Monday, September 17, 2007


Due to my plea bargain agreement in which I took my wife out swing dancing this weekend, I was let out of my veal pen and allowed to stop in on both ENE Women's(Sat) and Mixed(Sun) Sectionals. Seriously, swing dancing was a lot of fun. We found a community place at a nearby town where they had lessons and a live 18-piece big band, so that was cool.

My captains this year have some very creative ideas about structure this year and Sectionals was just one example. The Whips were able to get two teams out to the event this year. One team (Whiptails) was comprised of Seniors and 2nd year players that played on the B team last year. The other (Whole Damn Bus) was alums plus 2nd year players from the A team. The benefits of this rather quirky arrangement are obvious in that PT is increased, older players are teaching younger players, etc. It seemed to me going in that Whole Damn Bus had a legit shot at Regionals, so I was wondering if the seniors on Whiptails were concerned about placing themselves in a situation in which they might not get the chance at playing at Regionals. I think, though, that my seniors are concerned more about the team as a whole, though, than their personal opportunities in early fall. I am not surprised by their selfless attitude, though. It has been a struggle every fall to teach the first year players how to play while still moving the returning players forward. So, this approach to Sectionals is about focusing our attention on our great group of sophomores and keeping them moving forward. I did receive a call from my alums asking me to come out and say Hi, so I made the trek out to the very nice soccer complex in Lancaster, MA.

Going to tournaments is a real social event these days. I get to see lots of folks I haven't seen in months or years. I ran into Julian, who has been a great commenter on this blog. We discussed the differences between coaching your peers in club vs coaching college teams. Interesting stuff.

Godiva seems pretty strong this year. With VY, Johanna, Mo, Sarah, etc, they are a good team and it showed as I checked the SRT and they lost to Brute by 1 in the final.

My girls did well. The Whips struggled a bit, but had a close win against BC. I think it was great for them to get some reps n this setting. WDB did qualify for Regionals. The alums looked pretty strong. Nell was very poised with the disc and Leslie was running hard as always. My current players made contributions: Min running hard, Caroline in the cup. It was pretty windy, but the overall level of play held up. It was great to see folks again.

On Sunday, I headed down to catch the finals of the Mixed Div. I had read on the SRT that Quiet Coyote had upset Slow White the day before. Due to this format, that meant that Slow could not win the that is kind of a big deal. Again, it is like reunion weekend down there for me. Hard to concentrate on the games while I am chatting away. I plunk myself between the Slow/Chinstrap game(loser is 4th, winner plays for 2nd/3rd) and the Tandem/QC game. Tandem gets a break to go up 1-0, and then QC rattles off 3 and is pulling. I turn my head to check out the Slow/Strap game which is just getting going and, as I am standing on the endzone line near QC, I hear, from behind me, one of the 7 QC players say "Let's go for the kill". I think to myself "Uh Oh....3-1 is a bit early to be going for the kill". QC pulls. Disc is pulled inside out from the right sideline. Never comes back in and Tandem gets the disc 10 yards from the goal they are attacking. 2 short quick passes. Goal. This begins a 14-3 run and a win for Tandem. Now, of course it is convenient to frame things in this manner and I am very certain that saying "let's go for the kill" did not cause the guy to throw the disc out of bounds and begin the Tandem run. However, I do think that language is important and this example does bring up the topic of what is "helpful" language. I talked with Tiina a bunch about this under the tent at NUTC this summer. One thing I used to say to my girls when we would get up to 12 or 13 was "Let's close out this game now". This was intentionally taken from tennis and watching Pete Sampras close out games after breaking his opponents serve. I think, after talking with Tiina, that this is not effective language. It doesn't present any concrete goals or add to focus. It also sets up doubt in that if we don't score...well, then we didn't do what we were supposed to do. I think "Let's go for the kill" at 3-1 is the same thing. We talked at NUTC about saying, instead, "Let's recommit". Commit to running 10% harder. Commit to focus. I think that is better language. Now, I don't think that saying "Let's recommit" prevents the guy from yanking the pull out of bounds, but, perhaps, deciding to commit to focus could remind one not to throw an inside out along the right sideline.

The Slow/Strap game is similar. Close to begin with, but Slow pulls away. I have to leave to go rehearse with my rock band for my upcoming shows, but Slow beats QC for the 2 spot. It is a competitive section. QC is a good team and they will do some damage at Regionals. I think, after walking through CHC, that Slow realizes that the same will not be true in a few weeks.

Tandem looked good. They have picked up some talented players (Colin M, Pooja S, A Tong...and Tom Matthews...great to see him out there).

So, it was fun to check out some good Ultimate. My opportunities to see Ultimate (other than Whips practices) will be limited this fall. No CHC, one day of Sectionals, one day at Regionals (working the BC game on the 6th), and, sadly, no Nationals(the band I am playing with is opening up a series of shows at a theater in Boston on the Friday of Nats).


Julian said...


Nice to meet you in person! Gale Force played both Wellesley squads, and both were a pleasure to face: confident, knowledgeable, spirited. Best of luck at Regionals and in the spring.


Ned said...


I'm not sure Slow White "walking" through CHC is the best assessment. We had the game tied with them at 9s (after being down 8-1 in a flurry of stupidity on our part. We were tied at 11 when the cap went on, and they broke us for the only time in the half to win 13-11.

We lost to Flaming Moe in Semis at double game point after getting the D (and obviously turning it over).

Ned Coker
Atlanta Rival

gcooke said...

Hey Ned,

I think this is a valid complaint. I wasn't there and didn't bother to recheck the scores on the SRT before posting.

I talked with some SW folks about CHC and they felt they played very well, so "walking" was my own embellishment.

I hope you guys have a great Regionals, Ned. Best of luck.