Wednesday, July 25, 2007

NUTC 2: Closing

More pictures from Brian Cook.

Lucky with the weather this week. Ebay and Derek in the finals tomorrow. Micah's string of making it to semi's ended. Campers didn't beat the Vegas over/under of 5...they scored 4: one by the girls, a camper throwing his SECOND career hammer for a goal, a camper ripping one from Adam Fagin, and a wild goal in which, after the campers completed a long huck off the pull, 4 counselors laid out, bodies everywhere, but the campers managed to get the goal.

The kids were very well-behaved and psyched to play this week. I even had a couple of campers ask me if I was a good player when I played. I was honestly touched. Of course this lead to the disc was made of rock, the stall count was 30 seconds, forcing had not been invented(true when I played in college), and there was only a club teams played in the fall series(also true when I played in college).

The counselors were a vet crew and made life easy for me and Tiina. Lots of parity in the teams this week, which was great. Jody did a lot of teaching work and his contribution to the curriculum can't be understated.

After the camper distance competition, we had a very brief and unfinished counselor distance contest. While not an official result, Andrew and Jody said they thought I won counselor distance with my one my hiking boots. Speaking of which, I have been doing a bit of work on learning how to throw golf discs. Pretty weird. I am managing to get some of them somewhat flat.


Monday, July 23, 2007

NUTC 2: New Start/Questions

Beautiful weather start to week 2. Chance of rain for the next couple of days, but the start has been great. Slightly smaller group this week. Our counselors:

Emily Baecher
Lexi Marsh
Jody Avirgan(NYC)
Sam Roberts
Derek Gottlieb(CO)
Micah Flynn

Andrew Hollingworth
Jason Chow
Adam Fagin(CA)
Leila Tunnell

We ran the camp hard yesterday...shuttle run relays, Chelsea's diamond run, foot fires, body builders, etc. I think the kids slept well last night. The general level of play seems to have increased over the past couple of years. In other words, more kids know more coming in.

Last week we did not have access to the fields in front of our dorm due to the soccer kids. We have this week, though, and DDC seems to be all the rage.

Zip....we figured out that technology for Sunday night. It worked great.

Questions that have been discussed under the tent and in the dining room:
1) Percentage of the time you set up "go to" and the lines are too close together.
2) Why is the transition to man always after 3 or 5 passes? Why does every team say "fire" for the audible?
3) Percentage of the time that a goal is scored after an "on field, in play" time out.
4) Percentage of possessions greater than 35 yards in which a goal is scored after a dump-swing is completed(dump-swing occurs any time during the possession).

Please feel free to weigh in. I will add the general consensus from here in the comments.


Thursday, July 19, 2007

NUTC: Finals/Haiku/Changes in Medicine

All photos are courtesy of Brian Cook Photography. I will include just a few shots that he took on Weds.

Dylan's team won the finals. I had to leave camp early to get to the doctor, but Dylan's team was very good this week. Nonetheless, the tournament was enjoyed by all. I heard that Leila said that her and Brent's first win in the last game of the tournament was her best NUTC moment...awesome.

The high point of the Talent Show was Zip doing Rec Specs??(I think that is what it is called) with two campers providing the music and narration. It culminated in Zip doing the worm on a table with a disc on his head and then doing a tango with Tiina.
Here is Jess' Haiku from the Talent show(Orin is one of our excellent nurses):


Where is my shoulder?
Someone go find Orin now!
No more Birdman game

I went to the doctor today and they took some more x-rays. They said that the folks at Greenfield did a great job resetting my shoulder. They threw away my sling saying "They used to restrict this injury, but sports medicine proved that to not be effective. Now we do PT and we say that you can do as much as you are able". So, that is great. I start PT next week.

More to come once week 2 gets going.


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

NUTC 1: Wrapping Up

typing one handed as my wife is busy helping the counselors wrap things up. week 1 is almost a wrap. dylan's team plays micah's team in the finals and then we all go home.

adam fagan (nutc 06, carlton, mischief) stopped by for a few days. in general, the kids seemed to learn a lot and, for the most part, had a good time.

i noticed dylan helping out a few players with how to lay out. i went over to offer tips, but, for some reason, they didn't seem interested.

dylan's team beat zip in semis and micah beat sambob/ebay. both were very good games. hard fought, great plays, good energy.

i did manage to play "motorcycle girl" with my wife playing guitar....

overall, camper numbers are up 30% this year, so we have a couple of days to reload and then it begins again on sat.


Tuesday, July 17, 2007

NUTC: Week 1: Losing to Ego

Right before coming to camp I finished reading the newest release of The Inner Game of Tennis. Tiina put some copies out in the lobby, but we've received some comments from the campers in which they indicate that they're not tennis players. I think that the book should be called The Inner Game of Sports. The thing I took from this reading of the book is the battle between Self 1 (Ego) vs. Self 2 (the present mind/body). In general, I think I'm a person who manages this battle with a modicum of success, but this week I had a momentary failure in which I launched myself into the future and received a clear physical reminder of one potential consequence of forgetting to remain in the present.

