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Weekly Wisdom

Weekly Wisdom #28

posted Mar 28, 2011, 8:29 AM by Elizabeth Lehman   [ updated Mar 28, 2011, 8:30 AM by Quinten Hutchison ]


Good job playing this weekend and congratulations to our MVPs and award winners.  Really take some time to think about the weekend – how you played, how we played, and the things that we discussed – and try to work on problem areas (ie- throwing in bad weather).

One thing that we didn’t really discuss in our team huddle, but that we consistently have been having issues with this year, is our team sense of direction.  I’m pretty sure that we’ve had at least one car get lost/show up late to every tournament that we’ve been to and, while amusing, it actually is sort of an issue.  So, this WW is a plethora or tips and hints for the next time you find yourself driving to a tournament.

How to Not Get Lost at an Ultimate Tournament:

1.)     Don’t rely on a GPS

We don’t need no coaches, we don’t need no Garmins.

2.)     Look at a map.

Not the written directions part, the map part.

3.)     Keep an eye out for fellow ultimate players and follow them.

We all know what to look for: hatchbacks with bumper stickers, filled with hooligans wearing trucker hats.

4.)     Know what direction you’re heading.

Be a boy scout and get a compass if you have to.  Don’t drive blindly into oblivion.

5.)     Caravan.

Makes things so much easier.  And it’s more fun, cause you can do stuff like race, and moon each other.  This also means that everyone has to be ready to go on time…

6.)     If you’re driving, you’re responsible for knowing where you’re going.

The navigator is more there for moral support really, and to control the radio.

7.)     Invest in an atlas.

An atlas will alway have satellite signal, and it will never annoy the shit out of you by demanding you make an illegal u-turn in an Australian accent.           

Have a great Monday, and we’ll see everyone at practice this evening!

Your Goby Cap’n Whiskey Warriors,

Noel & Libby

Weekly Wisdom #27

posted Mar 22, 2011, 11:30 AM by Elizabeth Lehman   [ updated Mar 22, 2011, 11:32 AM by Quinten Hutchison ]

With the series coming up, there have been lots of e-mails circulating about registration and rostering with USA Ultimate.  Since we are all due-paying members, complete with an identification number and membership card, it’s important to know a little bit about our governing body.  What they started as, who they are now, what they do, and how it affects you as an ultimate player. 

First, the brief beginnings:

In 1979, just over 10 years after the creation of ultimate frisbee by a group of high school students in Maplewood, NJ, The Ultimate Players Association was formed in Santa Barbara.  This same year, ‘Frisbee’ was removed from the name of the sport.  At this time, the championship consisted of one men’s club team from each region.  In 1981, the women’s club division was created, again with the championships consisting of one team per region.  The men’s division grew in 1982 (the same year Henry Callahan was killed) to two teams per region.  The sport expanded to a men’s and women’s collegiate division in 1984 and 1987, respectively.  Since then, the UPA has grown and changed to what we now know as USA Ultimate – currently catering to over 35,000 members and having an annual expense budget over $1.3 million.  USAU now consists of a youth division, 2 men’s and women’s collegiate divisions, a men’s, women’s, and coed club divisions, a master’s division, and a grand master’s division.  You now have the capability to play ultimate from the time your small pre-pubescent arms can lift 175 grams until you can no longer remember which end zone you’re scoring at due to Alzheimer’s.   Read more about the history of ultimate and USAU.

