Thursday, February 21, 2008

Captain Considerations: Properly Valuing the Injury Prone


With tryouts looming, I have decided to start a collection of posts titled Captain Considerations. The topics will cover some of the major topics team administrators and captains should consider when holding tryouts, selecting squads and setting up a game plan for the upcoming season.

If you'd like to submit an article, please feel free to contact me.

Jamie Noonan Looks to Huck at UPA Finals 2006
Photo Source: and the great Dave Knowles

Every year, teams and players at this time of year look forward to spring tryouts. By now you've being inundated at every ultimate gathering (game, workout, party, etc) by the same list of character stereotypes
  • The overly positive (about the upcoming season)
  • The overly cynical
  • The indifferent but wants you to know that they're indifferent
  • The non committal (to any particular team)
  • The prognosticator (who will play where, who will make what team, etc)
I gotta tell ya, these people can get annoying REALLY fast. The captain who selects their team hopefully ignores all these people, and focuses on what's important.

So what is important?

Of the many key considerations, properly assessing the injury risk during tryouts may have a major effect on your team's success.

It's so easy to pick the Spring Superstar. Their talent is tantalizing, and they clearly have the skills/speed to play. But where are they in August and October? They're on the sidelines or wishing the team well from home, nursing another injury.

All players are susceptible to injuries. But some players are chronically hurt. With these players, you have to ask yourself:
  • What are the value of these players, given that they will miss games (and contribute nothing in these games) and in most games after tryouts will be performing at less than optimal levels?
  • What is the opportunity cost of picking these players as opposed to other players who can play more and don't get a spot on your team?
  • How can you manage these players to win the most games, and win the most important games in your season?
  • What is being done by the injury prone athlete to combat this problem?
Properly valuing players in sports with stats is difficult enough, and ultimate is even more complicated. It might be an unpopular decision in the local ultimate community, but team selectors might have to pass on the injury prone.

If you pick too many skilled players who injure easily, your whole team may be sitting on the sideline come tourney finals on a far too regular basis.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Plastic Bottle Alternative- Suggestions Needed


In December of 2007, the national post reported Canadian cult goods chain Mountain Equipment Coop was pulling its line of plastic water bottles. These bottles, very popular with many ultimate players, was being pulled due to fear of the bottles leaching the chemical Bisphenol A.

Bisphenol A has become controversial because it mimics estrogen and thus could induce hormonal responses. Possible side effects include:

  • Lowered sperm count
  • Infertile sperm
  • Carcinogenic effects
  • Neurotoxicity
  • Triggering fat-cell activity and obesity
  • May be involved in schizophrenia pathogenesis
Are you kidding me? Someone check the offices of Nalgene and make sure all nylon ropes are confiscated from the premises.

I don't like to fret about unproven risks, but I'd rather not be a fat impotent cancer patient suffering from schizophrenic attacks. I'm looking for a new water bottle. But what kind of bottle should I get? Where can I get a different bottle and which company offers the best price?

Help me people!

Monday, February 18, 2008

100th Post Special- All Star Ultimate Ideas


100 posts
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Thank you!

I have to admit that I didn't watch the NBA all star game that much last night. Had I not been at practice Saturday night, I would have been glued to the slam dunk contest though. As Dwight Howard was quoted, "The dunk contest is back".


The NBA skills competition has a lot of things going for it
  • Takes place at a good time (Saturday night)
  • Has great commentators (Kenny Smith and Barkley) and great cameras/replays
  • The players are into it again, as evidenced by Dwight Howard wearing a cape and Gerald Green using a lit cupcake as a prop.
  • They take the best players for each skill event regardless of whether or not these players are all star players- Jason Kapono is not an all star, but he deserves the chance to show how great he is at hitting treys.

Dwight Howard.. Cue the Music
Photo Source: Nelson

Naturally, my posts usually delve off in this direction:

Does this apply to ultimate?

I would love to see a skills event at Canadian Nationals. Maritime events that I attended at the start of my 'career' had skills events in the middle of the tournament. The best example would have to be Parlee Beach Tourney in New Brunswick, which allows for a great lay out compeition due to the soft sand.

2006 Parlee Beach Layout Winner Photo Source: and J.P Rodrigue

How would we set it up? Here is my idea
  • Develop a list of skills
    • Distance throw
    • Accuracy throw
    • Layout
    • Fastest Man/Fastest Women
  • Let teams know about it
    • Ask them to host their own skills competition
    • Submit their best per event for nationals
  • Have it at Nationals
    • Taped by the tournament broadcaster
    • Get good commentators. Ones that know the players, know the game and don't have their mouths set to auto cliche. Here's a link to some poor commentators. It's pretty simple people- Get names right, don't stutter, be excited, and don't let personal bias get in the way.
    • Have judges of interest. beautiful girls, great players from the past, and so on.
This game can sell itself very easy. Do you think my idea is good or bad? Any improvements? Let me know.

Kelly Clarkson loves T-Webb Layouts!!
Photo Source: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images