This post will go into the NUTC happenings of the last day or so, while giving my own story, which provided fodder for this morning's presentation on remaining in the present moment.

Yesterday was a beautiful sunny, hot and full day of Ultimate. The campers seemed re-energized now that they have been assigned to their teams for the rest of the week. I think that the development of team-based bonds helps to break down the pre-existing alliances and cliques that the campers bring with them. The morning featured a lecture by Zip and Micah on some new NUTC offensive ideas. The teams put these ideas into practice in their first set of scrimmages with good effect. Dylan's team seems very strong and will probably get a Number one seed in the tournament.

During the day there was the usual smack talking about the Camper-Counselor game. Clearly this is a highlight for the campers as they get to match up against some of the game's biggest stars. For the counselors it is a chance to have some fun and blow off some steam. I felt that the big story might be Andrew Hollingsworth is his debut on the Destructor side erasing six years of humiliation by now being on a team which would score more goals in the first half than the total number of goals that he had been involved in as a camper.

In the course of this smack talk the subject came up as to whether I would participate. It was hard to communicate my personal reservations to our young bucks, but some of my concerns were chance of injury, being out of shape, and no real upside for any showboating, as my skills have always been mediocre at best. When Dylan asked me if I was going to play I said, "Probably not," and he replied "Well that's too bad, but I'm sure that you thought about it a lot and made the best decision for you." I always appreciate Dylan's sense of the big picture, and I had been giving it a lot of thought, weighing my above concerns against wanting to be team player and not a party pooper. My wife, of course, who is typing this post via dictation, was adamant that playing would be a bad idea. I even talked to Ruth and Tiina about how I really have nothing to prove, and wanted to keep my dignity intact.

So, after lunch we moved back out to the fields and did skill stations. The kids seemed a bit lethargic after lunch and being in the heat, but they still seemed to gain a lot from our counselors' excellent teaching. We finished the afternoon off with scrimmages in which teams are putting the finishing touches on for the tournament.

After dinner we headed out to the fields for the Camper/Counselor game. I deliberately showed up late in flip-flops with my daughter so that I could avoid any pre-game peer pressure. I arrived with the counselors up 2-1 as the campers were able to put a very good line out there, including the three kids from Columbia who play on the national team. The game was very entertaining as the Destructors inevitable began to trounce the campers, and we had a sideline show in Tiina's not surprisingly excellent Frisbee dog, Roo. I spent most of the game tossing with my daughter and viewing the proceedings with a slight detachment. The camper team did manage to score three goals, one of which was eerily reminiscent of Zip's follow-up catch for a goal in college finals. We did manage to have two all-female points played, which reinforced the general sense that our girl campers (27 this week!) are excellent players.

As the game wound down I started to think about how cool it would be (first mistake) if I were to play offense in the last point of the game. Of course, this means that the campers would need to score, so I had conveniently created a nice foil for my participation. Well, what do you know, the campers managed to score a goal, so I thought: this is the perfect time to go out barefoot and throw the final goal (second mistake). As I got to the line (Ruth turned to our nurse and said "Get ready") it became obvious that the play was going to be either George to Ted or Ted to George. At this point I was so caught up in the future that scoring the final goal seemed even more glorious (third mistake). It was decided. Ted to George. I said to the folks on the line that i. f it was a turnover I was going to call an injury time-out. We received the pull at the brick and I set myself up on the break side, and broke for the goal. Ted put out a disc that I'm sure Dylan or Zip would have caught easily, but for me, in my bare feet, was just slightly a stretch. As I entered into the end zone it became apparent that I was going to have to lay it out to catch this goal, so I did. I didn't get the catch, and my bid was slightly above falling down . I did manage to get my arms out in front of me and my legs fully outstretched, but as I landed I realized that something was very wrong. I immediately noticed a numbing sensation in my left shoulder, and as I stood up I realized that I had dislocated my shoulder to the point where my arm was hanging unnaturally by my side. I couldn't move my arm nor feel my fingers. I did not however want to freak out any of the campers or counselors, so I walked off the field (remember, I had pre-called an injury time-out) and indicated to Tiina that I needed to go to the hospital. I started walking toward the car, then my wife, my daughter and the nurse cam running up, and my family and I got in the car after the nurse quickly confirmed that I needed to go to the hospital. On the way to the hospital my wife never said I told you so and was incredibly nurturing.