The future of USAU:

In 2008, the 40 year anniversary of the creation of ultimate, the UPA developed their 5 year Strategic Plan in order to continue the growth and evolution of the sport to cater to the interests of the players.  The following is a somewhat abbreviated summary of this plan, you are encouraged to read more into USAU’s Strategic Plan
1.)     More USAU involvement in Youth Ultimate
2.)     Alter the Championship Series (i.e. – conferences, regionals, nationals) so that there are more playing opportunities, and so that these games are more evenly matched, making them more exciting.
3.)     Expand and improve the Observer system
4.)     Strengthen leagues by providing more resources (tools, training, resources)
5.)     Maximize the adherence to the Spirit of the Game (apply clear definition, build awareness for it’s importance)
6.)     Expand women’s ultimate
7.)     Create more ways for members to interact with USAU
8.)     Develop tools and deepen relationships with college teams and college admin
9.)     Increase player’s knowledge of rules
10.) Facilitate international growth with more interaction with other organizations (e.g. – WFDF)

I know this is long as it is, but there is a lot more interesting stuff in all of the provided links.  And although it’s flashy and hard to disguise from your boss as a legitimate work website, you should poke around on the USAU website and read about all they have done/are doing for the sport.

So take your time, procrastinate from doing actual work, peruse over this, and then go outside and throw.

Weekly Wisdom #26

posted Feb 28, 2011, 10:40 PM by Elizabeth Lehman   [ updated Feb 28, 2011, 10:41 PM by Quinten Hutchison ]

This weeks WW is about physics, cognition and disc reading. As a cogs major you sometimes get to do whatever you want. I'm in the process of developing a research study to better understand the acquisition of disc reading skills. We sent out a paper about the physics of a disc in the fall, but here's a brief summary.

In physics, the flight of a flying disc, a Frisbee[1], is best characterized by gyroscopic stability and aerodynamic lift. During flight, the weight of a disc is not centered. Angular momentum upon throwing counter acts the torque caused by this uneven distribution of weight, gravity and other forces (Morrison 2005). In studying of a disc’s flow dynamics, it has been demonstrated that air flow over the stop of a disc creates two vortices which allows for flight. Research also shows that constant spin results stronger a longitudinal force behind the disc as well as a longer, more stable flight (Nakamura and Fukamachi 1989). Without this explicit knowledge of why and how a disc flies, players are able to “read”, or predict its path, and make successful catches. 

[1] Frisbee is a registered trademark of Whamo-O Inc. The flying discs used in official USA Ultiamte competitions are white, 175-gram Discraft discs. 

You may have noticed that discs fly in a particular manner based on lots of variables- wind, tilt, spin... All of these effect it's flight path. With so many variables the calculations needed to accurately predict its path are difficult even for my TI-89. Nonetheless, you see players run down discs and make spectacular plays consistently. This is attributed to experience and the gaze heuristic. 

By fixating gaze on the disc while running towards it adjusting speed and direction such that the angle of the gaze remains constant, the receiver is able to meet the disc at a catchable point. Marewski and colleagues 
present this case and argue, “Complex judgment tasks often do not need complex cognitive strategies to be solved successfully”(Marewski, Gaissmaier & Gigerenzer, 2010, p. 104). 

The best way to get better at reading discs is to watch them, throw them and run them down. Reading a disc is not an innate skill and everyone has the ability master it. One good read can be the difference between a win and a loss. 

Weekly Wisdom #25

posted Feb 13, 2011, 10:31 PM by Elizabeth Lehman   [ updated Feb 13, 2011, 10:32 PM by Quinten Hutchison ]

Getting the most out of playing indoors


Specific things to take advantage of indoors:

  • 5/7 stall count.  The goal of playing with a stall count to 5 is to speed up the overall pace of our game, indoors and outdoors (think about Michigan’s offense).  If you have the disc – make smart upfield looks, and decisive and timely dump looks.  If you’re cutting – set up your cuts with plenty of time (before the disc is tapped in, before the disc is caught).
  • Conditioning.  Really try to push yourself to build that speed and endurance that we won’t have the time to work on nearly as much once we go outside.  Know your limits, but really try to stretch them.
  • Experimenting with your throws.  There is nothing more frustrating than trying to learn how to throw on I-O flick when you are at the mercy of gale force winds.  Since we don’t have to worry about those inside, try to fine tune your throwing now.  Think about things like the angle of the disc, your grip, etc.  Use our daily throwing warm-up as a time to broaden your throwing abilities.


