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.


Druski said...

Will there be anything from "A Conversation with the UPA" posted to the archives? I know the full results of the strategic plan won't be available until next month and they're holding off on releasing much information before then, but it'd at least be nice to see what they had to say at UCPC.

gcooke said...

Hi Druski,

Thanks for writing. I am in the process of getting the presentation files from everyone. I will be posting, for example, Gwen Ambler's PowerPoint this evening.

I haven't received the UPA's powerpoint slides for "A Conversation with the UPA", but I did get a pamphlet, so I will do my best to transcribe here what it says.

On the Front cover, there it says, in bold beneath the Ultimate Revolution logo:

"The UPA's objective going forward: to advance the sport of Ultimate by enhancing and promoting character, community, and competition"

Open it up and it says:

"Character: Increase integrity and accountability for competitive Ultimate"

Then, in italics:

"More than 84% of players at all levels of the game believe that Ultimate, without SOTG(I am not a fast typer), would not be Ultimate.

"Improving rules knowledge among Ultimate players is essential to reducing the number of erroneous calls and contests and stoppages of play, and therefore an improvement in the watchability of Ultimate and its marketability to mainstream media

Results from our research strongly indicated that players are happy with the current Observer system but would like to see improvements and experimentation in order to facilitate the ideal blend of player accountability and responsibility, fair play and exciting fast-paced action"


"To this end the UPA commits to:

Prepare a written document which clarifies and defines SOTG and can be used for marketing both internally and externally

Implement spirit rating system based on observer, coach, spectator input

Produce and maintain online rules resources including abbreviated rules, annotated rules, video enactments cheat sheet of outcomes

Develop online rules quizzes for use by all players. Implement rules quizzes for a) coaching certification and b) UPA Championship Series

Increase the number of and quality of observers across the country through increased training clinics (goal 75 new observers per year) and implementation of an observer pay scale system

Partner with existing college and club tournaments to experiment with an expanded scope for observers

Revision of the Observer evaluation program; develop recertification criteria and procedures; explore a tiered system of certification

Ongoing modification of the role of Observers in competitive play. In year one alone, Observers will implement active force-out calls and hand signals; and experiment with active up-down & travel calls

Promote the use of UPA established Spirit rating systems and awards at non-UPA events."

OK..its trash night and I got to put my kid to bed. I will work on the other two sections in an hour or so.


gcooke said...

See Gwen;s post for the rest. She;s a better typist than I.


Druski said...

Much appreciated George (and Gwen). Exactly what I was looking for.

Skippy said...

I just wanted to thank again all the volunteers who helped make the UCPC run so smoothly. Great job again Tiina and George! Everyone who volunteered really stepped up and helped get things set up and cleaned up in a professional and timely manner. (Especially around the Expo and food areas) Much Thanks! Skippy