Saturday, January 14, 2006

Board Meeting Social Evening #1

As usual, I tossed around in the bed at the hotel starting around 4am. I don't sleep well in hotels on the first night, and the time change just enhances the problem. I finally got up at 5am and found this computer in the business center. At dinner last night, there was a lot of talk about blogworld.

I decided to fly into Denver early as I wanted to see the new UPA HQ. The new office is located in the SW part of Boulder now. Not quite as much character in the neighborhood, but a nice space for the UPA. There is good space for storage, and everyone has a nice office. Lots of discs on the wall. There is a nice, framed montage of discs, photos, and a medal from the World Games. Everyone is pretty busy at HQ. New Board Member Ricky E said to me that UPA members would be impressed by the commitment to service by the staff, and that a visit to HQ would make everyone appreciate what the UPA does for us. I decided to bother Kyle first. We spent time talking about the blogworld. Kitt came in and discussed some programming changes she was working on. After talking to Kyle for a while, I floated over to the video tape library. It is a bit small, but nevertheless an intersting experience. I watched some of the 98 College Open finals to try to find my friend Jay Clyne. Then I watched some of the UMASS/Stanford final from 1986. Kyle came in and we discussed how these teams would not make it to the second day of sectionals these days. The O was pretty disorganized, the throws undeveloped, and lots of basic errors on D (running past the mark, etc). Next came the finals of Easterns 1986, Titanic v Spot. Everyone is very young and skinny.

Will came in at that point, so I turned off Disc 4, and we talked about a variety of topics that will come up this weekend. Elizabeth and Tommy showed up and we all went to dinner.

The restaurant had an hour long wait, so there was plenty of time to talk. I spent a long time talking with Elizabeth. I am so impressed by her organizational abilites as well as her thoughtful commitment to good ideas. We discussed the differences between our first meeting 4 years ago and now. Both of us felt that there was a lot of time mis-management and we were both put off a bit by the sense of hierarchy in terms of perceived status. Both of these things have changed over the past 4 years. The Board has put proceedures into place to maximize efficiency in terms of things like the budget and proposals. There is also a diminished sense of anyone being more important than anyone else, and I think Elizabeth's perspective as an organizer has gone a long way in helping us move forward.

We sat down for dinner and other folks showed up. It was great to see Henry, Todd, and Josh again, although I did not get much of a chance to see them. I spent a long time talking with Sandie about the World Games experience. I finished up the night talking with Will about blogworld. I brought him up to speed and then mentioned that I had been thinking a lot about Idris' post in May about matchups as well as some stuff about stats. We talked about matchups for a long time. I looked over Idris' article and realized that I had mis-interpreted a few things, and it seems like Will and I ended up in a similar place (match-ups don't do that deep as D players switch their mark and that teams are not advanced enough yet to systematically take advantage of favorable matchups).

Realizing that I was going to get up at 5am, I caught a ride to the hotel, and that was the end of the evening. I have said it before, but I am humbled to be able to come out here and spend time with intelligent people whose passion for Ultimate is consuming. I look forward to spending the day working on Ultimate. What could be better?


Marshall said...

What could be better?

Well, playing it could be better, but we appreciate the time y'all spend talking about it and working for the sport. Have a good weekend.

Josh Mullen said...

Ah george,

I have another request for you to talk about. So, MIT's men's team, who i have been helping out with coaching and whatnot this spring, somehow has huge bag of agility workout stuff (i mean filled, with ladders, those bungee resistance running ropes, jump ropes, and whatnot).

i was wondering 2 things.

1.) if you are already doing 1 track workout a week, what agility training should you do, and when (i.e. every practice)?

2.) so, apparently, i am terrible at ladders. i mean, really, really bad. i thought i had very good footwork from tennis, but apparently, putting your feet in a certain small location with a certain cadence to it is very different. do you have any advice on how to get better, and what the actual mechanics of the footwork is (i.e. are you trying to swing your feet down into place, or are you trying to attack the ground with your feet). i definitely see the benefits of ladders and like the idea that it will make me quicker and more co-ordinated.

also, do you have your hips dropped when you do them, and if so, how much?


gcooke said...

Hi Josh,

1) I think the typical model that Ultimate teams use of 1 track workout per week is fine. This is sometimes determined by winter access to facilities, etc.

If you have flexibility in terms of space, I find it useful to sometimes mix up Ultimate skills with speed work and agility. This means developing an organized plan for your practice so that you can move quickly from activity to activity.

Agility training, if you don't want to allocate a lot of time to it, can be done around your other drills.

It sounds like you have most of the tools that you need:
ladder, resistance cords, and cones.

I like resisted runs and laddr work a lot. I also like the variety of cone drills you can do (suicides, shuffles, etc). You can also integrate plyos as part of your agility work.

When I used to work with Bryan Doo, we did 1 60 minute agilty workout per week.

2) I do try to keep my hips low because I have trouble with that.

There is a lot of helpful info on the web about ladders. Do a seach for:

ladders, footwork drills.


parinella said...

we were both put off a bit by the sense of hierarchy in terms of perceived status. [This has] changed over the past 4 years.

As the perceived status for each of you has increased greatly since your inaugural meeting where you probably spent 99% of your time just taking everything in, are you sure that you're not just reacting to that change rather than something different in the system?

gcooke said...


I think your point is well taken. I am not at all sure. I should probably strike that from the record.


parinella said...

No, leave it for the record. Obviously, I'm taking this personally, but I'm curious as to how this manifests itself. In general, I often find myself wondering whether the reason that I perceive trait X to be different than it used to be is because X is indeed different or if it's just my own changing perspective.

(I could easily agree about the time mis-management, especially when I was running the meetings. Each year we'd figure out a little more on how to do things, and we gradually stopped getting bogged down in things better left for Administration. On the other hand, I thought we did well at limiting anecdotal chatter during the meetings.)

Oh, and don't think that your UPA employees aren't already up to speed on the blogworld or rsd or anything else that's going on on the Internet.

gcooke said...


I try to view my impressions of a situation as valid, but I try not pass them off as fact or ubiquitous.

I think, as you allude to, that "mis-management" is incorrect, and that the process is better described as improving based on experience.

I have always struggled with my own sense of intimidation by existing (perceived) hierarchies. I think the trend of increasing the time allocation to the seperate Championship Committee has gone a long way toward making the volunteer admin staff feel li9ke they have a purpose.


parinella said...

Actually, I think I _was_ saying that we didn't manage our time all that well.

Well, you have to realize that Lyn was one of those Champ Committee members that we would have had to listen to, so you can understand why we wouldn't want that.

Interestingly, the time management and the empowerment seem to battle against each other. The more people that are given time slots, the more people that feel important, but the less efficient you are (unless the speakers are much more efficient than their proxies; on a per-unit basis, I have no doubt that this is true, but they would make up for that by including a lot more information that they would find interesting and relevant but might not be considered as useful by a Board).

Anyway, thanks for the specific example.

David Lee Paraguay said...

George. How'd the rest of the meeting go? Sorry to have missed you this year.

Did you all talk about the impact worlds will have on the series next fall? I'm curious what that national directors think about this.

gcooke said...


I think the definitions of when folks can speak are appropriate. I didn't feel any need to say much at the meeting as the concerns were policy. I thought that as I had made the trip out there that the best use of my time would be to work on implementation....which is how things work now. So I didn't to speak to the board in order to feel respected, but I think I bristled against my subjective feeling that the Board felt more important because they could speak. Again...this is just my perception and probably incorrect.


Very little Worlds discussion. I want to do a blog post about the issue soon.