What aspects of ultimate are not directly dependent on the surrounding environment?

  • Aggressive mark – it doesn’t matter if you’re wearing cleats or tennis shoes, you can still be a very active mark and on your toes for the entire 10 stall counts.  Marking someone is not a time to rest!
  • Faking.  Let’s throw past all of the aggressive marks.
  • Defense.  Same idea as having an aggressive mark.  Staying on the force side and defense in general is something we can always work on.  Defense is all about the effort that you put into it, and defense wins championships.


What things are you going to need to alter once we switch outside?

  • Be in tune with what throws you do and don’t have, especially if wind is a factor.
  • Keeping your spacing.  Playing on a fraction of the Veale courts is obviously going to clutter a game up slightly more than a full 120 x 40 yard field will, regardless of the number of players.  When you’re making downfield and handler cuts, and when you’re looking to throw to these cuts, be aware of this change in spacing and make sure you’re giving everyone the appropriate space.
  • In cuts vs. out cuts.  Indoors, everyone is a hucker.  Throw in 20 more yards of depth and 30 mph winds, and this changes a bit.  Use this in your judgment when deciding what cut you’re going to be making.

Weekly Wisdom #24

posted Jan 23, 2011, 7:07 PM by Elizabeth Lehman   [ updated Jan 23, 2011, 7:07 PM by Quinten Hutchison ]

Ultimate Resolutions and Reflections


Welcome, Gobies, to 2011!  We hope that you are welcoming the new decade and everything that it brings – resolutions, aspirations, goals – with anxiousness, anticipation, and hopefulness, in ultimate and every other aspect of your life.


As we approach the threshold of our spring season, we also hope that you begin to fully own the ultimate goals that you’ve developed and set for yourself over the past four months with an enthusiasm that only the start of a new decade can bring.


But the dawn of the new only comes after the dusk of the old, and in order to fully grasp and face goals for tomorrow, you have to understand all that happened yesterday.  The New Year is not merely a time for resolutions, but also of reflection, understanding, and appreciation for where you’ve been.  As a team, we cannot fully accept the expectations that we’ve set for ourselves without the pride that comes with being aware of past expectations that have been set and have been achieved, and sometimes even exceeded.  It is this pride that will encourage us to work toward our goals as a team and as individual players.    



Whether your resolutions for 2011 include a higher GPA, better sleep habits, learning to throw a thumber, improved flutter skills, or being on a winning jello disc team – we hope that you accept this challenge with high aspirations and dedication.  Enjoy your last bits of break and we can’t wait to see everyone back in Cleveland.

Weekly Wisdom #23

posted Jan 23, 2011, 7:05 PM by Elizabeth Lehman   [ updated Jan 23, 2011, 7:07 PM by Quinten Hutchison ]

Hope you're all enjoying the remainder of your breaks! This week's Weekly Wisdom is all about picking jersey numbers. This is a serious topic that requires your careful consideration. Shortly you all will have the opportunity to order some sweet new Goby threads. We choose numbers on the team by seniority, but everyone should think about what number they want. If you don't already have your number in mind, you really need to get on it. What makes a good number?

23 is not only one of the greatest numbers of all time because it is both of your captain's birthdays and the inspiration for this Weekly Wisdom, but mostly because it belongs to one of the greatest athletes and most successful basketball players ever. After getting cut from the varsity team his sophomore year in high school, Michael Jordan went on to lead the Chicago Bulls to 6 NBA Championships. Why did Michael Jordan wear number 23? His older brother wore 45 and he felt he had half of his brother skill. Since 22.5 isn't a legal number he picked 23. You know the infamous Cavalier who attempted to wear 23. He failed to live up to those standards, so he changed his number and moved out of state in shame. Pick your number wisely. 