A dislocated shoulder is a very painful injury. I was in a lot of pain, and I thought I was going to pass out a number of times. The Greenfield hospital staff, while busy, did seem to push me along as fast as they could. However, each wait along the way was excruciating. I only became comfortable after getting an IV with morphine in it, and it was at that time that two capable doctors put my shoulder back in place. They gave me a sling and pain meds and set us on our way.

Thanks to the wonders of morphine and Percaset, I slept fine, and the NUTC staff has been incredible in picking up my duties and being supportive. Dylan's first concern was whether I'd be able to play guitar in the talent show. We shall see...

So this experience has been a not-so gentle lesson in listening to your body, minimizing fantasy and expectations, and not letting one's ego override the body's sense of what is best for itself.


Monday, July 16, 2007


NMH was rather sleepy last year, but this year, we are on campus with both a soccer camp and....the American Idol camp! Very exciting. Interesting group of campers this week. Relatively few Massachusetts kids. Lots of kids from New York/New Jersey, Seattle, Nashville, plus three kids from Columbia. We are also starting to get the kids of some of the top players from the 80's.

Our counselors this week:

Micah Flynn(Boston)
Colleen Schmitt(Austin)
Emily Baecher(Mich)
Brent Anderson(Amherst)
Jess Huynh(Eugene)
Lexi Marsh(Toronto)
Dylan Tunnell(Atlanta)
Sam Roberts(Amherst)
Ted Munter(Boston)
Josh Ziperstein(Atlanta)

Awesome. Lots of new faces, but they just jumped in and it seemed like they had been here all along. Excellent teachers and role models.

We had our normal welcome meeting and the kids reacted with the usual horror about having to get up early for the first real day of camp. Indeed, as we moved to the fields in the bright morning sun, the kids seemed to get a bit of slow start. The kids are doing a a pretty good job of self-monitoring, but there is the usual...calibration as they get used to the standards and expectations of camp.

We ran them through the basic fundamentals and the skill level is pretty much all over the map. It was a tricky day as we had several thunderstorms that made us get off the fields quickly, but the campers were very patient and we only lost about an hour of scrimmage time.

Last night we divided the campers into teams and today we start working on some offense ideas.

More to come.....


Thursday, July 12, 2007

New UPA Registration/Rostering Guidelines

So, there are about 6 weeks to go until the new Team Registration Deadline of August 24th. Never enough time, really, to get the word out on what is, in my opinion, both a big deal and a cultural shift in the way the UPA operates. This year marks the final break from the idea that unregistered teams could walk up on Saturday morning of Sectionals and still participate. Granted, we have had a "Late Deadline" which created a buffer for those teams that missed the "Early Deadline", so teams have not been able to walk-up for a couple of years, but now it is don't get your roster in by August don't play.

Here is the link to the specific language in the 2007 Club Series Guidelines

These rules are going to make the jobs of our volunteer coordinators easier. They will know, for example, how many teams they will have at their event on August 24th! Gone, also, are the days of a team submitting an "invalid" roster (meaning between the old "early deadline" and "late deadline"), but taking a bid to Regionals from one of the teams that submitted a valid roster. So, if you are in a Section in which you are concerned about the number of bids you will receive to Regionals, you better let the other teams in your Section know that they must get their rosters in by August 24th.

I will summarize the two key changes for 2007:

1) Team Registration Deadline: All teams wishing to participate in the 2007 Club Series MUST submit a valid roster(7 players minimum, unless granted a college extension) via the online rostering system by August 24, 2007.

That's it. Simple. In order to play this year, your captain must submit your team's roster by August 24th.

2) Roster Deadline:
a) Teams must finalize their rosters by the Tuesday before Sectionals
b) Teams can drop as many players as they want between the Team Registration Deadline and the Roster Deadline
c) Teams can add up to 7 players(regardless of how many they drop)between the Team Registration Deadline and the Roster Deadline

So, in other words, if you submit a roster on August 24th with 20 players, you will be able to carry, at the maximum, 27 for the Fall Series. You could drop 4 and add 7 for a total of 23, but you will not have more than 27 for the Series.

I am happy to answer any questions, but I recommend contacting your SC if you have specific concerns.


Monday, July 09, 2007

Getting Ready for NUTC

On Friday, I will pack up and head out to Northfield Mount Herman for my third year at Assistant Director for NUTC. Can immersing oneself in Ultimate for three weeks be considered anything other than luxurious? Probably not, although in my case, getting the family either out to camp, or day care arranged for when my wife is at work in Boston, plus making sure that I am somewhat involved is a challenge. Ah...the sacrifices I make for this little game of ours......

I do think that NUTC will be great this year. Tiina and I have been having a bunch of discussions about tweaks to the program (both big and small), and, as usual, she is pushing things forward and making improvements step by step. There is a lot of reliance on the feedback we receive from both the campers and the counselors and Tiina if you are returning to NUTC this year, I think you will notice the attention to detail.

