Sunday, January 13, 2008

Trainor Teaches... What I learned from the Stanley Cup Champs

I just want to give a shout-out to the Americans who have been loyally coming to the site. Please fire me off an e-mail (if you like) to tell me a little about yourself, your teams, and so on.


One of my new year's resolutions regarding this site is to post more think pieces borrowing on the strength of my master's degree and teaching awards. I will enjoy it, the game needs it, and it might make for a great read. This one will be very bubble gum, but I've got to use these pictures somehow. :)

This Christmas, I spent the holiday season with the Praha Princess and her family in Vancouver, Canada. One of the many activities we did during our stay was to mentally beat down scalpers and score some great seats to a Vancouver Canucks/Anaheim Ducks NHL hockey game. For a guy who loves the NHL so much, I don't really enjoy going to the games that much.

However, being so close to the ice allowed me to watch the defending Stanley Cup Champions during their warm-ups. Here were some of my observations

  • There was almost zero mistakes in the 20 minutes I watched. Not a mix up in the drills, nor a mistaken pass. I've watched Finals warm-ups in ultimate and they don't have the same level of efficiency. (Maybe legendary DoG has gotten to this point)
  • Given how crowded less than 100 feet of ice is with 20 players (average height over 6'2 and weight over 210 I would guess), the awareness shown by players was refreshing. They've done this thing over and over, but they are always making space and adjustments at a fast speed.
  • Different players do different drills outside of the basics. This makes sense, and it is something Canadian ultimate teams should look into.
  • There wasn't anyone wearing an ipod with headphones or engaging in activities that ignore the team concept. It always bothers me when players do this during warm ups.
    Equal effort was given by multi million dollar players (Pronger, Scotty Neidermayer).
  • Some players are entertainers and know how to play to the crowd while carrying on their business. I have a whole new opinion of Doug Weight, Todd Marchant, Ryan Getzlaf, Mathieu Schneider and Todd Bertuzzi. I don't think Ultimate players are lacking in showmanship skills, but finding a balance is no easy act.
All photos: courtesy Jitka Licenik

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