So what makes a good number? If you don't already have a number you'll know it when you see it. And for those of you that already have a number, you totally know what I'm rambling on about. When you see someone else wearing your number, it doesn't look right because it's your number not their's. When it pops up on a calc test you get distracted. When you put it on you know it's game time. 

Keep working out! and think about your number some.

Weekly Wisdom #22

posted Dec 27, 2010, 12:55 AM by Noel Hanzel   [ updated Jan 1, 2011, 1:50 PM by Quinten Hutchison ]

Hope everyone made it through finals all right and are home and warm. This week Weekly Wisdom is about catching. As you should have realized catching the disc is essential to the game. We will be getting a lot of throws in during the winter so it will give us plenty of opportunities to work on catching. Something we haven't really discussed in practice is catching 50/50 discs. These are the throws that go up when you and your defender are neck and neck. The fastest player isn't always the winner. Here are 4 easy steps to getting those discs (adapted from The Huddle).

  1. Read the disc. Knowing where the disc is going to be can help you better position yourself. Learning to read the disc comes from playing: watching throws, understanding how I/O and O/I throws work and how weather factors effect the disc. 
  2. Positioning yourself. Getting between your defender and the disc is the best way to ensure a catch. While it is illegal to intentionally divert someone's path, when you are going after the disc you can box out your defender out by getting between them and the disc. When the only way to the disc is through you either you well get a clean catch or get fouled.
  3. Timing and jumping. Plyos are the best way to increase your vertical. The higher you jump the more likely you are to come down with the disc when you are in a group. Also timing your jump right can give you an advantage. You should try to make the catch while you are at the top of your jump (super marios/cherry pickers!) 
  4. Catching the disc.  "Catch that piece of plastic! Snatch it out of the air! Grab it! Do not gently try to pull it out of the air. Catch with authority." Practice catching with your non-dominate hand. Practice catching high discs, low discs and discs out to the side. Be comfortable catching discs with either hand at any location. Play more flutter.
There is more on the Huddle about catching 50/50 discs so check it out. Note how our workouts relate to this part of the game (ie - strength training, plyos).  We've attached the workout spreadsheet, updated for the rest of break.  Let us know if you have questions, have fun and stay active.

Weekly Wisdom #21

posted Nov 14, 2010, 9:43 PM by Elizabeth Lehman   [ updated Nov 14, 2010, 9:43 PM by Quinten Hutchison ]

One of the things that we've been stressing to improve upon as a team is our marks - we want to put a lot of pressure on the throwers, forcing them to make bad throws and bad decisions, we want all of our teammates down field to be able to 100% rely on our marks to not get broken, and we want to improve our footspeed and reaction time while on the mark (footblock, anyone?).  Being on the mark is not a time to catch your breath, this is when you shut down an entire teams offense.

This week's wisdom is coming from Gwen Ambler who talks about marking in this article.  Read it, think about it, incorporate it into your playing.

Weekly Wisdom #20

posted Nov 14, 2010, 9:42 PM by Elizabeth Lehman   [ updated Nov 14, 2010, 9:43 PM by Quinten Hutchison ]

Cause videos are better then words:

Weekly Wisdom #19

posted Oct 26, 2010, 10:49 PM by Noel Hanzel   [ updated Oct 26, 2010, 10:49 PM by Quinten Hutchison ]


Really think about some specific goals to set for yourself. Make one offensive and one defensive. There are less than two weeks until our last (and most awesome) fall tournament. During the next five practices, in every drill and every during point really focus on what you want to improve on before Northcoast. Make the last tournament of the season your best.

Some examples of achievable specific goals..

  • Running through the disc all the time
  • Selling fakes 
  • Cutting to the force side/ recognizing the best cut
  • Stopping handler strike cuts
  • Not getting broken
  • Beating the offender to the force side

We'll be contacting everyone soon with individual suggestions.
For a little bit of inspiration.

See you at practice tomorrow!

~Libby and Noel

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