The list of counselors looks great. A couple of core folks will be missing this year due jobs and a wedding, but there are some exciting new faces(Ted Munter!?!! for example) that should spice things up in a different way.

I will be posting frequently from camp over the next few weeks. If you attending camp and are reading this: be prepared to have a great time. Take advantage of the opportunity that has been given to you. Try to be in pretty good shape...although if you are is pretty much too late.

I look forward to seeing both old and new faces. We have campers coming from new states(Wyoming!) plus the usual suspects from Atlanta, Seattle, California, Amherst, Boston, Chicago, New Jersey, etc, etc. We will also have some campers from the Columbian Worlds team(I don't speak any other I will be useless), so that is very cool.

More to come next week.....


Monday, July 02, 2007

Game Management: Time/Point Caps, Overtime

This post will go over the workings of the cap rules plus my opinions on "game management" during caps. As a TD, I have received many questions about how the caps work. As a spectator, I have seen many teams struggle with managing the end of games, and as a coach, I have my own ways of negotiating these points in the game. This post will hopefully condense these three points of view into something somewhat useful.

The rules around caps are specifically handled in Section V (Length of Game) in the 11th edition. Here is the section in its entirety:

Length of Game
A) Game to goals: A game is played until one team first reaches or exceeds the game total, with a margin of at least two goals or until a cap is reached.

1) Caps are maximum score limits imposed before or during a game to limit the time required to declare a winner. The game ends when one team’s score first reaches the cap.
a) A point cap is a maximum score limit imposed before the event.
b) A soft time cap is a maximum score limit imposed during a game once a predetermined time of play has elapsed and after the current scoring attempt is completed.
c) A hard time cap is the ending of the game once a predetermined time of play has elapsed and after the current scoring attempt is completed. If the score is tied, play continues until one additional goal is scored.

2) The team with the most goals at the end of the game is the winner.

3) A standard game has a game total of 15, with a point cap of 17.

B) Halftime begins when one team’s score first reaches or exceeds half of the game total, and lasts ten minutes.

C) Overtime begins when the score is tied at one goal less than the game total (e.g., in a game with a game total of 15 goals, overtime begins when the score reaches 14-14).

-Nomenclature--Teams need to get the nomenclature straight. Sure, it is confusing that the names of the caps changed with the 11th, but it is time for us to molt and stop referring to the point cap as the soft cap.

-Once the soft time cap is in effect, you play to that score. There is no win by two.

-If a soft time cap or hard time cap occur either during half time or while waiting for the pull, the teams need to play the next point and then put the cap into effect. It is important to understand when a point (scoring attempt) begins and ends(This is defined in Section II.Q).

-Overtime--Overtime seems to be continually confusing. With the 11th, its occurrence is simplified. In a game to 15, overtime is 14-14....even if the game is capped at 15. The other thing is timeouts. In overtime, each team has ONE timeout regardless of how many they had prior to overtime.

That is the mechanics of the cap rules. Here are some thoughts on game management:

-I don't agree with the "no timeouts in the cap" rule as has become all the fashion these days. If the concern is keeping the tournament running on time, caps, specifically the hard time cap, can easily be used to accomplish this purpose. As a coach, I view usage of timeouts is one of the few means of managing the game and coaches shouldn't be punished for keeping timeouts available.

-I really like to have a timeout available for the end of the game. In general, I am not in favor of timeouts during a point, specifically when a player has caught a long pass and is by themselves close to the endzone. This situation happens frequently enough that the offense should know how to handle it and, if not, it can be drilled. I want to use my timeouts, at the conclusion of points, to stop the opponents run or to take a quick breather and re-calibrate. I do think that if the team is driving for the win and the hard cap is not a concern, then taking a timeout close the endzone can be a good call.

-While it may sound unsavory, there have been times, when we have been clinging to a lead and the time between the soft time cap and hard time cap is 15 minutes or less, that using timeouts can be a means of protecting a lead and shortening the clock. The best example I have of this is when Nell called a timeout after we scored just 30 seconds before the soft time cap in our pool play game against MIT in 06 Sectionals. We had a 2 point lead and with the hard cap coming in 10 minutes, and we were able to effectively reduce the time needed to protect our lead.

-I always have my cell phone for keeping track of the exact time. I am aware of the caps well in advance.

-Perhaps I am gun shy about running out of timeouts due to 6TM's 04 semi against CLX. We used both our timeouts early in the second half. The second timeout was used during a point to set up an endzone play. I think a timeout would have been very useful in stopping their big, back breaking run at the end of the game. As anyone can call a timeout, I think a team has to be exacting in communicating when the team has the green light to call a timeout.

-A very good test of maturity and mental toughness occurs when you are behind by 1-2 and the caps are imminent. Playing loose while pressing to get a break or get a quick score is a great challenge and basically puts the mental paradox of sports in a nutshell.