrants receive a free disc! First 30 Club/College/High School Vendors to register get 2 free discs!

In addition, we are announcing our presentations and panels for this year's conference.

Please go to the UCPC website to register(after 11am) and get the latest updates.


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Announcing the Presenters for UCPC 08

We are pleased to announce the presenters and panelists for UCPC 08. Dr. Alan Goldberg will again offer the keynote presentation and our panelists offer a broad range of perspectives and experience. Thanks to all who submitted proposals.

The website:

Information about registration and hotels, etc will be published shortly.

Tiina Booth
George Cooke